Back to work tips for August

It’s August, and for many of us with children we know it’s time to get in one last bit of relaxation this summer. If you live in Florida for many of you like myself there’s only one or two weeks left of summer vacation. So enjoy the beach, have a couple of late mornings and get ready for the back to school schedules.

On the work side for many self-employed professionals summer is normally the time when things slow down for us. It’s also a good time to get your office back in order and ready for business for the next push of the year. My work tips for August:

  • Get your finances in order – August is a great time while it’s slow going to update all your bookkeeping/accountig. Round-up any stray unpaid invoices from customers if you have any. Do your bank recons so you have a idea where you stand financially and what you need to do to meet your end of year financial goal. Hire a bookkeeper if you don’t have the time, patience or software to do your finances by yourself, or they are too out of control for you to deal with. However you decide to deal with your finances set a deadline for August 31 to get it all done and ready for the last months of the year.
  • Schedules – If you have kids then your work from home schedule is going to be really important. Be realistic about what you can do and when you can do it. For many of us our best work time is when the kids have gone to school. That will give you a good 6 to 8 hours of focused work time, so use it wisely.
  • Be flexible – Although you’ve got a schedule it’s always good to be flexible because life happens.
  • Home Office or work space – Over time our work areas get cluttered, it’s natural. While its slow take a couple of hours to tidy up, put files in their place and shred all that unwanted paper that is cluttering up your space and make it workable again 🙂 Don’t forget your computers too, we tend to drop a lot of stuff on our destops, so file those away too.
  • Finally have fun – Enjoy the last few days of family relaxing time before everything goes haywire again. Have fun and head outdoors, go to the beach or bike riding, but have some more fun before school and work get back in full swing.

Happy summer and have a great August.

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Brain on vacation – Back to normal

Finally tax day has come and gone, and now my brain can vacate for a few days. It’s been a busy few weeks but was well worth it. Now to relax into a more steady work schedule.

mental-vacation

I can never say this enough having your accounts in order whether they’re done by you or a bookkeeper/accountant, it’s so much easier when it comes to taxes and annual accounts. Doing your accounts ever month, every quarter or even six months will be beneficial to you the business owner/independent contractor in that it helps you keep track of what your income and expenses are.   It also lessens the stress when it comes to doing your annual accounts and your profit and loss statements and other reports that you need at the end of your financial year.

So if you haven’t done your first quarter accounting, now would be a good time to get it done or hire a bookkeeper to do it for you.

Enjoy the week.

Althea – VYPA

A little down time is needed.

vacation_t5

As we come to the close of the summer, there are those of us that are getting the kids ready to go off to school, or they have already done a couple weeks already depending where in the world you are. And a little down time is needed to catch our breath and regroup our thoughts. As entrepreneurs, self-employed persons, or independent contracted workers the end of the summer period can see an up take in our businesses and so it’s a good idea to just take a little break from everything and refocus your thoughts on your business for the last few months of the year.

In many industries summer is historically a slow period for self-employed professionals. For me personally I always used this time to look at business operations, catch up on administrative tasks, and to refocus my goals for the end of the year. This advice I would give to anyone who is self-employed or running your own business, take the summer to sort yourself out. As I’m writing this post I am taking a little break from all the emails, clients, and work related stuff, and just thought I would take the time to say to you all out there, “Take a little Break,” maybe it’s two days or two weeks. Have a little fun, regroup your thoughts and get ready to go full steam ahead with the final months of the year ahead of us.

Enjoy the last days of summer.

Althea – VYPA

 

It’s the summer time and the weather is hot!

Happy summer everyone. Yes it’s that time of year when we need to put down the tools of our trade and take a breather.

summer-fun-list

Happy summer everyone. Yes it’s that time of year when we need to put down the tools of our trade and take a breather. As busy self-employed professionals many online assistants find it hard to find the time to take a break. There are many reasons for this lack of taking care of ourselves, the main one being that if we don’t work we don’t get paid. Though this saying is true look at it from the other side, “If you don’t take a break you can’t work when you’re burned out or sick.”

