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𝗗𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗮𝘆 𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮?
If the answer is yes, then I have just the thing for you!
For just £10 you get 30 Cards containing;

  • 15 Social Media Prompts
  • 15 Positive Reminders
  • 15 Productivity Tips
You can get your own set of Inspiration is on the Cards here 

Ask the Expert – Branding with Natasha Holland

Branding – nice to have or essential for a growing business?

Have you ever wondered about branding and if you should be doing something about it?
I had a recent branding shoot with Natasha Holland of Natasha Holland Photography and since that shoot, I have recieved loads of compliments about my branding and lots of enquiries from my ideal client...

No matter what you may think – branding works and this is what Tash had to say about it…

If you would like to know more about branding, you can contact Tash at;
https://natashahollandphotography.zenfolio.com/about.html
https://www.facebook.com/natashahollandphotography/
https://www.instagram.com/natashaholland_photography/

What does your branding say about you? Are you happy with the story that it tells?

If you would like a second pair of eyes to proof read your website and social media providing honest and constructive feedback,
you can contact us via the button below to arrange a chat.

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When motivation goes into hiding…

Has your get up and go, got up and gone?

I have had to work really hard to keep my motivation going over the last few weeks.

I don’t know whether it has been the change in the weather, the fact that we are in a local lockdown or just the fact that I haven’t had a real break (I was supposed to go to Florida last month and I may be sulking a little).

The funny thing is, I have had no such problems with my client work. In fact, I have really been in my flow for my clients. So, what’s a girl to do about it? Why am I fine with somebody else’s work but when it comes to my own business, I am struggling?

The answer is actually very simple. I lost my direction, and because I had no direction, I wasted a lot of time going round in circles and never felt like I was achieving anything and that had to stop.

So, I revisited my top tips for staying productive (the ones that I hadn’t been using myself… bad babba!) and I thought I would share some of them with you.

See if they can help you

Credit: @natashahollandphotography

Write yourself a list and check off each task when you have completed it.

Not only will you be able to see where you are at, it will give you a sense of satisfaction checking off the items that you have already actioned. Simple, but effective!

Stay focussed on your tasks for THIS week.

It is really easy to get distracted on an upcoming project but try to remain focussed on the tasks that need your attention this week.

Get rid.

Go through your emails, your software and your documents in your quite times and get rid of anything that you do not need.  It will make it far easier to find everything that you do need and free up clutter from your drives.

Turn off your email and phone notifications.

If they are distracting you from the task that you are doing it will take you far longer to complete and lets face it, notifications are ALWAYS a distraction!

Turn off notifications until you are ready to go through them properly.

If you have a big to-do list, break it down into bite sized chunks.

What do you have to achieve to move on to the next task?  Complete each bit and move on to the next.

Hold fewer meetings.

If isolation has taught us anything, it is that we have too many meetings where we don’t really achieve a great deal.  Go through your meeting schedule and work out what meetings you need to have and what could be dealt with by a quick call.  Give yourself a break.

Keep your workspace tidy.

When I am working on a major project, my desk usually looks like a bomb site BUT it is organised chaos!  I can put my hands on every piece of paper that I need instantly because every night I today my desk and set my to-do list ready for my next working day.  Most people are far more productive when they have a clear working area and a cluttered area can make it difficult to concentrate.

Without time to rest, you cannot be productive. It is a simple fact. 

If you are on the edge of burn out, you are not giving your best to anyone so make sure that you schedule time to do things that you enjoy. For me, it is time to do my nails or read a good book, or to snuggle and watch cartoons with my boy! No matter what it is, make sure that you make time for you. One of the sayings that I hear quite regularly within my network of wellbeing professionals is that you cannot pour from an empty cup…

Are your customers still feeling feels valued?

Are you getting all of your messages answered quickly?

Are you maintaining networking relationships?

Is your customer experience as good as it could be?

If you are struggling to keep up with everything, it is time to consider outsourcing.

A happy customer is much more likely to return and recommend you to their friends and family.

So, am I practising what I preach? Absolutely!

Credit: @natashahollandphotography

I now schedule 1 full day off per week (this may not seem like a lot but it is a baby step in the right direction whilst I am building the business).

I have challenged myself to do 6 minutes of Pilates a day to help with my back. If anybody is interested in Pilates, I can personally recommend Beverley Densham. She is an amazing lady and has been a real help with advice for my poorly old back) You can find out more about her here.

Credit: @natashahollandphotography

I am spending time with my family doing the things that I love.

So, if you are losing the battle with motivation, try some of these tips out and come back and let me know how you got on.

If you would like to know more about how we could help to take the pressure off and give you an extra pair of hands with your admin, you can contact us here.

Who needs a day off?

Who needs a day off?

