Talk to your family………

talk with your family

Again, another random title lol but it is something I want to talk about, as let’s face it, your family have a massive influence in your business, at the end of the day I am pretty sure they are one of the top 5 reasons you started in the first place.

But do you talk to your partner? Do you bounce ideas off them? Do you ask for advice? And MORE importantly, do you NOT talk about business!?
Let’s face it we are all culprits of having a moan, or talking to your partners as soon as they take the key out the door, not least because it’s nice to see them, but also to the fact you have been in your home office all day, so adult company is always nice.

But we need to be mindful not to bombard them with our woes and worries, it’s nice to bounce those ideas off your loved ones, but equally, it is nice to SWITCH OFF, you’ll hear this a lot from me in the future.  I am all for working to grow my business but I am also a massive advocate of having that downtime, and more so lately with all the #headstogether campaign too.

#headstogether 

I know this is so off topic when it comes to business, whichever industry you are in, but it’s one that needs to be out there and spoken about, and being a business owner I worry about this too, when working from home we lock ourselves away in a bubble and sometimes forget to come out for air.

Your family are the ones supporting you, so make sure you are connecting with them and making sure if you have any problems they are aware of them.

Equally, you need to make sure you have plenty of down times too, this is such an important part of your business thriving, if you are not logging off and enjoying what is around you then it becomes a chore and no different to going and working for someone else.

 

Remember your reasons  

Now and then you need to put things in check and you need to remember why you are doing what you are doing, this works on other things too not just business related.  But sit and ask yourself what were the reasons you started your business.

 

  • Stick to your hours
  • Switch off
  • Play and talk with your family and friends
  • Enjoy downtime
  • Remember you need to make sure you talk to those around you, it’s so easy to lock yourself away
  • Enjoy your business, but also enjoy the reasons why you started

 

Your family and friends are there to support you, talk to them, be honest with them, and more importantly ENJOY what you have

 

If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back some time during your week.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

11 Things to ask your Virtual Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

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Schedule in ‘Me’ Time

Remote Admin Services Blog HeaderWe all know being a business owner is great fun, you can work your life around your other commitments. But let’s face it! It’s TOUGH to.

For some reason, we seem to push ourselves to a new limit, we are so keen on getting through our to-do list and making sure that we do our very best for our business because, at the end of the day, it’s OURS, it has our name to it.

But with this approach, comes stress, and as we know stress leads to all manner of issues, from lack of sleep, bad health, short tempered, the list can be endless. So, this is a little jolt to remind you ‘ME’ is real and it does exist.

Planning is vital

You just need to be firm with yourself, and make sure when you are planning your week you block out some ‘Me’ time, may that be something on a daily basis or even weekly, it needs to be planned and put in, same way that you currently block time out for your clients, or block out your DFT Time, if you can do it for your business then you can do it for yourself.

Funny enough, if you break you can’t work if you can’t work you don’t earn money! I am not saying you have to plan in sleep, eat or water breaks, these should happen when they need to happen and trust me I need to go to bed earlier, I am such a night owl, but I do suffer in the mornings.

So, for me I am an avid Sewer, I love sewing clothes for my kids or creating special toys for them, but I wasn’t getting that much time out in my sewing room. So I now plan to do at least an hour a week, in my sewing room, either finishing a project of creating a new one.

Either way, that time needs to be put in my diary and needs to be made known that this is my time.

We are all talking about it…….

Now funny enough, as I sat here drafting this blog, thinking about how we as business owners do not look after ourselves enough, and how we seem to think we can keep on running and not wear ourselves out. The wonderful Vicky Stanton, blogged about Time Out too, she was explaining how she thought having an hour a month to herself was enough, until someone pointed out that its really less than 15 mins a week, which made me think, why do we feel it is acceptable to rob ourselves of that well deserved time out?

Do you block out time for yourself? If you don’t why not? You are a worthy candidate for such time, trust me!

Now get that diary out and start planning in some YOU time

Don’t forget you can have a chat with me about Outsourcing, this can be a valuable thing to do for your business.  Take a look at my latest Freebie HERE

Chat soon

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Getting the most out of your day

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Being a business owner is great, I love it, it is so rewarding, I work around my little family, get to do the school engagements, homework and make memories with them.

So, hands up all those that have fun trying to fit everything into their working day! Yep ME, I sometimes open my diary on Monday and think ‘What the heck’ and I can feel myself going into overdrive, but we need to remember we are human! We can only do what we can with the time we have.