When I first started working as an online assistant a few years ago taking time off was one of the hardest things to do. You’re always looking for the next project, or lining up the next client so that you have a consistent flow of work. While it’s good to have work and clients lined up to keep you going and money coming in we also need to know that a break is a good thing. After the first 6 months of working almost non-stop I realised that taking a break was as good for me and my business as it was for my family and my clients. When you’re tired from working all the time you start to make mistakes, they maybe small but they are still mistakes. Nothing is worse than sending a client a project and it’s not exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Not being up to full strength personally or physically is the main reason why I always advocate for online assistants to take a break, and the summer is one of the best times to do this. The summer time is a natural break time in the year, it’s halfway through the year and it’s the time when many  businesses, universities and clients tend to slow down their own workflow for various reasons. Taking advantage of this natural lull in workflow is a great way to recharge yourself. I you don’t want to take a week or two off working, you can take the weekends off or have long weekends during the summer. Once you notice you’re workflow starting to slow down start organizing yourself to begin taking breaks.

As I mentioned previously taking advantage of the natural lulls in industry workflow is a great indicator for when to take a break from work. I take advantage of the slow times during the holiday seasons like Easter, Summer and Christmas as these times tend to be slow. I also take alternate weekends off work throughout the year. I like working weekends but I don’t like tying up all my weekends with work so a happy medium is to take two weekends off during the month. This can be done by alternating the weekends which works fine with me.

With that said take some time to recharge yourself and enjoy your summer with your family and friends.

Happy summer.

 

 

 

 

Windows 10 upgrade available until July 29, 2016

windows 10

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all having a great Sunday and Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. I just want to remind all the users of Windows 7 & 8 that the free windows 10 update is still available until June 29. So you have 10 days to get your laptops or PCs updated for free.

By now you should have received a notification in your update ready section telling you that you can update your windows product, but if not you can click on the link and get the download from Microsoft. This link will become inactive after July 29. Link courtesy of Microsoft.com

Windows 10 upgrade – FREE

I’ve had windows 10 for almost a year now on the free upgrade and it’s great to work with. Now all my laptops and computers have it on.

Happy updating.

Althea – VYPA

 

 

 

Time Flies – Where has the time gone?

As we move into the end of the second quarter it’s a good time to take stock on some of the things that you might not have had the time to do.

where has the time gone

I can hardly believe that it is already the end of May.  Five months have already gone out of the year and I’m still feeling energized and ready to go. It’s a good feeling to be busy and know that you have not been wasting time but working on maintaining the business that you put your hard work and time into growing over the past year.

As we move into the end of the second quarter it’s a good time to take stock on some of the things that you might not have had the time to do. For example, I’ve been so busy working that I needed to take time to regroup and do my accounts, finalize outstanding client contracts, and bring my office administration tasks up to date. Today was a good day to do this and to my surprise I’m right on target to have a good year.

I have managed to set aside time for family and myself on a regular basis so that I’m not  catatonic by the time the third quarter rolls around. With good time management I’m able to have at least two full weekends each month where I don’t thing about work or even turn on my computer. I find that you need to regroup your thoughts and center yourself in order to continue to provide top quality work. There is no sense getting all the clients in the world if you’re going to be tired and can’t perform to your utmost perfection. So make the time to rest and regain your composure so that you can continue to be a top performer.

It’s also a good time, for those of you who might have kids and summer vacation is upon us, to look at your work schedule and make it a little more flexible to enjoy some of the summer sunshine and the family. Last summer I took the leap of faith to check out some independent contractors to work along side me. When it comes to transcription we all have our different standards and variations, but for me what I’ve found works best for me is to be quality control for my service. Working with others in the industry has opened my eyes as to how other transcribers work and do things, and just how similar we all are in the service that we provide. But I have also come across those few who need to do a bit more training to be up to my standards. My tip for working with others in your field is to be the final eyes on the product before you send it out to your client. It’s good to have help but at the end of the day you need to make sure that the service/document you provide is of that standard that your clients are used to getting from you. On this point I proof all documents before they go to my clients to make sure that the format and style is uniformed.

So as we begin June just take some time to take stock and look back on your plan that you made at the beginning of the year. Check to see if you’re on target, if you need to change anything. Make time to gather your thoughts and give yourself some off time to prepare your mind, body and soul for the rest of the year. And above all enjoy what you do, work is a lot easier when you enjoy it. I love to type, play around with my laptop, and learning new things, so for me transcription is a natural choice. So have fun doing your thing and enjoy the rest of 2014.

Althea

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?