There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of How-to Coaches out there. Coaches that will teach you how to do everything from how to set up your office for better efficiency to, you guessed it…how to be more productive. So today, I’m going to share with you some ideas that have worked for me.
Welcome to, or back to, the GinAdmin Blog. My name is Gina Koran and I’ll be your host on this journey into How to be More Productive. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and see what insight my coffee-fueled brain can share with you!
Okay, so how CAN you be more productive this week?
You can spend a lot of time doing things that add little to no value to your life or your business and are just plain busy work.
OR you can plan your week to be more productive and useful than you ever thought possible.
Sounds great, but exactly how do you do that?
Here’s what I do. My coach, Tawnya Sutherland at www.VANetworking.com coaches her VA Insiders to set aside a 3-hour block of time EVERY week to work on our OWN businesses.
So “My Business Time” is Saturday morning from 9am to noon. During those three hours, I look first at my goals, then the things I need to do next to achieve them.
Those tasks get added to my calendar based on my goals and objectives for the week. I even go so far as to list each action that needs to be taken for the final result I’m looking for so that I don’t get caught up in a bottleneck or roadblock.
Or worse, get sucked down a rabbit hole and spend hours looking up recipes for snickerdoodles. Anyone else guilty of this? No? Just me?
Are there tasks on your list that someone else can do for you and free up some of your time?
Are you spending a lot of time doing tasks that aren’t directly related to money-making tasks for your business? You know what I’m talking about – posting to social media, responding to comments on your posts, writing blog posts…all those tasks take up valuable time!
One of the items on my list (this one is more personal, but it’s time-consuming and eats into my own business time) is menu planning. Those of you who plan and cook meals for your family will understand the pain of figuring out every single day what to feed your household. Can I get an “Amen”?
This task is outsourced in my house. Sort of. Basically, if I ask “what’s for dinner tonight” and there’s no response, you’re getting either leftovers or breakfast. Simple, fast, but still nutritious.
So, think about turning those tasks over to someone who can do them for you to save time, time that you can spend on tasks that get you closer to those goals! Someone like, say a Freelance Admin (wink).
When you want to get more done in a day, the best thing you have going for you is a good plan based on smart goals. I find that I can do better by following these three tips.
Tip #1: Set Daily Goals and Objectives
Work with a long-term plan to create your medium-term and short-term plans and actions. If you plan right, you’ll be able to set daily goals and objectives that allow you to finish any project or task on time. Start with the result you want, a time you want the result, and then work your way backward in your calendar to today, planning small actions that will lead to the result you want.
I learned this idea ages ago, possibly even before my military days. You’ve heard the old saying “Start with the end in mind”. What’s the goal? Now work your way backwards to today and you’ll have the steps you need to take to reach it!
Tip #2: Remove Distractions
It’s also important to achieving your goals to avoid and remove distractions that take you away from the schedule you set for yourself.
My own calendar looks like a kindergartener got ahold of a crayon. Each day has tasks, reminders and appointments listed in different colors based on what that task pertains to.
By listing my daily steps in my calendar and taking away anything that will interrupt me during the day, I can be sure to achieve each task and get me one step closer to my goal.
Tip #3: Stick to Deadlines and Timelines
Setting a realistic timeline and deadline requires you to know how long it takes you to do things and what is happening with the rest of your schedule. If you schedule everything you need to do, including personal tasks, it’s going to be much easier to set and stick to realistic timelines and deadlines.
This is probably THE hardest part. At least for me. There are so many shiny objects to distract us and so many other tasks that have to be done each day, that it’s easy to go off course.
One of the ways I combat this is, again with the calendar…I block time throughout the day to work on my tasks. If it’s a big goal, then I break it down to working maybe 90 minutes every day. I try not to go beyond that because being human, my attention span only allows me about that amount of time before I look for those shiny objects to distract me!
Speaking of time blocking, that’s a big part of this next area:
What IS time management and how does it relate to being more productive?
When we talk about time management, we’re not really talking about managing time as much as we’re talking about managing the schedule you set for yourself, ensuring you have enough time and energy to do what needs to be done in that timeframe.
This requires that you understand how long it takes you to accomplish the task, knowing how to do the task right, which technology or equipment you need and that you have the right resources to get it done. All of this requires planning.
Here again, I defer to my colorful calendar. I know every morning when I sit down at my computer EXACTLY what has to be done today to move me another step forward toward my goals.
How often does someone call or stop you if you’re out and about and ask you for a favor? My husband is famous for poking his head in my office with a “Hey, can you do me a quick favor?”. Sometimes I shoo him out, especially if I’m in the middle of a project or task. But, since I live with him, mostly I say sure.
