Proven Ways to Reduce Distractions that You Need to Know

In a world full of people with fast-paced lifestyles, distractions are on the rise. In fact, it has been rampant in different types of industries, and it potentially decreases productivity levels by a hundredfold if not timely and accurately addressed. Fortunately, distractions can be minimized, if not completely obliterated. Find out more in this article about how to reduce distractions.

Prioritize the tasks at hand.

Contrary to popular belief, you should not only list down things you need to accomplish but also take note of things you should not do while you are working or trying to finish tasks. This is important because listing down things that you should avoid while working will help you set boundaries for those things that take time away from your work productivity. In effect, this will help you get things done much faster.

Divide the work into smaller chunks.

For instance, if you are required to arrange ten large boxes of office supplies and eventually stack them neatly on top of the other within the week, doing it in one go may be really exhausting for you. For some people, just thinking about this task will be really tiring. Worse, they may abandon the task altogether. To help prevent this, you may break down the task in such a way that you will only be required to work on one or two boxes per day. Just make sure that everyday, you work on a small part of the larger task to get things done in time.

Do the tasks when other people are not available.

Take note of your quieter times when no one is around to interfere. Usually, early morning is the best time for productivity because few people are up at that hour. In essence, opt to do the opposite of what other people are doing. Therefore, if most of your companions are up and about by around 7 in the morning, make sure to start working on your most important tasks by around 5 in the morning. Also, assess the times when the distractions are least present. Check out what times during the day are mostly quiet for you, as well. This is proven more effective than conforming to preset working hours.

Learn to say no.

It’s alright for you to decline the demands of other people around you. This is especially important if your tasks are crucial at the time and their requests are not. By doing so, you can save time. You may use this extra time to focus more on things you need to do. Also, their reaction when you say no can tell you how important you are to them as a person. If you feel bad about saying no, perhaps you can make a compromise to help them once you are finished with what you need to do.

Only set two or three tasks at a time.

If you have to do at least 10 tasks in a day, you may have a hard time doing that within a day. To help deter distractions, have two or three tasks lined up for the day. Make sure these are the most important tasks you need to finish.

In this context, you can prioritize your tasks using these two main guidelines:

1. Urgency
Segregate your tasks according to its need to be finished as soon as possible. Needless to say, if the due date is within the day or anytime within the week, list that down as a priority.

2. Expertise
There may be some tasks that you find difficult to work on and asking for help is not a bad idea. This provides the opportunity to enlist the help of a virtual assistant. Delegate your tasks and be more productive while accumulating more free time.

Hiring a virtual assistant can help you save time because you don’t have to figure out concepts that are confusing for you. Instead, you can look for an expert who doesn’t have a hard time working through your current hurdle.

In some instances, even one task for the entire day is fine as long as you see it through. By doing so, this can not only help you be productive throughout the day but will also bring about the great feeling of accomplishment once you finish the task.

If you do not understand a certain task, skip it for now.

In case there is an important part of the task that you do not understand, just leave it be for the moment then just come back to it once some of your other tasks have been completed. As much as possible, complete things you can do without any problems. Aside from helping you work faster, this will ensure you can maintain a certain level of momentum which will assist in helping you to move forward onto other tasks.

If you need to have these tasks done as soon as possible, consider getting help from experts, such as VAs. Not only can they help you save a lot of time, but they can also contribute to better output because they know their craft well.

Use your learning style to your advantage.

For visual learners, consider using sketches and colorful lists of tasks to help monitor the progress. Creating a systematically colored checklist may also provide the same benefit. If you are an aural learner, check out audio books about the topics that you have to study to. This will help you learn the material easily and ace your examination without being too hard on yourself.

If you need to take a break, only go for active breaks.

This can work even with incomplete tasks. This is important and is closely related to how you can keep your momentum up while working. When you subject yourself to active rest, you are not working on the tasks at hand. However, this will shift your mind to something related to it. One example is reading one current-event article while on a study break. You are still reading, but you are temporarily keeping your mind off the lessons that you are studying.