I often hear people say that when you are self-employed, there is no such thing as a day off and I agree that this is the case for most of us…..especially when we are first starting out.  

But is shouldnt be!

For me, I try to take one full day off during the week 🤣 I also try to manage my time so that my weekends are split between work time (until around 3pm) and family time. The key words there are ‘I try’.

I usually manage the family time at the weekend, but I have been really struggling with the full day off.  For example, last week I decided that I was having Wednesday off because my dad was coming to visit, and I wanted to spend some time with him.  

During my day off, I logged on to help out a client quickly, attended a networking meeting and had another meeting to discuss the potential of more work coming in.  I felt really bad for my dad, but I am lucky, he understands that whilst I am building the business, I cannot miss an opportunity to network or generate new business 🤷‍♀️

This weekend I had fully planned to work the full weekend.  We had arranged a play date for the terror tot yesterday morning, so I was swapping my timings around a little, but the plan was to work through as usual.  

We went to our playdate and had a fantastic time whilst dude played with his little pal and we caught up with the grown-ups. It was so nice.  I felt really relaxed and happy, so I decided, as I didn’t have any urgent client work booked in, to give myself the rest of the day off 😲

This is how my day went.

 

Playdate with terror tot.

Have a nap (slept like the dead for 2 hours).

Get up, eat cake and watch Frozen 2.

Play with terror tot for a couple of hours.

Put dude to bed and order takeaway

Eat until we can’t move and watch a movie whilst sitting in our food coma

It was PERFECT!

It was exactly what I needed and for the first time in months, I didn’t feel guilty about taking the time.

Today I woke up early (as usual) and I felt refreshed and ready to face the day.  

So far (it is 10:49 as I write this), I have done the washing, snuggled and watched cartoons with terror tot, made pancakes, had a fruit snack, showered, dressed and done and I am already up to number 8 on my ‘to-do’ list.  

I have been sooooooo productive!

This got me to thinking, was this a fluke or is this what happens after you give yourself a break and let yourself have some down time???? 

Now, being the curious little puppy that I am, I couldn’t just sit with that thought, I HAD to do the research and here is what I found

Burnout is very real and the effects can be devastating! 

Not just tiredness….it can effect your mind, your confidence and the physical effects are scary.  

Here are some of the symptoms that I found (full article can be found here).

This is only a very small list of the things that could happen to your body and mind if you do not take the rest that you need.

 

  • Chronic fatigue – physically and mentally exhausted.
  • Insomnia – your brain will not shut down, no mater how tired you are.
  • Lack of concentration and attention – unable to focus on the task at hand.
  • Physical effects – stomach-ache, headaches, dizziness, palpitations.
  • Lower immune system – your body can only battle so much at any one time.
  • Anxiety – the longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Feelings of not being enough. Ever.

Honestly, I was shocked. 

At different points in the last year, I have experienced most of these symptoms and why?  Because I am a perfectionist and I have been pushing myself with everything that I have, to make sure that I succeed.  Because everybody tells you that you have to work had and make sacrifices to succeed but is success really work my mental and physical health?  

Does it really make me a better Virtual Assistant?

Time for me to get my act together and sort this out!

I continued on with my research and found some great tips on how protect yourself from burnout.

Learn to say no

It’s ok, it’s allowed. 

For me, one of the biggest issues is trying to be all things to all people. 

Family want to visit so I take time off work to spend time with them, then I need to play catch up because the work still needs to be done.

Why not protect my work time like I would the terror tot’s nap times.

Take breaks

This isn’t just taking a 5-minute break always from the computer.  That is basic health and safety.

I am talking about taking an actually break.  A couple of days off to do something that makes you feel good or even better, to do nothing at all.

Do what I did yesterday, give yourself permission to relax in whatever way works for you. 

Celebrate your effort

I am terrible for pushing myself until a job is complete rather than celebrating the effort that I am putting in, and it is so important to reward yourself for all of those little wins. 

Life isn’t about the ending, it is all about the journey so why do I spend all of my time focussing on the end product when I should pause for a second to enjoy the journey that I am on.

Delegate

Trust me, I know how hard this one is. 

My brain is hardwired to believe that I should be looking after the baby, the house, cooking the meals, doing the washing and shopping all whilst building my business.  I am not quite sure when I decided that I was superwoman, but it is definitely time to get real! 

I am not superhuman.  

I am not even A super human. 

I am just a normal human being who needs some help. 

Interestingly, Mr S was actually pleased when I started delegating some of the household chores.  Not that he likes washing pots or going shopping, just that he has always been able to see that I was taking too much and now I have given up some control.

For more tips on recovering from burnout, there is a great article on Psychology Today which you can find here.

So, this is my story on how I am learning to look after myself better. 

I would love to know how you do it?

Do you schedule time for self-care? 

Do you push yourself too hard?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Stef ⭐