I’ll ask you here: “Hey, can you do me a quick favor?”. When someone comes to you with new things to add to your schedule, don’t just say yes automatically.
First, tell them you’ll check your calendar.
Then check your schedule but also check your mind to find out if you really want to do it or not.
Only say yes if you CAN actually fit it in, even if you think you want to do it.
The great thing about being a business owner and being your own boss is it lets you say YES to more of the things you’d like to do and turn over the rest to someone who likes to do the things you don’t!
MULTI-TASKING: Is it keeping you from being more productive?
If you’ve ever read job advertisements, you probably see them asking for “natural multitaskers” or “good multitaskers” as if this is a good thing to be. The problem is that scientifically, you cannot truly multitask. No one can. As a human, you can only truly focus on one thing at a time.
A person who multitasks might get by and do a good enough job, but if they really focused, they’d do better. Studies show that multitasking reduces productivity, increases stress, and it’s not realistically possible.
I found this quote, which made me laugh because it’s so completely me that I might just put it up on my office wall:
“Multitasking is the ability to screw everything up simultaneously.” ~Jeremy Clarkson
I’ve gone away from trying to multitask myself. I found that those studies were dead-on for me: I was stressed out because I never felt like I was accomplishing anything and was driving my productivity down. Once I started focusing on one task at a time, I was a much happier me!
Now, while multitasking may be a productivity myth, you can still have more than one project going at a time. Consider working with a Freelance Admin. Our job is to work with you to take some of those tasks off your hands so you can focus on the bigger picture of your business.
Okay, so here is my disclaimer:
You have to do what works best for YOU. These are the things that work best for me in my own business and in my own life. If they work for you, then my goal has been achieved, which is why I share my coffee-induced “wisdom” with you!
Bottom line: We all have enough time to get things done, if we know and implement the ways that work best for us to achieve our goals. A great option if you find yourself not having enough time in your day to complete the tasks you need to in order to achieve your goals, is to work with a Freelance Admin. We’re good at taking those tasks, freeing up your time so that you can do what you love!
I’d love to hear from you – what tasks could you outsource that would benefit you and your business and help you achieve your goals? Leave me a comment!
And if you’d like to know what GinAdmin can do to make your life easier, hit me up and let’s chat! Head on over to my contact page and send me a message! http://www.ginadmin.com/#contact
I get that many entrepreneurs don’t like the idea of outsourcing. I think that this is mostly due to not understanding how outsourcing tasks to a Freelance Admin can actually be a very smart business decision. Today, I’m going to share ten reasons why I believe outsourcing to a Freelance Admin can benefit both you AND your business.
Welcome to, or back to, the GinAdmin Blog. My name is Gina Koran and I’ll be your host on this journey into Outsourcing Tasks to a Freelance Admin, sometimes referred to as a Virtual Assistant. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and see what insight my coffee-fueled brain can share with you!
“Once upon a time”…chances are, you started your business because you like to do one or two things and you do them well. Whatever your widget is, it’s your “Zone of Genius” and you love it. Doing it lights you up like nothing else.
But when you’re running a business, you can begin wearing so many hats that you forget about your first love-that widget. The very reason you started your business in the first place gets pushed to the back burner as you put out a million other fires.
Forbes Magazine published an article about working with virtual assistants. There, they talk about how, by working with your VA, you can optimize your processes and in turn, get your focus back on the business of building your widget.
Working hand-in-hand with a virtual assistant can be a step forward in the optimization of many of your company’s processes.
Once you outsource and train your Freelance Admin, you have time to focus again. You can spend more of your energy doing the things you love in your business. You’ll also find that by outsourcing, you’re going to be more productive because you can focus on that widget!
#2: Level-Up Areas of Your Business
There are always areas of your business where you know you could be doing better. Maybe you struggle with creating social media posts and graphics to showcase your widget.
When you work with a Freelance Admin, you can level-up these areas of your business. It’s important to look at where you need the most help before you choose to bring on a new team member. If you’re already strong with writing copy, then look for a Freelancer that’s strong in an area such as graphics.
Spending time in the areas that are your business cornerstones, you’ll find that what you’re outsourcing will actually help to grow your business!
#3: Create Time in Your Calendar
Many entrepreneurs have too much on their plate. Too much everything – except time. If you’ve noticed that your days are packed with back-to-back tasks, meetings, and appointments, then you could likely benefit from outsourcing to a Freelance Admin.