National Stationery Week (honest)

I have found some useful hacks to get me through those hectic weeks.  See I am a tech loving gal, but I do adore my stationary, a little apt as its National Stationary week this week, (it really is a thing check it out HERE), I do love writing things down, and trust me I have written down notes, keywords for this blog that you are reading now, before I drafted it and posted it to my website. No matter how much I try to move everything to electronic, my inner child just loves going into a stationary shop and buying lush books, pens and other amazing bits and bobs for my desk.

So here are a few hacks that I use to stay in control and get the most out of my work day:

  • I plan my week on Friday before, or latest on Sunday
  • Block out any long-standing commitments, I have 2 of these in my working week, and they are blocked out on my electronic diary and my desk diary every week, so I know that Tuesday 9.30-11.00 and Thursday 9.30-11.30 each week are blocked out regardless, I know I cannot book anything in during those times. So I work my other tasks around those times. I also know that I have the school run to do so that is blocked out.
  • Highlight ‘DFT’ Distraction Free Time, this is the time when all pings, dings and notifications are banished, use this time for when you NEED to have your head down with NO distractions, so turn off your phone, don’t open certain apps and programs. Imagine you are heading into a cave lol – I wrote about it HERE in a previous blog.
  • Colour coding, for me each of my clients has a colour code, this way it’s easy to see in my diary, who is blocked in where and when, but equally my business has a colour too, and I make sure that I give myself equal time to market and promote my business, as well as my own admin/finances etc.
  • Use systems to optimise your productivity, I use Trello and Canva, both are incredible in their own right, Trello is my go to program that holds all my social media content past and future, ideas, helpful information like Hashtags, advertising rules for Facebook groups etc, and Canva helps me create amazing images and Memes in a heartbeat.
  • Find tools that will aid you in progressing your business but not suck up all your time. Social Media alone is one of the biggest time suckers out there, we have all been there, nip on for 2 mins and bang 1hr gone, so use tools like Hootsuite etc to schedule in your daily/weekly posts, I do this every Friday for my content and my clients work, that way I don’t have to worry about it each day, and I haven’t lost stupid amounts of time on social media
  • Timer, I work with a timer, not only for my client work but for me too, I have noticed that as soon as I click on that go button, my procrastination waivers a little and find I am more productive knowing my timer is going. Before I used this I would happily waste time on what I thought was useful but turns out I was unproductive to my business.
  • Visible clock, again I have mentioned this before, you need to have a visible clock in your office, you need to be aware of the time you have left on that particular day, and if a task is taking too long, then schedule it for first thing the following day, give yourself a break from it. I have noticed since having a clock in my office I am more aware of my day, crazy I know but for me, it has really worked.
  • Set an alarm, remember you are not a 24/7 business, you have to eat, sleep, relax and do things you enjoy, you need to remember those office hours, if you do not have office/working hours in place, I urge you to set some this week. And make sure you stick to it. Can you imagine being in your old employed job and your boss tells you that you never log off!!!

These are just a few small hacks I have found very useful to my business, I hope they help you if you have any of your own do share them with us.

Get in touch

If it is becoming apparent that you are struggling to stay on top of your day to day tasks, and you are finding you are having less time to do those things that pull in the money, then why not get in touch, would love to have a chat and see if I can help you. You can connect here

 

Chat soon,

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Find your…..Self discipline

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Dig Deep

Being a business owner comes with many hats and guises, you have to dig deep to get done what you have to get done, and even deeper when it’s something you just don’t want to do.  Have you found yourself writing list upon list of things that you have to get done on a certain day/week? I know I have and have often failed to cross much off due to daily distractions.

If you are lucky enough to be working away from home, then those distractions maybe less (I say maybe in a light tone), I know for me I work from home, and I use to have a million distractions in my working day, from my online shopping being delivered, the odd person who sees my car on the drive and pops in for a cuppa as I’m home (forgetting that my home is my office), housework, and the biggest distraction is the kids! I am fortunate enough now to have my office out in the garden, so I am away from those daily household distractions.

I now have my set working hours each day of the week, and I now have a set period of time each week that is focussed on my business, but as you know working from home you can’t help yourself but get distracted.  

This is where self-discipline comes into play, what can you do to stop yourself being distracted, how do you get that discipline into your working life?

