Happy New Year and continued success.

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As you begin the journey into this new year be mindful that a new year does not mean to start over. This year take the knowledge and the successes of what you have already cultivated in the past year(s), and move forward to even better, bigger, and brighter goals.

This year make it your best year as you work on your business and personal goals.

Have a great 2015.

Althea – Virtually Yours P.A.

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Time Management for the Self-Employed

Reposted written by: Anthony Caruana @ www.lifehacker.com.au
I came across this post and thought it would be a good one to share. Personally I don’t use a whiteboard as suggested but with the various smart phone apps and google calender, the result is the same.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/04/time-management-for-the-self-employed/

If you’re self-employed and work from home, staying productive can be a huge challenge. When you’re home, it’s easy to stretch out a cup of coffee with a snack. And then that turns into a quick bite in front of the TV and next thing you know, the morning has disappeared.

When I started freelancing, this was a huge challenge for me so I had to come up with a system that kept me on track.

I’ve settled on a multi-pronged approach that fits into my work habits and personal preferences that gives me flexibility but the motivation to stay on task.

My main planning tool is my whiteboard. It’s low tech but it works. The board is ruled up with a column for each day of the work week. I don’t schedule work for weekends unless it’s completely unavoidable. Each day is divided in half.

At the end of each week I plan my time in half day blocks for the following week and put them on the board. I tried to doing this with an online calendar but too often it was buried under other windows on my screen. I need to have something I can look up to regularly. And, because it’s on a whiteboard, it’s easy to add stuff that spans days, I can use different colours and moving things is quick.

The second planning tool I have is my to-do list system. This uses both high and low tech parts.

One the high tech side, I use an electronic to-do app called Producteev [Producteev]. There are so many apps of this type that it doesn’t really matter which one you pick as long as it works for you. I like Producteev because it has a multi-platform app, has browser access and lets me email tasks to myself. The key thing is that when a new piece of work comes in or I have something to do I add it to Producteev with a deadline.

That to-do list also holds recurring tasks like monthly bills that can’t be automatically paid, upcoming deadlines and things that need to followed up.

Each morning, I look at Producteev and transpose today’s tasks to a paper list that sits by my right hand all day. I know that this is double-handling but it solves two problems for me.

It puts today’s work within easy reach rather than on an application window that might be hidden behind other work and it gives me the physical sensation of putting a line through a task. It does mean that I have to update my online list as well, but that’s a pretty quick and easy task that only takes a few moments.

So, how do you manage you day’s work? How do you stay on task when there are a thousand things you’d rather be doing?

Identifying The Right Virtual Assistant for your business can be the difference between success and failure.

Identifying The Right Virtual Assistant for your business can be the difference between success and failure.

The information in this is so true for both Virtual Assistants and those looking to hire a Virtual Assistant. Both sides need to fully understand what is needed to form a successful business relationship. Hope you found this as helpful and insightful as I did.

Identifying The Right Virtual Assistant for your business can be the difference between success and failure.

 

The information in this is so true for both Virtual Assistants and those looking to hire a Virtual Assistant. Both sides need to fully understand what is needed to form a successful business relationship. Hope you found this as helpful and insightful as I did.

Identifying The Right Virtual Assistant for your business can be the difference between success and failure.

FREE advice for marketing a small business.

If like me you like to be in the know about how things work or what’s out there to help you succeed, then here is an opportunity for you. Smart Simple Marketing will be offering free 10 minute coffee break advice to everyone simply by listening to their podcasts.

For more information please follow the link to their post Marketing a Small Business in 2012: Free Coffee Break Advice

Althea – Virtually Yours PA

Keeping your profiles current

As I write today I’m taking a break from doing a task that I have been putting off for a few weeks, updating my profiles on various sites.

When starting out I created profiles on so many sites and now as I go back to some of them it just proves how much I have developed and expanded in the last three years. I have been providing virtual services for a while but in 2006 decided to dedicate most of my time to making is more of a career rather than a hobby. In doing so I have educated myself with various courses and read so much that sometimes it took over my working schedule, however that is all behind me and now I have been on a path that has been leading to continued growth, it is small but consistent.

So in keeping with my continued growth it is time to clean up those profiles on sites that I wish to keep informed about what is happening, and those that I don’t visit or find useful I will just get rid of. It is time for change, unification and above all streamlining my online presence into a more coherent one.

This is something that I think we should all do as online professionals, keep our presence coherent because eventually that becomes our brand online. So take a look at all those profiles and delete the ones you don’t find valuable and update the ones that are. This will take time but in the end it will be worth while.

Have a great week.

Virtually Yours PA

Go Green, Keep Green…It’s a Virtual Thing [Reposted]

Going green — everyone should have it as a New Year’s resolution this year, especially we business owners who rely on energy-hungry products and practices to run our businesses on a daily basis. There have been many articles and blogs on the topic. However, it’s a new year again and that’s a great reason to start thinking and implementing ways to live and work greener. This really is an important topic, and it really is a big deal in more ways than just one.

