Do you wish you could streamline your schedule and increase your efficiency when working from home? Do you frequently feel like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to do?
Welcome back to GinAdmin where today, me and my sidekicks (my pupper and my always-on-hand cup of coffee) are going to share some ideas that work for me in streamlining my day to work more efficiently.
So, grab your favorite beverage and have a quick read.
As hard as it is, we must do things when we need to.
Otherwise, they don’t get done at all. Or we find ourselves having to do them when we truly don’t have the time TO do them.
Then it seems something else has to be put off.
If you’re like me, when a project has a deadline, it is important to devote all of my undivided attention to it, or it won’t get completed. Time management is a critical aspect of every job – from planning to executing.
I have found that my schedule needs to be structured to support efficiency and productivity to reach my goals.
So, if you’ve ever felt like you need to streamline your daily schedule to work more efficiently, here are some tips are for you:
Check your existing workflows and processes.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are my workflows or processes efficient?
Do certain things take too much time or space to complete?
Are there things you can do to either eliminate steps or streamline your workflow?
Assessing current workflows is essential in improving productivity.
For example, do you need to complete specific tasks in a particular order or time? If so, then building your schedule with the tasks in the order you need to complete them will help you work more efficiently.
If you don’t need to do certain activities in the order you listed them, simply reorder them to streamline your work.
I do this with each task. At the end of every day, I review my current projects and list the priorities for the next day to keep me on track and complete those projects on time.
Rank your processes.
Once you know your current workflows, you can rank them in terms of both the amount of time they take to complete and the extent to which they streamline your typical workflow.
I recommend using a scale of 1 to 5, depending on how time-consuming a process is and how much it changes your routine.
If it takes less than five minutes, you can probably combine it with another task in your workflow.
Turn off your notifications.
Notifications in apps can be great when you want to receive a notice for something important, but when you’re working tasks, they are simply distractions.
Turn off your notifications and focus only on the task at hand so that you don’t end up losing focus.
The truth is, most notifications can wait.
I put news alerts and messages on hold until later and read them as a reward for finishing my tasks. Then I can sit back with my favorite mug and read them without feeling guilty for taking time away from my important tasks.
Tackle the hard stuff first.
If you are trying to jam in as many tasks as you can, chances are you’re not getting much, if anything done.
Or, you might even be the opposite; you’re spending more of your limited time on busywork that you don’t need to do. To help become more productive, I find that it helps to focus on one task at a time and work on that task until I complete it.
If I find myself multitasking, I try focusing instead for a single 30-minute period, taking a quick break (probably grab another cup of coffee) and get back at it. I talked about multitasking before – you can read that here: How to be more productive this week.
Trying to work on more than one task at a time can cause procrastination, which is a whole new level of anxiety. I will take the time to organize my tasks in order of priority so that the most important projects have the first slot in my schedule.
For instance, I tend to procrastinate on tasks that involve creative work, such as writing, brainstorming, and generating ideas. I find that setting aside 15 minutes a day to write helps me make more progress on that task.
Another trick I use is that I do the things I like to do the least first. Otherwise, I’m just dreading that task while I’m doing other things.
Do your work near an excellent natural source of light.
A good source of light not only helps you see better, but it also helps you work better. This tip is handy if you work from home.
Those of us who work from home can become dependent on artificial light, leading to eye strain and fatigue. Working in a well-lit area and taking regular breaks away from your desk helps with this.
Watch your natural lighting, though. I have windows behind and next to me. When I’m going to be on a video call, I have to close the blinds and the curtains on those windows, otherwise the lighting is terrible!
And while some days my cup and I aren’t looking our best, the person on the other end of the video wants to see you as you’re talking to them!
Streamlining your schedule and increasing your efficiency will help you focus on what is important throughout the day. Try to limit the number of distractions you have around you.
Now, remember that you might not need to make a complete overhaul of your schedule. Many times, you can make small changes to greatly improve your overall productivity.
One of the best ways to improve your efficiency…you guessed it! Work with a Freelance Admin. We can help you assess and restructure your processes where needed, structure your schedule, and overall make your life easier!
If you try any of these tips, leave me a comment below and let me know how that works out for you. Or if you have other ideas, feel free to share!
And, of course, if you would like to learn more about how a Freelance Admin can help, contact me ~ we can chat over a cup of…yep, coffee, or whatever you beverage of choice is!
Changing your mindset can help you grow both personally and professionally in achieving your goals.
But do you know what is the number one factor that determines whether or not someone succeeds at achieving a goal?
Is it genetics? Luck? What about skills or natural talent? Hard work has to be in there somewhere, right?
All of these factors are important, some more so than others, but none hold the number one spot.
So, what is number one?
If you guessed mindset, you are right. Mindset is a better predictor of future success than every other factor you can consider, including working hard and natural talent.
Welcome back to GinAdmin. My name is Gina Koran and I, along with my trusty sidekicks (a.k.a. my cup of joe and my pup) will be your host into this journey of changing your mindset to help you grow both personally and professionally, and achieving your goals.
What is a Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is where you believe in change and improvement.
You believe that your skills and talents can be improved through hard work, practice, and dedication.
You embrace challenges.
People with a growth mindset set challenges as learning and growth opportunities rather than obstacles standing in their way.
They don’t get easily frustrated by failures and roadblocks; they believe these things are to be expected and are a sign that they need to adjust and try again.
I never see failure as failure, but only as a learning experience.
