Are you exploring the true worth of your Virtual Assistant?

It’s a well-known fact that hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) can free up your time. They can also be passed tasks that you either don’t have time to do or, for whatever reason, are not inclined to do. However these really are the basic, surface-level benefits of hiring a VA. There’s also a wealth of hidden benefits available to you, that make a VA truly worth their weight in gold to you and your business – if you decide to look a bit deeper!
Continue reading “Are you exploring the true worth of your Virtual Assistant?”

The Benefits of Delegating and Outsourcing

When it comes to running your own business, it’s easy to get into the habit of doing everything yourself, simply out of necessity. As the owner of two businesses, I speak from experience – in the beginning I felt like I should be doing everything myself, but I quickly learnt that this isn’t a sustainable way of running a business.

If you want to maximise both your own productivity and your company’s profitability, you need to learn how to let go of that ‘do it all’ attitude and source help… (just like I have!)

Learning to delegate and outsource your work has so many benefits for you, your business and for others involved in your business and personal life. Continue reading “The Benefits of Delegating and Outsourcing”

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them!

Whether you’re reading a self-help book or speaking with an accountability buddy or coach – and whether your focus is on your business or personal life – if you want to make any kind of significant change then one of the first things you will need to do is to set goals.

Books and coaches all speak about the importance of goal setting, as doing so will help you to turn your goals into action plans, then into reality and finally into success!

Define what’s important to you

It’s a good idea to brainstorm the kind of changes that you would like to make to your personal and / or professional life and think about the goals that will help you to make these changes. Defining goals enables you to narrow down what you actually want to achieve and what you actually want the future to look like.

With effective planning, larger goals can be broken down into individual, manageable action steps and this ensures that your goals will be targeted and achievable and that you will reach the level of success of which you have dreamt.

Make yourself accountable to others… and yourself!

Writing down your goals can make you more determined to achieve them – it strengthens your commitment and also gives you something concrete to refer back to. This boosts your desire to achieve and makes you accountable to yourself, ensuring that you move that goal forward.

Sharing your goals with a colleague, coach, friend or partner can also be very effective. When we share our intent with others, it heightens our desire to achieve and makes us accountable to another interested person, who may check in on progress. Sharing can also be inspirational! It’s a good opportunity to bounce ideas, fine-tune a goal and gain a different viewpoint on a particular project.

Create a timescale

All goals need a timescale: this transforms a goal from a dream into reality.

It shows you for how long you will be working on this goal and by when it will be achievable. Setting a timescale should be done at the same time as you narrow down your focus and break down your goals into manageable steps. You do need to be realistic though! Take into account your other commitments and how much time you can actually make available.

This vital part of goal-setting helps to prevent overwhelm, procrastination and uncertainty. Importantly, it gives constant clarity and the motivation to keep going.

Celebrate!

Once you have defined what you want and by when you will achieve it, you will then have something against which you can measure your progress. You now have a clear means of gauging how far you have come in achieving what you want; the ability to see your next steps and a clear indication of the things you can celebrate achieving and overcoming.

It’s so important to celebrate achieving the small steps and to be grateful to anything or anyone who has helped along the way.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve the end goal, as with the right planning (and patience!) you will turn your dream into reality!

What goals have you set yourself for 2020? Are there any goals that you didn’t achieve last year – if so, how can you rewrite them to make them achievable in 2020?

Top 10 Tips for a Productive Life!

My plans for 2020 have made me think a lot about ways to maximise productivity – there are only so many days in the year, and so many hours per day… and there’s only one me! As a working parent, it can sometimes be challenging to juggle work and home life. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes the unexpected happens and something unplanned takes all of our time and attention. Even if you’re not a working parent, you may be juggling two jobs, a side-hustle or three, a time-consuming hobby or charitable work so these top productivity tips will be just as relevant for you as they are for me.

Here are my top 10 productivity tips to help you stay sane and in control!