While it’s understandable to have busy seasons in your business, it can become draining and overwhelming if these seasons last for long periods. You can decrease the overwhelm and energy-drain by working with a Freelance Admin, handing over day-to-day tasks that will free up time in your calendar!
Jen Glantz, an entrepreneur and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire, wrote an article about how she was spending so much of her time on tasks that were taking her away from building her business. She decided to hire freelancers to take on some of that weight so that she could focus on higher-priority items.
“After a few months of tracking how I spent my time during the workday, I realized that more than 25% of my time was spent on tasks that weren’t a high priority.”
Business owners, especially small business, owners tend to feel that they need to “wear all the hats” and “do all the things”. While this might seem like a money-saving option, it’s actually taking you away from focusing on the bigger-picture areas that you need to work on to grow your business.
#4: Lower Your Costs
Sometimes, the resistance to outsourcing is because of costs. You worry that you can’t afford the experienced Freelancer who would help with your marketing, for instance.
But think about this: If you sit down and figure that you get paid, for example, $200 an hour to build your widgets, but you often spend ten hours or more a week frustrated by…let’s say marketing as an example, then you’re spending roughly $2,000 a week in valuable time frustrated when you could be making money from your widgets.
Suddenly, paying a Freelancer doesn’t seem so outrageous!
#5: Grow Your Business
Another advantage of outsourcing is that you can focus on growing your business in new and exciting ways. An experienced Freelancer can bring fresh ideas that maybe you hadn’t thought of. Or they may have experience in areas that you don’t and they can help you expand into that area.
In an article by BusinessWire, the CEO of Worksome explains how companies that are willing to consider working with Freelancers will be better equipped to face the changing future of work, especially as we start to come out of the current world situation we are in.
Corporations that have the foresight and flexibility to engage with this ever-growing pool of contracted talent will find themselves able to better adapt to the changing future of work.
The result of working with Freelancers is a business that can expand in ways you’d only dreamed of before.
#6: Get Early Feedback on Ideas
You can also use outsourcing to get early feedback on ideas. Maybe the first few widgets you launched flopped because weren’t in touch with what the market wanted, or your presentation wasn’t what customers expected.
With outsourcing, you can have a Freelance Admin do early research. This allows you to shape your widgets in a way that they’re more likely to appeal to your market.
For example, you might have your Freelancer compile a list of the top 5 widgets that are similar to yours. They can compare the widgets and point out what you can change to make it more marketable. You can use the time it would have taken you to do that research to work on other areas of your business, plus you’ll have the information you need to make a more competitive widget.
I currently work with a client that will come up with an idea and he’ll send me an email or a text message with the basic idea and ask me to do some research. If it seems like it could be something that will help build his customer base, my job is to come up with a plan for marketing that idea. Whether it’s handing out flyers to customers, writing a blog post, splashing it on social media…whatever is going to be the best benefit for his company.
By handing all that over to me, he can focus on what’s ALREADY working while I come up with how to make this new idea work for him!
#7: Create a Better Customer Experience
If you’ve been running your business solo for a long time, it’s possible you may have lost touch with what the customer experience is like for someone who makes a purchase from you.
You can have your Freelance Admin audit the system and go through making test purchases. Then they can give you feedback on what the experience was like and how it could be smoother.
One of my clients has me go through his entire website monthly. My job is to click on each and every link to make sure they all still work. Any broken links can be fixed, ensuring his customers have the best buying experience. He understands that broken links will turn customers away very quickly.
This task takes me about 45 minutes…but that’s time he can focus on building a better widget!
#8: Keep Up with Industry Trends
When you have a Freelancer who has your back, you’re free to explore new industry trends. You can look around at what others are doing and analyze how your brand could do it differently or do it better.
Maybe with the time your Freelance Admin is freeing up for you, you can attend some Trade Shows and find those trends!
#9: Stay Compliant
You may also want to consider outsourcing if you struggle to stay compliant with new and expanding standards in your industry. Your Freelance Admin can research those issues, find you workshops or courses that will keep you up-to-date with the compliance issues in the Widget World!
#10: Get Your Work-Life Balance Back
Perhaps the biggest benefit of outsourcing is that it can give you back your work-life balance. Instead of worrying over whether that task got completed or what you need to focus on tomorrow while you’re at your kid’s soccer game, or dealing with client deadlines while you’re sick, you have someone to help you.
When you’re working with a Freelancer, you can focus on taking a step back when life or your health demands it. You can do this without guilt or hesitation, knowing you’ve left those tasks in the capable hands of your Freelance Admin.