It is perfectly understandable if you cannot readily perfect the art of shutting out distractions. However, this should not make you want to slack off more, either! In using these techniques, just take one baby step at a time. You do not have to rush things, just remember to be consistent in applying the tips.

 

4 Amazing Exercises to Boost Productivity

When you exercise, you spend a part of your time each day to complete the routines. Based on this premise, you’ll spend time doing other activities that should be allotted for your work to boost productivity. That seems counterproductive, right?

 

Wrong. Studies show that when you exercise regularly your mind becomes sharper and your mood significantly improves. The blood flow to your brain increases, thus improving its efficiency. These, in turn, help boost your productivity by at least 20% more. The World Health Organization recommends exercising at least 30 minutes in a day. You may set one 30-minute session or break it down into smaller chunks throughout the course of the day.

Except for breathing exercises, activities should be a bit difficult than what you’re typically used to (breathing exercises focus more on rhythm, so, this is not applicable in this case). Also, your heartbeat should be slightly elevated when doing these activities.

One easy way to know if you’re exercising hard enough is using the “talk and sing test” which includes the following:

  • If you can exercise while talking or singing that means the exercise is too easy for you. In this case, you need to speed things up or make the weights heavier.
  • If you can exercise while talking but can’t do it while singing that means the exercise intensity is just about right for you.
  • If you can neither sing nor talk that means you’re working out too hard. You need to slow down a bit or lift slightly lessen your weight load.

1. Breathing Exercises

This is the foundation for all the other exercises that you will perform. Therefore, you need to master how to do this. This can help boost productivity by encouraging your body to supply more oxygen to your brain. Remember, oxygen is a precious commodity for your brain. Low supplies of oxygen can make you feel sluggish and lethargic, thus decreasing your chances to perform better at work. Examples for breathing exercises may include:

  • The 4-7-8 breathing pattern: This is an activity that you can do each time you feel stressed out. Sit on a chair with your back straight. Place your tongue against the upper palate, specifically, where your upper incisors meet your gums. Rest your tongue against that area for the entire activity. Quietly inhale through your nose, count up to four, hold your breath for seven counts, exhale through your mouth for eight counts, and then make a whooshing sound while you’re at it. Do this slowly so as not to constrict your airway. Do this three or four more times.
  • Breathing with meditation and/or mindfulness: This is a bit similar to the 4-7-8 breathing activity. The main difference is that this has progressions. For this exercise, you need to sit upright or lie down first. Closing your eyes can help you avoid distractions so you can focus more on the breathing pattern. Perform the 4-7-8 pattern for 15 minutes. When you’ve mastered breathing while sitting or lying down, progress to meditating with your eyes open, then while walking, then while doing your usual chores.

2. Strengthening Exercises (resistance exercises)

These can help bulk up your muscles. It can help improve your productivity levels by increasing the rates of pumping blood around the body. This is especially evident in the calf muscles. Aside from that, this can help correct postural problems and eventually get rid of pain and discomfort due to poor posture. You can do these exercises 3-5 times a week. Start off with 2 sets of 10 repetitions each. These exercises may include:

  • Lower back: Bridges are good exercises to begin with.
  • Abdomen: Fortunately, crunches are not the only way to go (these are good exercises, though!). Other variations are double leg lifts and planks.
  • Hips: Single leg lift exercise is a good start. Progress this by incorporating ankle weights.
  • Shoulders: Dumbbells or kettlebells are your friends.

3. Aerobic Exercises

This type of exercise mainly focuses on the cardiovascular system. Thus, it can help promote better blood circulation while improving your tolerance for prolonged physical work. If your work becomes easier for you physically, it helps you accomplish more chores without getting tired easily. You can do these exercises 4-6 times a week. Go for a minimum of 15-20 minutes and progress until you reach one hour. Aerobic exercise may include:

  • Walking: No, your usual walking will not normally cut it. If you’re just starting out with this entire exercise thing, you can prolong your walking time. When you get used to that, switch to brisk walking.
  • Running: Heck, you can even do continuous training so you can take part in marathons.
  • Swimming: If possible, make sure the water is a bit warm when you exercise.
  • Dancing: May it be video game dancing or some classic dance classes, get your groove on. Jamming with friends is highly recommended!

