I was going to avoid this topic this week, may it be due to burying my head in the sand, or scared to talk about so a huge topic. But I sat there and thought maybe it is something I should talk about as I am aware of so many business owners who are suffering from stress.
Well, we have made it to the last working week of 2017! And what a hectic one it was, I had visions of taking it easy this week, kicking back, doing a spot of office house cleaning, tidying up my downloads folder, clearing my inbox, scheduling in posts for the festive period, tieing up loose ends…………How many did it get done! Well as I sit and write this now, precisely none haha
I find myself in a bit of a reflecting mood as I pen my last blog of the year, I must say this year has probably been my best year since starting Remote Admin Services back in January 2014, a lot has changed in those few years. I am rounding this year off totally different to how 2016 was finishing, this year I am finishing with a stack of work, and more happy clients than ever before.
I think it is important to be flexible with your business, and not keep yourself stuck, we as people evolve and change this is the same with our businesses, we need to embrace how our business changes and go with the flow, so for me when I first started out I was Remote Admin Services, this year saw a change to my brand, it was given a massive overhaul by the ever so talented and gorgeous Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, we gave my brand the personal touch and tweaked my name to Remote Admin Services with Claire, this gave it a more personal touch. Vicki is the lady you should speak to if you are looking on refreshing your brand, she even has amazing programmes that guide you to building a better brand, check it out HERE
I had the social media genius that is Beckie Coupe of Infinity with Beckie Coupe run through my social media, giving me every hint, tip, trick and advice she could. Beckie is the go-to lady when it comes to anything social media, she really knows a lot and has the ability to stop you from running around in a frenzy every time Facebook changes something. Beckie also has the best monthly email services, its called The Social Media Accelerator, this is an email sent to you once a month with so many content ideas to see you through the month.
Then I had the super productive Sarah Cornforth of The Productivity Princess run through some of my processes to see where I could tweak my personal business time, I found that I was super productive with my client work, but my business was suffering, but Sarah helped me put that right. Sarah also has a fab monthly club that helps you move from stuck to productive, Her Zen Productivity club is fab and worth checking out.
Then there is what I can only describe as the female version of the Tasmanian devil, the little whirlwind of ‘getting sh!t done’ the one that knows what to say at the right time, the one that just knows what you are thinking and gives you the self-belief that you really can do this and that you really are awesome, or if that doesn’t work a swift kick up the backside! she really is the cream of the crop Emma Holmes of Rebels and Rockstars, she really has been the catalyst to my year being the success that it has been, I have several times contacted Emma having a wobble and she has put me right. I would love to set you a challenge to find someone as open, passionate, genuine, to the point, empathetic and knowledgeable as Emma. She is by far my biggest reason for doing so well this year.
I have also found massive support this year in my VA groups, I have found a great foundation of support and gives me ideas for further changes and tweaks to my business. This is what I mean about being open and willing to give your business a helping had to evolve and change.
Upcoming in 2018
I don’t like to plan much before the year is out, and to be honest, I don’t plan much in January full stop, I find it a busy month and one that a lot of people struggle with, so adding goals and must do’s to an already depressing month doesn’t sit well with me.
So, it is a case of sit and watch this space, I know that I will be kicking as much backside as I have done this year if not more, I will continue to grow my confidence, my services and my client base, and more importantly enjoy what I do.
Log off and kick back
As I mentioned in my last blog Take having a break seriously you need this break, you need to step away from your business even if it is just for a few days, you need to unplug and recharge your batteries, we have all been working like lunatics this year, burnout isn’t an option, so make sure you take time off. As much as we all love what we do, it can soon become a chore!
At the start of this blog, I had said I hadn’t done half the things I was planning to do this week, even schedule in posts for the festive season, and you know what! I may just go a little rogue not schedule and just play it by ear, I would normally have things planned in for this time of year, but I think this year, I will see what mood I am in on a particular day and post something relevant! Let’s see how that one works out, if it doesn’t work I will be crying to Beckie 🙂
So, for now, I want to thank you all for reading and engaging with me this year, it has been a full on year, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2018 brings you health, wealth and happiness.
All my love xx
I know when I was in my old employed job, working from home was a breeze, I would often long for a ‘WFH’ day just to catch up on housework and have an easy day, but those days are well and truly gone.
Ever since I started my business it has been a steep learning curve on how to be as productive with my hours during the day, I have set hours due to having primary school age children, so I need to make sure I am as focused as I can be. Running your own business throws up a lot of tasks that you wouldn’t have thought of when you were in your employed role. So now you wear all the hats, you need to be able to juggle your time in the best way possible.