The bottom line is that outsourcing can be a wonderful way to get relief from overwhelm and create more of what you want in your life – time. Don’t be afraid to consider the benefits of what it can do for you AND your business!
I’d love to hear from you – what tasks could you outsource that would benefit you and your business? Leave me a comment!
And if you’d like to know what GinAdmin can do to make your life easier, hit me up and let’s chat! Head on over to my contact page and send me a message! http://www.ginadmin.com/#contact
Welcome back to the GinAdmin Blog…I’m Gina Koran, your host and as always, I appreciate you visiting my page!
Today I want to revisit Creating New Habits!
I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution person. I’m more of a goals person, so this post will revolve around that.
As a Freelancer, I know that there are some things that other Freelancers like myself, as well as business owners and entrepreneurs would like to change in order to achieve the goals we’ve set for our business and personal lives.
And some of that revolves around creating new habits.
We’ve all wanted to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves somewhere along the way.
Maybe you want to eat healthier and drink more water. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk, which by the way…my pup INSISTS on several times a day, even in the current frigid temps!
Or it could be work related, or spiritual, or… There are just so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits.
And I get it – getting into the habit of doing something outside our norm is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.
You know the mysterious “They”? Well “They” say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Weird, to think that it doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try, it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit.
So how long does it REALLY take to create a new habit?
The “Mom” answer is that it depends.
It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change you want to make from what you are doing now. Brian Tracy has a great post about developing new habits, and in that article he explains that while 21 days is the scientific answer, the bigger the goal, the longer it may take to achieve.
According to the experts, it takes about 21 days to break or form a habit pattern of medium complexity. Habits which are more complex or difficult to incorporate with your lifestyle may take longer.
Remember, it’s different from one person to the next and even from one habit to another.
There are a couple things to keep in mind.
It’s easier to create a new habit than it is to get rid of an old one.
Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night.
Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one…if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe. And just so my friends reading this don’t pass out – giving up coffee is NOT one of my goals.
I have, however, cut back a bit on my pot and a half a day habit. I can quit whenever I want. Harharhar
Create a Vision Board
A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful.
Keep your “reason why you’re changing “Why” front and center and then be prepared to stick it out.
I am a maniac for putting pictures of my goals in front of me, even sometimes on my computer’s desktop so that I am constantly looking at it and remembering why I’m doing what I’m doing.
And yes–it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be worth it in the end.
3 STEPS TO CREATE A NEW HABIT
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. And you have to be specific–you can’t just say that you want to exercise more. Instead, make your goal something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day”.
Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it is half the battle.
For me, this is a simple one: I’m going to get up every hour and MOVE. Whether it’s to walk out and check on my husband and the dog to see what they’re doing or do a little dance to the music playing in my head.
Ok, to be fair…it’s probably going to be a trip to the coffee pot, but hey…baby steps, right?
For the first few days, it’s going to be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But after those first few days, you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits.
Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a reminder.
This is the second step: Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily task list.
And I’m with you, believe me…I get it. I’ve set my alarm to remind me to get up from my desk and move around. I turn the alarm off and tell myself I’ll just finish this one teeny, tiny, little task. And (as that famous chef says) BAM…it’s 40 minutes later and I never once moved from my chair.
How am I going to get around this? For starters, I’m setting my alarm to be the absolute, most obnoxious, hard-to-ignore noise. I can also “name” my alarm on my phone, so I’ll name it something that will remind me that if I DON’T get up and move, my cranky back and bum hip will remind me ALL NIGHT that I ignored that alarm.
If you’re not good with alarms, schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically.
My digital calendar allows me to create reminders and a task list. Maybe that will work better for you – just remember to check your list (wink).
Maybe it would be helpful to you if you add the new habit to one you already have. Let’s say you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk. Make the new ritual to go for your walk and THEN come back and enjoy your tea. Then it seems like a reward for completing that “task”.
Choose an accountability partner to help you create a new habit
I find that having an accountability partner helps me the most, and this is step 3.
When I have someone who knows what I am trying to do and will call me out on it, I tend to not want to have to say to them, No…didn’t do that today. It’s easy to tell MYSELF, but when I have to tell SOMEONE ELSE that I didn’t stick to it, I find that I push myself harder to complete a task.
Remember – It’s going to take some time before this new behavior becomes a true habit. If you miss a day, give yourself a break.
Tomorrow, maybe go for TWO walks. Making this new behavior part of your daily routine is going to help you make it a permanent habit, so set those alarms and find yourself a good accountability partner!
I’d love to hear what habit you want to create, or maybe already have…leave me a comment! I’ll cheer you on!