The success of other people is inspiring to people with a growth mindset. They try to figure out how the other person succeeded and how to imitate them. This increases their own odds of success
You’ve heard the old adage “A leopard cannot change its spots”. Well, yes. But you are not a leopard, you are a human being. And we, as humans CAN change our spots!
Mindset is Changeable
Don’t buy into the myth that mindset is static. Not only CAN it change, but it DOES change throughout your life, whether or not you purposely try to change it.
So if your mindset is changing anyway, why not guide these changes and help them along so that you can grow into the best possible version of yourself?
Now, you’re probably asking yourself “HOW can I make these changes?”.
Well guess what…I have some tips. These tips are actually some habits you can create to help you change your mindset into one of growth!
Changing your mindset takes time and work. There’s no magic that will let you do it overnight.
And, of course, you don’t want to do ALL of these!
Pick the ones you think you can do easily and start there. You can always come back later and start on a new one!
So here we go…
Create a morning ritual to get your day off to a good start.
What makes you feel best in the mornings?
What can you do to set yourself up for success every day?
Maybe it is journaling over a cup of coffee or going for a morning run.
Maybe it is taking a few minutes to meditate or stretch before you get in the shower.
It might even be something as simple as making your bed before you leave for work.
Figure out a ritual that works for you and prioritize doing it every day.
If you have been with me for a while, you know that running…yeah, probably not going to happen.
But as the weather gets warmer, I will start going walkabout with the pupper. (AND my cup of coffee!). This gets my blood flowing and sets me up for a good day of good old-fashioned work!
Reflect on your day.
Every night before you go to bed, take a moment to reflect on your day.
What went right?
What didn’t and how can you make it go right tomorrow?
Did you get done what you wanted to do? Why or why not?
What can you do to make sure tomorrow goes well?
I mentioned in a previous article that my best tool is my very colorful calendar.
Every morning before I start my day, I look over my calendar and have a snapshot of what I need to accomplish.
This also helps clear my brain most nights so that I can rest knowing that tomorrow is already laid out for me.
Okay, sure you can pass on that busy work to your Freelancer. But typically, Freelancers have such a wide knowledge base that you will find that, again you can also pass on other, bigger tasks to your Freelance Admin to put some time back into your schedule!
I’m sensing a trend here! (wink)
Freelancers aren’t skilled, otherwise they’d be working a “job” for a big company
Most Freelance Admins come from some type of “corporate” background.
Having been a corporate admin for (way too) many years, I can tell you that having a “job” for a big company is not so much something I want to go back to. I find much more satisfaction in working independently with companies I choose to work with, especially small business owners.
Why small business owners? Thanks for asking! I love working with small business owners because they are still intimately involved in the daily running of their business. They are still in the trenches, so to speak. They are still passionate about their business.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound as if I am speaking poorly of large corporations. It’s just that having been in that world, I simply and personally enjoy and prefer working with small business owners.
On the skill side, Freelancing is so popular right now and there are so many places for Freelancers to gain knowledge that this is a big pile of myth nonsense. Plus, there are so many online communities for Freelancers, that the knowledge-base we have to draw on is truly impressive.
Freelancers lack true work ethic
The majority of the Freelancers I personally know work more hours every week than your average employee.
This comes not only from the fact that we take great pride in our work, but very likely – you are not our ONLY client, so we have to schedule our time to make sure we finish the work we’re given.
Plus, we know that if we don’t do the work we’re contracted to do, we can lose that contract. And that’s just bad business.
And because we ourselves are business owners, we tend to put forth the effort it takes to keep the trust of those who have hired us!
Freelancers aren’t employees, so they have no commitment/loyalty to the company
Again, those Freelancers I know take great pride in working with the business owners who put their trust in them to get the job done.
So I simply call hogwash on that myth.
Companies that encourage the use of freelancers will benefit from the increased access to skilled talent and more workforce flexibility, while those that ignore freelancers will inevitably fall behind.
As a small business owner, I can’t afford to hire a freelancer
This is probably one of the things I hear most from small business owners that I talk to. And yes, when you are first starting out on your business-ownership journey, hiring ANYONE can feel like a huge expense.
There are three major points I share with the small business owners that I approach about working with me.
First, you cannot do all of the things all of the time over a long period of time. You will burn yourself out and start to resent the very business you started. I have watched this happen to many small business owners.
And as a Freelancer, it is painful for me to see this happen when I KNOW I can help them. It is especially painful when they have previously said “No, thanks” when I offered my services.
The second point I make is that by hiring someone to do the background work, it frees them up to focus on building their business. Which is the goal, right? You want to BUILD.
Which feeds into my third point, and that is that once you have built your business with a solid foundation, eventually you’re going to need to hire SOMEONE. That someone is going to require benefits, supplies, office space, breaks, vacation time. All the things that go along with hiring employees.
Plus, that employee will not have first-hand knowledge of the background of your business.
When you hire a Freelance Admin, you are strictly paying for the work they are doing for you, so no benefits, etc. And by working with them when you are starting out, they have first-hand, working knowledge of how you want things done! There is no learning-curve by having to hire an admin later and take the time to walk them through every step.
So when a small business owner tells me they cannot afford to hire a Freelance Admin, my question is: Can you really afford NOT to work with me?
And there you have it. One woman’s opinion on the 6 biggest myths of working with a Freelance Admin.
As always, thanks for stopping by! And I would love to hear from you – the good, the bad, the ugly – so feel free to leave me a comment below. Or pop on over to www.ginadmin.com/contact and schedule a time for a chat!
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