By eXPERT Business Support

Going green — everyone should have it as a New Year’s resolution this year, especially we business owners who rely on energy-hungry products and practices to run our businesses on a daily basis. There have been many articles and blogs on the topic. However, it’s a new year again and that’s a great reason to start thinking and implementing ways to live and work greener. This really is an important topic, and it really is a big deal in more ways than just one. 

For the most part, a good number of business owners have already implemented ways of going green — without even realizing it! We’ve done so in part because we have all felt the impact of a bad economy in some way or another. Office supplies are more expensive, the price of gasoline makes us cringe, and even the cost of postage has jumped on the bandwagon. And added salt in that wound, our customers just aren’t spending as much as they once were. This has left many business owners desperately looking for ways to save some green.

We’ve started saving money by refilling our ink cartridges. We’re cutting down on our paper cost by printing on both sides of the paper. And we’ve trained ourselves to turn off equipment when it’s not in use. These practices not only help us save some green, but they are green practices — wow, win-win!

But did you know that partnering with a virtual assistant can get your company on its way to going even greener?

I’ve read several great articles recently on going green, and to my delight, many of them mention the impact virtual assistants have on green efforts worldwide. For instance, most virtual assistants rely on electronic communication and electronic file management versus conventional paper correspondence, etc. This has a huge positive impact on the environment. It saves paper, hence saving trees — which is wonderful! But I’m not sure everyone has heard of the two key points that I came across that truly did surprise me.

Taryn Merrick of Merrick Management and Media Services wrote an article that keyed in on the fact that virtual assistants don’t drive to work everyday. You see, virtual assistants typically work out of their homes. Fewer cars on the road reduce pollutants and emissions, not to mention gas consumption. And less gas consumption translates into less fossil fuel consumption. Bravo!

I would have never thought of this one — the virtual assistant’s wardrobe. Because virtual assistants work out of their homes, there’s less need to have that fancy business attire dry cleaned. As noted in a blog posted by MurphyAssistants, virtual assistants typically are dressed in casual clothes, and that translates into less dry-cleaning solvents being flushed into the wastewater. This was a great point to bring to our attention. Thank you! Bravo, bravo!

And finally, have you considered the fact that virtual assistants use less energy than a conventional assistant? In general, virtual assistants complete a project for a client much more efficiently than an in-house secretary. Why? We don’t have the distractions of a busy office setting. When we are working on a project, we are focused solely on that project with little or no distractions. Once the project is completed, our computers and other office equipment are turned off — no wasted energy!

Recap — virtual assistants work in their own homes. No gossip time and no lunch hours or breaks when the computer and office systems are left running, not to mention an air conditioner or a heater. What this all boils down to is that going “virtual” will rid you of the energy consumption and costs of cooling, heating, and running all that equipment for eight hours a day.

It is possible to rid yourself of that outrageous utility bill, not to mention the waste of precious resources during gossip or break times. It is possible by making a conscious commitment to rely on an efficient and energy, paper conscious virtual assistant. Bravissimo!

Bottom line here is that we all should be thinking of ways to save our planet especially for our children, grandchildren, and — well, you get my point. And what’s so fascinating, is that it can really be so simple when it comes to our business practices. In most cases, not only will you be contributing to making our planet greener, but your company will benefit by keeping some of that green where it belongs — with you!

If you would like more information on going green, please visit the Go Green Initiative at www.gogreeninitiative.org and World Watch Institute at www.worldwatch.org.

Please do let me know if I have misrepresented any information.

Happy 2011

As we begin the new year you should be mindful of the contacts and progress that you made during the past year.  In order to move forward with 2011 and continue to be productive, remember to follow-up and follow through with your contacts in 2011.

During the past year as a small business owner, entrepreneur, virtual assistant or other professional, we have all made numerous contacts, leads or come across opportunities that are just sitting on our to do pile, on our desk, or in our in-boxes.  For the start of this new year, my suggestion to everyone reading this, is to follow-up on those leads.  Send out New Year’s messages with a link back to your site, a new year offer, or attachment of your professional expertise.  Remind those contacts why they got in touch with you in the first place.  Re-engage a would be client into being a client.

Before the end of the January, follow through on your efforts by updating your business or professional profiles, update your website or business information.  If you’re a virtual assistant this could be as simple as a list of the services you provide sent out by email to those clients that you worked with in 2010, or send out a New Year newsletter.

Following through with your plans to make contact with those names on your to do pile, look at the opportunities that you have put aside for a later date.  Following up and following through will keep you fresh in your contacts mind and if they forget what you did or how the link was made with you, then this follow-up and follow through is a great way to bring you and your services, or company to the forefront of their mind, and maybe they just might be able to use your services in this new year.

January is a time for planning and many entrepreneurs and small business owners are usually looking at planning their next step to move forward.  So do your follow-up and follow through in January you might be surprised at the positive responses you receive for this New Year.

Good luck and be productive in 2011

Althea – VYPA