And if you would like to know more about how GinAdmin can help you in achieving your business goals, head on over to GinAdmin.com and find out how I can make your job easier!
Welcome to the very first Blog Post from GinAdmin! My name is Gina Koran ~ and I’ll be your host. For those who don’t know me, or maybe don’t know my background, I’ve been in some type of administrative role for, well…let’s just say a while.
I left the corporate world to be my husband’s office manager, and since then his business has become nearly 100% digital, so basically myrole is to check his messages and a couple to-do’s every morning…and that’s it.
A couple years ago, I was helping my best friend (who is so completely NOT tech-savvy) build her online presence. I was having such an absolute ball coming up with ideas and getting her digital footprint out there, that my husband suggested to me that maybe there were others out there who could use the same help.
And here I am…with my own Virtual Assistant business – and absolutely LOVING the Freelance world.
Now those of you who know me know that while I AM an introvert, I do enjoy trying new things. However, writing a blog was NEVER on my bucket list, but it’s the first step I am taking outside of my comfort zone.
I hope that I can bring you some great ideas, tips, juicy tidbits of information~after all, my tagline IS “My job is to make yours easier”.
So sit back, grab your cup of tea or coffee and enjoy. And if you have something you’d like me to share in a future post, feel free to contact me!
Ok, here we go…
When I was researching what to write about for my first post, I came across this headline from StatusBrew:`
The article was written in 2017, but I can promise you through my own research that these problems are thesame today as they were the day it was written! If you are interested in reading the entire article, you can find it here: https://statusbrew.com/insights/small-business-problems/
6 Small Business Problems Faced By Entrepreneurs
According to StatusBrew, these are the 6 areas where small businesses and entrepreneurs find they need the most help:
Lack Of Proper Marketing.
Getting And Retaining Customers.
Maintaining Online Presence.
Social Media Management Tools.
Now, I’m going to tell you that Money Management…not my area of expertise. I’m fortunate that I’m married to one who takes money management seriously and IS the expert.
However, marketing, getting customers, maintaining your online presence… those I CAN help you with… and along with that, I can help with the time management aspect. How? By freeing up your time taking care of your online presence for you!
And yes, you absolutely CAN do it all yourself, unless you’re my best friend who asked me to explain this “social media thing” to her. (sigh)
But let me ask you this. As a business owner, is it the best use of your time to sit down day after day and come up with content to post?
To decide WHICH platforms you should be posting on?
What days and times are best to post?
AND make images to go along with each post? Because images are king on social media.
What size do those images need to be?
Do me a favor – sit down and figure out how much per hour you charge for making widgets (whatever it is you do for your customers). I have a client that knows to the penny how much she gets paid per widget, per client. And when she looked at some of her administrative tasks, she was like… yeah, I can outsource that. Because she understands that her time is better spent making widgets, not sitting at her desk creating social media posts and all those things the she now leaves to me.
As a business owner, you understand that time is money. So the question is: Where are you spending your time?
Check out the information I read in “US finds exponential growth in freelancers, with no signs of stopping” from Digital Information World:
Upwork recently published its data on how the freelancing market is moving forward. The report shows that about 59 million Americans in the past 12 months provided their services as a freelancer. That represents around 1/3rd of the entire workforce of America.
What this tells us is that Business Owners KNOW that they’re having to do more with less. Has this been going on for years? Yes. However, business owners and entrepreneurs have become EVEN MORE aware of since the pandemic has increasingly pulled people out of the workforce, forcing those entrepreneurs to find other ways to get the job done.
Now, I don’t claim to have all the answers. But what I can tell you is what my clients tell me. And that is that outsourcing to freelancers has become the way to go for many of them. In addition to the time savings, look at the financial savings:
No employee-related paperwork, insurance, taxes, retirement. Freelancer pay these for themselves.
No office space or supply/equipment expenses. Freelancers already have their own.
No paying an 8-hour wage. You get the support when and as you need it.
Go back to my favor (remember you were going to figure out how much you make selling your widgets…)
Now I want you to figure out how much time you’re spending on those pesky administrative tasks…and how many more widgets you could make and sell if you had a Freelancer doing those things for you.
I promise you will find that the old adage “You have to spend money to make money” will make a LOT more sense to you!
Phew! That wasn’t so bad – at least on my end. What do YOU think? Drop me a message and let me know. And if you have ideas of other things you’d like to learn more about, let me know that, too!
And if you’d like to know what GinAdmin can do to make your life easier, hit me up and let’s talk! Head back to the homepage and send me a message! http://www.ginadmin.com/#contact