4. Flexibility Exercises

Most of the activities under this exercise type aim to improve the range of motion of your muscles and joints. This also helps relieve tension in different muscle groups. As a result, it reduces your stress levels. You can do these exercises 5-6 times a week. Start off with 3 repetitions with a 30-second hold of each muscle group.

  • Abdominal stretches: Get in a prone position. Prop your arms up and hold the position for 30 seconds. This is equivalent to one repetition.
  • Lower back stretches: While in a long sitting position with your back straight, stretch out your arms in front of you and reach for your toes.
  • Shoulder stretches: Sit up straight and place one arm behind you. Using your other hand, tilt your head to the opposite direction until you feel a stretching sensation at the side of your neck.

It’s best to perform these exercises alternatively for two good reasons: First, this can help your major muscle groups take a break while other muscles are worked out for a specific day; and, second, this will prevent boredom. The latter is more important because this will tell if you’ll be in it for the long haul. If all else fails, be accountable to someone else (i.e., trusted friend, gym buddies, close family member) so you’ll adhere to your routines more efficiently.

Boost Productivity for Your Dedicated Assistant by Setting Your Schedule Right

If you have a lot of major tasks laid out for the entire day it can really be overwhelming especially if those tasks need to be done within the day. In some instances, you may even find it hard to get started. One way to help counteract this problem is to set up a routine for you and your dedicated assistant. This routine, when carefully planned out, can provide much-needed structure. This, in turn, can lead to systematic completion of tasks without stressing you out so much. Read on to know how you can implement proper scheduling in your routine.

Determine the number of working hours.

As much as possible, allot the average number of hours that you work in a typical day for the scheduling. Include meetings and calls in your total computation. If possible, make these activities short and sweet. Going for this approach helps everyone get to the point because of the limited time. This eventually helps you save more time.

Decide on your working approach.

When you set blocks of time for the tasks, try to set them in 30-minute intervals. During this period, make sure that you will only focus on the task set out before you. After this period, allot 5 to 10 minutes for a break in between tasks. After two hours of working on a large task, take a longer break that lasts for 15 to 30 minutes. By using this technique, you can stay productive without taking a toll on your body.

A word of caution though: If you intend to approach your tasks using this technique, make sure that the time slot where you will place the task will indeed be uninterrupted. This is a technique that does not allow you to pause in between and just return when you feel like it. If you do this, it defeats the purpose of this approach.

If you are not a fan of this technique, you may also go for a 90-minute interval work period. In this approach, you will be asked to work for 90 minutes with minimal to no interruptions. After that, you may rest for about 20 to 30 minutes. The intense work session during the 90-minute duration is set at that length to ensure a good attention span. If you try to extend the working period beyond this, your productivity levels will most likely go down.

List the tasks that you need to complete for the week.

At this point, you don’t have to think about priorities and sequencing. Just go ahead and list your tasks as they occur in your mind. After listing them, place them in clusters. There isn’t a hard and fast rule on clustering. Just make sure that you group them according to how you will work on them and how urgent these tasks are. For instance, you may group them according to the nature of the tasks. E-mails and correspondence go together, meetings and phone calls can be clustered, and so on.

Block out specific times of the day for specific tasks.

Plan each day at least one day in advance and assign specific hours to certain tasks. There are two main types of time blocks.

  • Reactive time blocks are those that you can allocate for tasks that may be interrupted. Some tasks that may be placed under this category include spontaneous meetings and answering automated e-mails.
  • On the other hand, proactive blocks are used to pave way for important tasks that may not be interrupted. Some tasks under this group include creating a business model and drafting important documents.

Be accountable for the time you spend on each activity.