Have a coffee and jot some notes

So grab a pen, pad and a coffee, here are some tips to help you:

* ‘Distraction Free Time’ Try and block 20mins a day, or better still 20 mins in the morning and 20 mins in the afternoon, set that time as pure DFT time, turn your phone to silent, turn off the programs you are not using, those pings and little red notification dots are hugely distracting, and one that needs to be removed from your DFT block.  It’s something about your phone and those notifications that can waste a lot of your working day.  So for this time that you block out its best to remove the temptation.

* ‘Natural productive time’ everyone has it, I am not a morning person, if my children wake me too early I go green! so setting my alarm to wake before the kids to do work it’s just not in my DNA, but I am a late person, so for me my most productive time of the day is evenings, I find that knowing the kids are fed and in bed, we have had dinner, there are no further distractions (apart from The Walking Dead!), so I know that its head down and get on with my work.  This is MY natural productive time, I do however get lots done when they are at school.  But my content is normally written of an evening when my productive time is at its best.  So you need to find out when you are at your most productive! you might be that person that does love that hour before the house wakes up if so you need to incorporate it into your working day.

* Procrastination! Ok, I am going to jump outside the box on this one, and instead of saying it’s bad it’s this and it’s that, I will simply say embrace it! Shock Horror!!!!!! why embrace it, well I find that if you can pinpoint what it is that makes you procrastinate, once you have figured out why you can almost learn how to deal with it.  For an example, I hate anything accounts based, so I often find when I’m sat here having to do that type of work it takes me much longer to do it, I keep trying to put it off, in hope that the accounts fairy will come along swish her wand and hey presto it’s done or failing that tomorrow it will become more appealing, which sadly neither happens.

We all procrastinate

 

So I have now learnt to schedule it into either my DFT or do it during the evening when I’m at my peak of productivity.  Don’t shy away from those jobs that make you the world’s greatest procrastinator! We are all procrastinators, it happens to all of us at some point during our week.  If they are jobs you have to do find the best time to do them, or failing that outsource!!

Ready to outsource?

* As I happened to mention ‘Outsource’ this is something else that can benefit you and your self-discipline, if you can offload work to someone else this will free up your time to do what you are good at in your business, but you have to be disciplined to outsource, you need to figure out what is taking up too much of your time, and find someone you can outsource to like a VA, but you need to be strong and let that person do what you have given them!!!

If you are wanting to outsource but haven’t a clue where to start, then check out my free download, this gives you the top things to ask a potential Virtual Assistant, we know what it’s like when you get on the phone, those questions vanish, and when you hang up you remember! 


Be strong, stay focused and remember this is your business, run it the way you want to run it, but get the best out of your time, hopefully, some of the above tips may help.

What tips would you offer a new business owner? what have you found has worked for you? Leave a comment below you never know it may just help a newbie in their self-employment dream.

Take care

Claire

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Keeping Track of your work time

Keep track of your time - blog header

So in my last blog we spoke about logging off, and that we not only owe it to ourselves but to our nearest and dearest, we need that time to relax and let our bodies and brains relax.  We forget that our loved ones have to put up with us being snippy, tired and stressed.

I had set you a goal last time, I suggested that you were to sit down and work out your opening/working hours and stick to them, so did you? how did it work out for you? fill me in and let me know if putting in place those set hours has made a difference.  I would go as far as to say I bet you have been slightly more productive, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true, if you have a finish time in sight then you work towards that goal, and lets face it at the end of the day life and work are all based on goals, and your clocking off time in business is no different, its a goal.

So keeping track of work time is the subject of today’s blog, I don’t know about you, but in my employed days we didn’t have a timer per say, but we had targets that had to be met by certain deadlines, we would have weekly catch-up meetings, during those meetings we had tasks that were assigned to us, once they were finished, we were all circulated the minutes with our new or ongoing tasks on there,  how we chose to keep track of them was a personal choice, some would enter them into their email calendar system, some would use the team project management tool, it was what worked for you.

This stands true for you now, you need to find a system that is going to work for you and your business, what you may have used in days gone by, might not work for you today.  But you need to keep track of your work time and the tasks you are doing during the day.  If you don’t keep track this is when the working over your hours and late nights start to creep back in, and this is what we are trying to avoid.

Logging Off!

For me at the moment, I have an inbuilt clock that tells me that I need to be out of my home office no later than 2.55pm to get to school on time to start collecting the children, and would be a BIG NO NO in my children’s eyes should they be left at the school door.

But, I also use a few tools to help me stay focused and on track with time, we all need a toolkit in business, don’t we!