Granted, it this took me a really REALLY long time to get into the swing of, first my office setup wasn’t ideal at all, it was in a place in the house that was constantly busy, I moved around the house for a good year before I realised that this was a big problem to my productivity as I wasn’t able to close a door from the distractions, so for me I was lucky enough to have a wooden cabin at the end of my garden, and a lot of time and work (hubby’s blood and sweat) I finally got my office space!
But you do not need to have a cabin at the end of your garden, a space in your bedroom, a spare room or a space that isn’t in the thick of it will help, I have on occasions, when I must work when my children are home, I work from the kitchen! Thankfully that does not happen often as that is an even bigger distraction, I can see breakfast bowls in the sink and washing needs doing etc etc.
So, my tips for being as productive with your working day as possible are:
As mentioned above having the right space is key, working from your kitchen may not be the best solution long term, look at trying to find a place in your house that you can close a door too. Failing that maybe trying to rent a desk at an office block (like Regus) for a morning a week, to give you that away time.
Having that space will really help your productivity.
Before you log off the night before, grab your diary and plan for the following day. I use both a paper diary and my diary on my email system. I make sure that whatever I have planned for my day is electronically logged with an alarm or timer.
I am slightly crazy with colour coding, so I have colours for each of my clients, colours for my personal work like content creation morning, or source images for memes etc, I make sure that
before I switch off my day is as planned as I possibly, now I know the unexpected can happen at any time, so I factor some time in just in case. Always best to be on the safe side.
Now, I mentioned timers in my last point, this is quite important, and its one that I am getting used to as well, I actually log my hours now, as I found there were times where I would sit there and think ‘blinking heck where did today go’ and have that feeling of not achieving much. So, I use a timer for my client work and have been using it for my business time too (timer is on now as I write this blog!) this gives me a clear indication of how much time I am spending on client work vs my business time.
If you do not want to use a timer on your PC then you can always do the visual aid of a timesheet and block out time physically, it is what works for you. But you will start to see a pattern and you will see that you faff a lot too (I have a faff category on my timer!)
Set a duration
This may sound weird but give it a go. So, I know that I can lose HOURS yes HOURS sourcing images for my blogs or my memes, so I now set myself a duration, 30 mins a day or 2hrs a month etc to do that task, and set an alarm, it’s as plain as its simple, some tasks can literality suck up crazy amounts of time (social media being a biggie).
It is all about making sure you have the right balance of time on your tasks that need to get done to the ones that would be nice to do, we can’t run our businesses on doing the tasks we love, sadly that doesn’t work, we all must do those we dislike (or outsource them) both tasks go hand in hand. You will find if you spend too much time on those tasks you dislike you will start to procrastinate and put it off which is when things get out of hand.
This is so important to your day, sitting at your desk FORCING yourself to do things for hours, is going to only put a negative spin on your day and you will become disheartened, it is impossible to stay focused on any tasks loved or loathed for hours on end, we all need breaks, not just for our mind but for our body too. We need to get up and walk or stretch and clear your mind. So, schedule in short breaks every 1hr -1.5hrs your mind and body will thank you for it, trust me!
We are our worst critics, we are honestly the worst, we almost bully ourselves, if we don’t get something done on time, or we haven’t pulled 4 blogs out of thin air in an hour we chastise ourselves
and make ourselves feel incompetent! And why? Could you imagine your old boss doing this to you? You would be in HR filing a complaint, so why do we do it to ourselves? Be forgiving to yourself, you may not have done everything you wanted to for that day, if you haven’t managed to get something done that day when you go to plan for tomorrow and add that task onto your plan, schedule it in and give it a duration.
When being creative, you can’t force those creative juices, and sometimes in small batches, you get more done, instead of forcing hours of paper staring do lots of small blocks of 20 mins! Mornings are also better for me to create my content.
Don’t bully yourself! You are only human after all 💕
If there are tasks that you are constantly struggling with, instead of suffering why not think about outsourcing them, I am always happy to have a chat with you and see if I can help you moving forwards, book a discovery call with me and lets see if I can take some or even one of those dreaded tasks from you.
Now you are either a morning lover or not, you can’t be both. And it’s the same if I was to ask if you are a night owl?
Me, personally am a night owl, always have been, but I know that I need to start going to bed earlier, as I have a 9 and 5-year-old which at times wake up early, and even though they have tiny feet, the noise they create would be similar if bigfoot lived in my house!