If you are having a hard time keeping track of the time you spend on each task, have someone else help you do this. Tell them of your intent to boost your productivity while keeping tabs of the time you are supposed to spend on each activity. You may even go as far as to report your progress to this person.

Dedicated Assistant Tip: Include personal time in the your of priorities.

Now that you have plotted your average working time for the week, the rest of the time for that week should be spent on your personal life. Unlike your working schedule, you don’t have to go for rigid structure. Just allot a personal activity for each day or block out one or two days in a week and you are good to go.

Take note that when you set up a routine, you need to be consistent with what you planned out. At the same time, you need to be ready for urgent events that may spontaneously arise during the day. Aside from the tasks that you need to complete within the day, you should not forget to incorporate some rest periods in between demanding activities. That way, you will not burn out. Remember, you are following a routine, so expect that most days are structured according to your planned schedule. In the end, your schedule might as well be an enjoyable one.

Make the Most Out of Your Vacation Through Personal Assistant Services

Traveling can help you get some much-needed fresh air and disconnect from the daily hustle. When planning for a trip, using an application alone may not cut it. A better choice is to seek the help of experts who specialize in personal assistant services. These people know their way around booking trips and taking care of similar tasks. In cases like this, enlisting the help of a virtual assistant is one of the best ways to go.

 

What are the benefits of getting personal assistant services for vacation planning?

While you prepare for your vacation, let your VA do the research. Some tools that you can use for planning include Google Flights and Expedia. Here are just some benefits that you may reap if you decide to get some VA help:

  • They can keep you updated with business matters even if you are away.
  • Virtual assistants can assist you with the logistics of your trip to include booking tickets, planning out the itinerary, taking care of luggage check-ins, and knowing the basic facts on how to get around not only the airport but the general vicinity.
  • While you are on your vacation, your VA can also help take care of your tasks.
  • You may also enjoy a stress-free experience after your trip.
  • If you are still a student and you just need to plan out your trip for an upcoming break, a VA can help you maximize your relaxation time while worrying less about how you should take care of the technical arrangements for your trip. Some of these arrangements include booking a hotel and looking for a company that offers great vacation packages without breaking the bank.

How do I get started with planning my vacation?

If possible, inform your assistant at least one month before you plan to travel for your vacation. For major events like weddings and birthdays, a notice period of 60 to 90 days is reasonable, as well. This will not only physically prepare them for the tasks but will also serve as a thoughtful gesture on how you value their time as you do yours. Spend this time discussing the tasks that need to be completed and train them, if needed.

Set some “rules” before you head off.

This will mostly revolve around how you will communicate with your VA while you are on vacation. Would you prefer purely no communication or some correspondence throughout the day? In setting up the communication rules, consider the following:

  • How many days do you intend to be away?
  • Is your itinerary filled to the brim or do you have a lot of room to take it easy?
  • Are you comfortable taking care of business matters while you are away?

If you intend to be away from work for more than three days, consider communicating with your VA at least once every two days. This will somehow give you a hint on how things are going and how you will deal with them for the meantime and once you get back. In case you are expecting more pressing issues to surface while you are on vacation, increase the communication to at least once per day.

Prioritize your tasks.

Do this before and during the notice period that you gave your VA. This way, the tasks will not be compromised even if you are not available.

  • List all of your tasks. In this context, just list the tasks that you are supposed to do during your absence. It does not even matter if you will delegate the task or not. Just jot down whatever comes to mind then take care of these during the next few steps of prioritizing.
  • Distinguish the urgent from the important tasks. Urgent means that the task should be done as soon as possible. On the other hand, the important tasks are those that need to be completed but can still wait. Next, you should inform your VA to complete the urgent tasks as soon as possible. For the important ones, set a due date for each task and plot them in your business calendar accordingly.
  • There is a chance that not everything on the list will be accomplished. In this case, sequence the tasks in the “important list” according to the due date. If you have other ways to determine which of these tasks should come first, this is the part where you can implement them.

Delegate your tasks.