Asana

I use this a fair amount to keep track of client projects that I am doing, and is great as my clients can add things too, this is fab for keeping track on your progress and time spent on projects.

Trello

So this is similar to Asana, but this is for my own personal progress and work projects, this is my system for keeping track of what I am doing, what I want to do, what I need to do, it is incredibly easy to use, and user-friendly.  I use Trello for most of my content ideas.

Email calendar

I use this daily for those things that aren’t necessarily a project but could be a call, webinar, or an appointment that needs keeping, and let’s face it your clocking off time is really an appointment, isn’t it.  So why not put your end time on the calendar so it goes off at the end of your working day. Better still set 2 reminders, 1 to go off 10 mins before you finish to overview what you have achieved and what needs to be done tomorrow, and the other to say home time 🙂

These are the 3 biggies I use daily in conjunction with each other as well as my screaming internal clock at 2.55PM ‘SCHOOL RUN, SCHOOL RUN’ that helps me stay on track.  Here are a list of other things and tips that may help you in the quest for time keeping and time management:

  • Bullet Journal (paper planner fab and very addictive)
  • Mind Mapping (empty out your mind with all your ideas, as they can slow you down)
  • Use one calendar and sync with all devices
  • Turn off all distractions, yes including Facebook, it may be your main lead generator, but it is also your biggest time waster (trust me!)
  • Set a visible clock, sounds daft but it will work, it’s too easy to ignore that one in the bottom right of your screen
  • Set 30 minutes aside every morning to plan your day and set out your time planner, this will help you stay on track, and don’t forget to pencil in distraction time, lets face it we all get distracted, but at least if we account for it, it’s not eating into our productive time.

 

Nothing is set it stone here, I am only trying to offer some solutions to the problem, maybe one thing might work, maybe more will work, who knows, until you give something a go you just won’t know, will you? One size does not fit all when it comes to business.

Remember, if you are still struggling and you need help or advice, or should you wish to outsource, or discuss outsourcing, then I am always here for a chat, I do offer free 30 min phone consults.  If you want to chat here’s how:

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How to get in contact

So let me know if you try any of these, would love to hear your comments.

Take care, have a fab week, don’t forget to have a summary of the week before you log off tonight and plan from next week.

Love

Claire x

 

Learning something new………

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Remember the days of employment, when HR would send you an email saying something like:

Dear Claire, Here at XYZ Ltd, we like to keep on top of the latest trends to grow our business, with this in mind HR and your Line Manager Mrs Blog feel that you would benefit greatly by attending the 2-day intensive course.

Do you remember getting those through, and how the thought just filled you with sheer boredom! I remember them well, and for me, it was things that I had no major interest in but it was to the benefit of the company more so than me.

On the week running up to this 2-day course you would have to cram all your workload into a couple of days to cover you being out of the office, and then off you trot to this course that was always miles away, participate in the breakout sessions, lunch with random’s and stuck travelling home again to have to do it all again tomorrow.

I know I paint a dismal picture but some of those offsite training days for me were a nightmare, we always had a tonne of work on and they always fell at the wrong times.  But it was always something extra to put on your C.V. 🙂

Why is it different now?

So you are sitting there wondering why the heck have I titled this ‘Learning something new’ well you see this time you are learning to benefit YOU and YOUR business, I know it sounds selfish and probably ungrateful that any of my employers paid out money for me to attend these training courses, but learning something new now as a business owner, is something that interests you, and let’s face it, if you have to sit there and learn at least learn something that you want to learn.
Learn something new

I vowed to myself this year that I was going to learn a new skill or perfect an old skill each year, or if I am lucky maybe 2 new skills, this will not only benefit me but my clients too, I have since started my own business gained experience in many new fields, ones that I had no clue on as previously I would have had a department to call to sort the problem out.

So ask yourself a question, if you could learn a new skill or perfect an old skill for your business this year what would it be?

For me, I want to get to grips with basic photo/video editing, I have started to incorporate video marketing into my business as I feel this will help me get a step up in the small business world, as we as humans are so visual, we like to see or watch something over reading 80 pages of the same content, it’s just how we are.

Tell me in the comments box below what would you like to learn this year?

Don’t forget if you are struggling with your admin, or have tasks that you really just don’t want to do, why not contact me and see if I can help you.  You never know we could plan your future success together.

Also, why not sign up for my downloadable freebie, ‘Top tips for delegating to your Virtual Assistant’ a quick guide of an easy way to let go of some of your precious work.



Take care

Claire x

 
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