Anyway, I digress…….If you are already a morning person you will probably already have a decent routine to kick-start your day, if you are trying to become a morning person and want to get the most out of your day, then starting on the right foot is a must. Here are 5 tips that can help you to get your day started to give you the best day possible: –
1. Wake up earlier
If you have children this may be a tad difficult, as I know it is my house, but try and get up 30-60mins before they rise, if you are unable to wake before them, then set your alarm for half hour earlier, this will give you that time to get up and jump in the shower and wake up.
2. Social Media!
Ok so I have found this one to be invaluable, I have found that checking my own personal social media before work has helped me start my working day with a clear focus. I found that prior to this new addition to my routine I would sit down at my desk and logged on I was side-tracked with my personal newsfeed, now I have found time to squeeze in my personal newsfeed I am able to crack on with my work
Ok this is a contentious one for me, I have always struggled to eat early in the morning, I’ve never been a breakfast fan during the week, probably due to the fact I was always out the door early, off to meetings or travelling that there was no time to eat, but I have found that now I have the time to eat, I am making more effort to grab something filling and healthy, stay away from sugar-laden cereals, these are great to start with that sugar boost by half hour later and your flagging again. I have started to make these little egg muffins things that I can make at the weekend, freeze then throw in the microwave in the mornings for a few minutes!
This one is key, I can’t tell you how important this one is, keeps you in tip-top form and your brain on fire (technical I know!) – its a little harder this time of year, as you find you are not trying to quench your thirst as much as you do in the summer months but to make water have more appeal in the winter months, maybe look at adding a little barely squash to a few glasses, or have hot water and lemon?
5. Fresh air,
I am lucky enough to do the school run daily, so I get a good half hour fresh air before I sit at my desk for the morning, but I do feel ready for my day once I have had that walk and fresh air, it just kind of blows those cobwebs away. Remember those days of commuting to the office either by public transport or driving, it’s that being out and about in the hustle that wakes you up and feel ready for the day.
Now, I am not saying these will work for you, I am not an expert in this field, but I know I have put them in my morning routine over the last few months and I feel personally it has made a difference to me. I wished I had the time to get to the swimming pool in the mornings but now logistically it’s just not possible.
What is your current routine? Do you feel your routine needs to be revitalised?
This is a HOT topic, folks!
Whether you have children or not, July and August are what we call the holiday season here in the UK, it’s the time when most of us take a break from work and enjoy time holidaying, may that be a staycation or flying off somewhere. Those that are still employed have the luxury of booking the time off and doing a quick handover to a colleague.
But those of us that run your own business knows there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes:
- Planning when to take the time off
- Budgeting for that time off, as we know being self-employed we need to into account for the loss of earnings as well as the cost of the holiday
- Informing client’s, you are taking time off and making sure their work is covered
- Making sure your social media is covered for when you are away
- Out of office set up
And that is before you pack to go on your holiday!
The entire process can be quite daunting. If you have children then you’ll know that the school summer holidays are looming too, but let’s face it you still have to work, I know I certainly can’t take off 6 weeks, so I work around my little cherubs, but also be mindful of quality family time and making memories with them, as that is one of the soul reasons I started my business, was to be with my young family whilst they are growing up.
The trivial things that help!
With this process, you can adapt it to suit the school holidays or your 2-week holiday. It really is a case of getting into a habit that will make your life a little easier each day, they are not massive changes to your daily schedule, but even still workable and manageable.
- You don’t have to tell your crowd you are away, but make sure you give your clients plenty of notice that you going to be away from and when
- Schedule in your social media, the insightful Beckie Coupe of Infinity Digital has this great blog post to get your social media holiday ready. There are some helpful tips on there to get that part of your business covered.
- If you are going away are you planning on checking in? if not then you need to be making sure you set your Out of Office responder on your email system.
- Outsource! If you do not want to leave your business unattended whilst you are away, then start now looking for a Virtual Assistant who can cover whilst you are on holiday, you can give them a variety of tasks, or you can hand everything over, it depends on what you require, you may just want them to respond to your crowd on social media, or you may find your emails are the thing that you need covering. But start looking now for a VA.
- If you are not going away but have children and their school holiday to contend with then check out my top tips in this BLOG on how to survive the school holidays 😊
You may not be going away until August, but if you start planning now and getting those things in place now, then it will be one less stress when you come to logging off.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 sometime during your week. And check out my latest freebie HERE
Hope to chat with you soon