Instead of checking your e-mails while you are away, you can readily delegate this task to your VA. The VA, in turn, can check your e-mails at least once a day and notify you if something urgent comes up. Otherwise, you may instruct them to just take care of the matter on your behalf.

You do not even have to allocate all the tasks to them, just the tasks that you are comfortable assigning to other people. This way, you can save more time while maintaining a certain level of productivity for your business.

Ask for notes of events that transpired while you were away.

To achieve this, ask your VA to create a database for you where you can check the details of the follow-ups and concerns that you may have missed while you are away.

In general, travel arrangements are not easy to accomplish, especially if you have little experience with tasks such as these. Aside from helping you save a lot of headaches in the process of making travel arrangements, hiring a virtual assistant to do the tasks can help you save a lot of time. In turn, you may use the extra time to take care of other tasks that you cannot readily delegate. You may also use this time to recharge or prepare for your vacation ahead.

7 Tips on How to Keep Work Off and Enjoy Days Off

Fashion photograph designed by Jcomp – Freepik.comHaving a day off from work should mean exactly that. A day far from normal working day schedule and should be very different from other days of weekdays. Unfortunately, with persistent bad habits and technology, it has been a challenge for most people to enjoy days off from work. Numerous individuals have not mastered the art of having fun and letting go off work during these important days. From time to time, you get some days off and it is during this time that you should rejuvenate and re-energize. To others, days off seem like working days continuation due to their normal routines. However, to some, days are spoilt by calls from work to come and assist. This is your day off, the day’s routine should also change. Below are some useful tips on how to enjoy days off. You will also be enlightened o how to step in for urgent tasks during your days off without really stepping in. Here you go.

7. Keep off from normal day schedule

When it is your day off, your daily routine should change. For example, do not be up too early. This is your day to relax and if possible, take your breakfast in bed. It should be a unique day where everything is different from a normal day. If you carry out activities as usual, you will not embrace or appreciate the day. This is the day where you should refresh yourself, treat yourself and do some offbeat. You should, therefore, be creative in order to ensure that your days off are special and thoroughly enjoyed.

6. Take your time

During normal working days, everything is rushed and done in a hurry. This is to meet deadlines among other things. This is now the world of technology and information and for this reason, demands are higher. Hence, productivity requires more efficiency. This translates to workers working at faster rates than it has ever been done. If you handle tasks slowly, you become less competitive and you risk getting sacked anytime someone potential shows up for your role. This is why it is important to handle things slowly when the time allows. During your days off, do not do things the way you do them. Days off are days to be more relaxed and calm enjoying and appreciating every minute that passes. Whatever you engage in during this day, whether it is shopping or treating yourself, ensure that you take your time. Give every activity ample time to enjoy days off and the experiences that come with it.

5. Hiring a virtual assistant

Being your day off does not mean someone from work cannot call you and ask you to step in for urgent assistant. This happens almost every time simply because there are those who will view days off as wasted time. These people will, therefore, assign you duties all over sudden and they cannot wait for you to come back. They need you during those days when you are free. In such a case, should you wait for urgent tasks to go beyond deadlines and lose clients? No, this is where you step in without really stepping in. You do this by hiring a virtual assistant. Virtual personal assistants will help you to handle tasks that are light. You can later attend to what needs you when you have time to do so. They ensure that urgent tasks have been attended to prevent things from going wrong when you are on your day off. However, in this case, you only need to hire the best.

4. Plan ahead

There are those few individuals who will do things well without planning. However, majority of the people lie on the other side. Those that need to have a to- do- list in order for them to carry tasks out well and in order. If you do not have a plan, you will end up doing things randomly and at the end of the day, you will be tired, having enjoyed nothing. It will be better and more helpful to have a list of things that you will engage in in order to enjoy days off.