  1.     Have a morning routine

Apparently, you’re most productive in the first two hours after waking up – so make the most of this time if you can – even if this means getting up before the rest of your household! If you’re really not an early bird then it’s a good idea to work out the best time of day for you to be able to focus. Review what’s on your agenda, define your priorities and anything else you would like to achieve (if the time allows) and then get to work!

  1.      Don’t multi-task!

I always write down everything I need to do and then set myself my top three tasks. After this, I focus on one of these three at a time… and then I set the next three. I’d advise forgetting the rest of your to do list during this time, as it’s just a distraction. You’re only really able to give your energy to one thing at a time and even if you’re a great multi-tasker this can slow down your efficiency.

  1.     Set clear boundaries

You’ll achieve more if you set clear boundaries, so when you need to focus, make sure that it’s clear that everyone knows not to disturb you. If you’re in an open-plan office, then this could mean arriving before your co-workers, finding a quiet spot or wearing headphones if your working culture allows. If you’re working from home, then it’s a good idea to communicate about your deadlines and working activities. For example, you may not have time to run errands, prepare snacks for the children and receive parcels for neighbours!

  1.     Opt for peace and quiet

You’ll get more done if you can totally focus on the task at hand, so turn off all notifications – both on your laptop and mobile phone. Hide your phone if you have to!

  1.     Take regular breaks

Studies have shown that you can achieve more, if you take regular breaks: 15 minute breaks after every 45-60 minutes of work. You’ll stay more alert and feel better if you use these break times to go outside and stretch your muscles – so have a quick walk in the fresh air.

  1.     Break goals down into manageable chunks

Having a big future-based goal is great, but it can also lead to overwhelm and disappointment, especially if you feel you’re taking too long to get to that desired end result. Look to break all of your goals down into small manageable chunks, so you can easily reach them and celebrate those smaller achievements. Perhaps you could add these short-term goals to your diary to make sure you stay on track?

  1.     Take stock regularly

It can be easy to get so focused on work, you forget to take the time to acknowledge how far you’ve come, so look to take stock regularly. Not only will this give you the chance to celebrate what you’ve achieved and perhaps show gratitude to those who have helped, it’s also the perfect time to check you’re heading in the right direction. Are you on track to meet your long-term goals?

  1.     Plan ahead!

Spend 15 minutes at the end of each day, preparing your task list for the following day. This helps you to make sure anything that needs carrying over is remembered, plus it helps you to switch off at the end of each day. If you’ve got a busy week ahead, then it’s a good idea to set out your plans on a Sunday evening. What are the tools that you need to have in place to make sure that you have a great week?

  1.     Don’t be a hero…

You don’t have to do everything yourself – whether it’s home or work related. Could a cleaner help to bring a little serenity to your home? Are you spending too much time developing your businesses in an area in which you don’t excel? Ideally, you should be left with only those tasks and projects you either love and/or are your key strengths. Consider how much you value your own time and then have a think about what you could drop.

  1.    Batch your tasks

For everyday, routine tasks in your personal or professional life, group them together. For example, this could be answering emails, making phone calls, doing expenses… the momentum gained by batching together similar tasks will ensure that you are more productive. It’s a similar principle to batch cooking (of which I’m a big fan!)

What’s your favourite productivity tip for staying in control of your business and sanity? Have we already listed it above or is it something you want to add to our list? Why not share your hints, tips and hacks in the comments box below!

 

Want your business to succeed? Don’t focus on you!

It’s understandable that you want your business to do well. After all, you started it to fulfil a need or solve a problem you had. Whether that need was to be your own boss or your problem was childcare costs or redundancy, your initial drive to start your business was something YOU were looking to fulfil.

However, if you want your business to be successful moving forward, you need to change where your motivation or focus is. In short – your business focus needs to be on your CLIENTS. Continue reading “Want your business to succeed? Don’t focus on you!”