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 ⭐

Stupid Blog!

Stupid Blog!

Yes, I said it!  Out loud.  For the whole world to see.

For the last 11 months, I have thought this on a regular basis!  

Stupid blog!

hiding

Every month for the last 11 months, I have scheduled in time to blog and every month I come away empty handed.  The strange part about it is, I LOVE to write.  Over the years I have written songs, short stories, poems, and I keep a journal. 

I really enjoy being creative and I love words so there shouldn’t be a problem with this.

I KNOW that I need to blog.

I KNOW that it will build awareness about who I am and what I do.

I KNOW that it will help my brands reputation if I do it well.

I KNOW that it will help with my SEO.

I KNOW that I SHOULD be doing it and yet, I still struggle with it every month.  Why?

So, for those that follow my social media, you will know that I have been doing a lot of work on my ‘self’ over the last few weeks.  I am trying to learn more about what makes me work, what stops me, what I am passionate about and what scares me.  When I fully understand what makes me tick, I can develop that and become a better version of myself.  Stefanie 4.0 so to speak. 

At some point during my reflection time, I have discovered something really important. I am not going to lie, it took me by surprise….. 

I realised that I have been struggling with it all because I thought that I had to write as Stef, the Virtual Assistant.  Stef, the transcriptionist.  Stef, the diary management pro, Stef, the business owner….and for some reason, I didn’t connect the dots.  All of those Stef’s, they are all part of what turns me….the caring, passionate, whirlwind into Stef, the first-rate Virtual Assistant who can give you an extra pair of hands to help het a handle on your admin.

How did I not realise that they are all parts of my personality that as massively important in what I do?  Why did I think that I could only portray one of them? Why did I think that I would have to change my voice?

With that in mind, I have set myself a challenge.  For those of you that know me personally, I love a good challenge 😊

My challenge is to write 6 blogs but this time, I am going to let my creative side take over and let you get a peek of the real me.  I will be doing the usual tips and tricks that may be of help, some general information pieces and some advice but they will have a lot more of my personality in them. 

They will be written from the heart.

I would love to know if there is anything in particular you would like my thoughts on.  Is there something that you can’t get your head around?  A piece of software you would like to know more about?

Or would you like to know more about how I do it?  How I manage a busy business around raising my terror tot?  Ask away….I will always answer you honestly because that is who I am.

Now for the boring bits 🤣

If you would to know what we do, you will find a full list of our services here.

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Stef ⭐

Who are we?


If you are reading this you have either stumbled across my page or you have sought me out and either way, you may be a little curious about who I am, what I do and why I do this so get comfy and let me introduce myself. 

First things first, my name is spelt S T E F A N I E, for some reason my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to be a little different.  I am one of those people who can only find stuff with my name on in foreign countries.  It is also a major cause of confusion whenever I try to explain it over the phone (that could be the way I am telling it; I am a Geordie…. but it does seem REALLY difficult at times).  I have a gorgeous partner David, who is hugely supportive and the calm to my storm.  Where I am like a whirlwind, he is very laid back and takes everything in his stride.  We have baby boy who is the cheekiest little terror tot that I have ever come across but the two of them are my absolute world.  They are also the reason that this business is here, but I will get to that later.  I have an 11-year-old collie who is a cuddle monster and a 15-year-old moggy who is feisty and getting a little cantankerous in her old age.  I would turn our little house by the seaside into a zoo if the Mr would give in, but it seems that for now, he is happy as a family of 5.

My experience

 I started my working life working in pubs and shops and even moved to Germany for a while to run a café over there.  I fell into admin 16 years ago.  I was looking for a real “grown up” job (it was far too much fun working in bars to be considered a grown up job) and I found an admin role close to home which didn’t need any experience and I discovered that I had a real knack for it.  Over the next few years I gained experience in a Jobcentre, Medical centre, a military HQ, MOD Police and then the NHS and have gained a huge amount of experience working with people from all walks of life and have learned to adapt my skills to the situation at hand.  My last couple of roles have been as a PA at Executive level and I have LOVED it.  The more chaotic and challenging, the better!

My “Why”?

I have waited a very long time for my little boy and now that I have him, I want to continue to build our life whilst being around when he needs me.  The other side of this is, I LOVE helping people to organise the chaos that usually comes with busy people and their admin.  One of the things that I learned very early on is that the busier you are as a person, the less time you get to do the background work.  I enjoy working out the puzzle of a hectic diary and prioritising urgent situations.  I also LOVE working with the wide variety of people that I come across.  This business gives me the opportunity to do both.

I am still in the process of finding my feet, finding which areas will work around my current schedule and trying to absorb as much information about running a business as I can but this is who I am right now.

My personality

I always find this bit quite difficult.  As I have already said I am like a whirlwind.  If something needs doing, I HAVE to get it done or at least have an action plan on how I am going to progress with the challenge.  This is for every part of my life.  I am also quite a bouncy human and have earned the nickname “tigger” from friends and family because I have a huge amount of energy and am usually extra cheerful.  I do not see the point in being miserable, all it does is bring everybody around you down and if I am being completely honest, I have an 11-month-old baby…I don’t have the extra energy it takes to be grumpy.  I also see it as a challenge to get people to smile back at me.  I am stubborn and determined (traits that I have passed onto my little man…..eek).  I do not hold grudges and I would rather figure out how to fix a problem than find someone to blame.  I believe in being honest and accepting responsibility but more importantly learning from your mistakes.

What do I do?

I give you time.

So, you know all those teeny tiny tasks that take forever. You know the ones typing up reports, collating information, researching locations for meetings, looking for amazing presents, sorting through receipts and submitting expenses, booking appointments, sending out letters, maintaining spreadsheets…. that is just a tiny insight into some of the things that I do. 

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Give yourself a few minutes to think about all of the jobs that you have been putting off, the things that you just never seem to have time for or even worse, the jobs that are getting in the way of what you need to get done.  Think about the cost of YOU doing those things.  Your time, energy and the fact that you are unable to get on with other things because you are spending hours on admin.  This is where I come in. What may seem drawn out and tedious to you is what I enjoy doing. Calming the admin chaos that often comes with busy professionals.

If you think there are tasks that I could help with, hit the button below to get in touch.  All packages are tailored to your individual needs and remember, you only pay for the time that used to complete the task. 

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