3. Disconnect from work

It is through the PDA’S, blackberries, internet and laptops that we keep track of our working progress. These devices help us to connect to our tasks 24/7. This is very positive when it comes to productivity. However, for a day off, they will not give you a chance to keep off and refuel your creativity and energy. It is for this reason why you should avoid anything that can bring your work closer to your day off. They are the devices that will take you to work mode when you need an off mode. Anything from your job should be shut off completely if you want to enjoy days off.

2. Treat yourself

A day off should be a rewarding day. It creates perfect time to spoil yourself. Pamper yourself a little like dining at a favorite restaurant, getting a massage, little shopping and such like things. With so doing, you will not only miss your day off, but also increase the appreciation of such a day. It does not matter what treat you do to yourself, but if you associate your days off with rewards, they will be more productive. Working is fun and you might be in love with your job, but you should be in love with your off day even more.

1. Get fresh air

Unless you work outside in nature, the time employees spend in concrete buildings is astoundingly high if it were to be calculated. During your lifetime, much of your time is spent indoors and so you do not get fresh air as you ought to or as you would love to. This is perfectly the reason why a day off should be spent outside in nature. You should not necessarily be out throughout the day, but you can take a walk to the park or ride a bicycle for some change. Exposure to nature is important as this is when you get rid of anxiety and stress. This way you get to enjoy days off since they become unique and interesting. If you do your work indoors, you should not spend a day off watching TV or in front of a computer. Make a change, you do this adequately every day of the week.

The tips above are going to help you enjoy days off. They will help you make a difference between a normal working schedule and a day off. They will bring back the art of enjoying days off like you should. Relaxing, rejuvenating, and resting will bring even more productivity to your work. Days off are not wasted they might be the most important of your working days.

How Virtual Assistants can help with Christmas

christmas-design-elements_1045-315It is correct to assume that you may be thinking of hiring a virtual assistant for your office, particularly with the holiday season fast approaching. Consumers tend to always scramble to get things done right before Christmas despite the fact that they have the same number of days to prepare every year for the big holiday. As usual, business is going to be somewhat crazy for everyone, starting from last minute projects and assignments, to needing last minute favors and help.

Depending on your situation, you may be considering bringing
in additional help during the festive season, seeing that it never misses to
bring the same amount of stress and chaos each year. As a result, if you want
to maintain a steady routine, and keep your head above water, what choice do
you have other than securing extra help? However, rather than bringing in additional personnel, it may be much more beneficial for you to hire a virtual personal assistant.

A virtual personal assistant is an excellent alternative to
hiring extra staff members since they can work whenever you need them and do not have time limits. If you would like to save money when it comes to hiring costs and still get an extra pair of hands this holiday season, your best option
would be to bring on a virtual personal assistant to handle some of your tasks.

We can all agree that the holidays tend to be a busy time
for everyone, and we could all stand to benefit from some bit of help here and
there. Luckily, if you have a virtual personal assistant, you will be able to
handle a variety of tasks with their support.

The following are some of the ways on how a virtual personal
assistant can help with Christmas:

Brainstorming gift ideas and finding the best prices

For some people, gift-giving is one of the most stressful
aspects of the holiday season. You may like to hand out presents, but hate to
shop for them since you never quite know what to get for those closest to you.
Fortunately, there are literally dozens of online resources for the finding the
best Christmas gift. Providing your virtual personal assistant with a list of
the people you are shopping for and little bit of information about each one of
them will enable your VA to find some of the most thoughtful presents for
everyone on your list. After picking out each piece, you can have them compare
prices in different shops in order to find the best deals.

Arranging travel plans

If you intend to travel over the holidays, you should let your virtual personal assistant handle flight and hotel reservations. On the other hand, if you plan to stay with relatives, your VA can book you a relaxing and soothing getaway for when you get home.

Research for you year-end tax saving tips

Every year, there are certain tax strategies that you can take advantage of. The good thing is that your VA doesn’t have to be a financial guru to help you out. They can simply do the necessary research on various tax sites in order to find the best year-end tax breaks available. The truth is that investing in a virtual personal assistant could end up saving you huge chunks of money next year.

Ordering and mailing holiday cards

Christmas cards are a fun and exciting tradition that most
of us treasure. However, the time required to make and send them out can be a
quite much at times. As a result, instead of handling such tasks on your own
during the holiday season, you could send your VA some pictures and have them
come up with a couple of designs using built-in softwares such as TinyPrints or
Shutterfly. After they send in what they have, you can pick your favorite.

Take care of things in your absence

It is always a good idea to take a bit of time off over the holidays to be closer to your family and friends as you reflect on the years’ events and mentally prepare for the upcoming challenges. However, for some of us, it is not that easy to leave work behind, and this where a virtual personal assistant can prove to be quite handy. They can cover all your bases while you are away so that you can have peace of mind over the holidays.

Expressing gratitude on your behalf

While you are running around, trying to make everyone happy during the festive season, your best and most loyal customers may feel unappreciated more than usual. Since it is that time of year to give thanks and show appreciation, it is vital that you show your top clients how grateful you are for their loyalty to your brand.

You can even go an extra mile this year by hiring a virtual personal assistant who will send out Cards showing your appreciation. They can even include some kind of generous gesture like offering a discount. Such things will help to show your top customers that you are grateful for all your dealings throughout the year and would like your business relationship to continue and prosper.

Conclusion

We are on the cusp of the festive season, and you could have
schedules filling up, orders coming in, and your time being pulled in all
directions. Faced with such a situation, a virtual assistant can prove to be a
huge asset, not only for your sanity, but your bottom line during this busy
time of the year.

Also to consider…

If your virtual personal assistant has been providing you
with adequate help for most of the year, or they have added substantial value
to your life, you could consider paying them some kind of year-end bonus or
giving them some extra days off. After all, they would also like to be appreciated.
Such some small gestures can end up paying big dividends when it comes to
long-terms success and loyalty.

7 Innovative Ways to Reduce Your Stress

stress
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If you frequently feel stressed out by your commitments and environments, simply continue reading to discover 7 helpful tips on how to reduce your stress levels.

7 innovative ways to reduce stress:

1. Ensure that you’re not taking on too many commitments

If you’re looking to reduce stress at school or work, it may be worthwhile assessing your schedule to see whether you’ve bitten off more than you chew. As an example if you’re a college student who is struggling to balance a part time job with a heavy course load, you may benefit from reducing the amount of hours that you work and applying for scholarships to fund your tuition and living expenses. Whilst if you work a nine to five job and are given too much responsibility, you may want to consider talking to your boss or manager about your workload.

2. Consider hiring a virtual assistant handle some of your tasks

If there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to fulfill all of your day to day tasks you may be interested in seeking virtual assistance from a professional virtual assistant. A virtual assistance can make your life more manageable, by handling simple tasks such as sorting your emails, scheduling your appointments, typing up your college notes, sorting out your bills and making your travel arrangements for you.

Having a virtual assistant handle simple tasks, will free up your schedule, so that you have a chance to relax and socialize with your friends and family. As if you fail to take time out for yourself on a regular basis, you’ll just end up feeling over worked and stressed out.

3. Take time out to exercise on a regular basis

By visiting your local gym, swimming at the beach or taking your dog for a walk, your body will release endorphins which will leave you feeling happier and less stressed out. So if you’re feeling stressed out after a busy day at work or at school, it’s worth lacing up your trainers and heading out for a run. As an added benefit, the fitter you are, the better your body will cope with day to day stress.

4. Don’t be afraid to vent to a trusted confidante

Bottling up your feelings will only leave you feeling more overwhelmed and stressed than you already are. So if you’re struggling with coping with symptoms of stress, consider ringing a family member or a trusted friend, who’ll provide a comforting ear. Who knows, your confidante may have experienced similar feelings and may be able to give you helpful advice on how to handle the stress which you’re experiencing.

5. If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable confiding in, book an appointment with a counselor

Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be crazy in order to book an appointment with a counselor. In fact, a large percentage of individuals who visit counselors book appointments in order to simply vent their problems and decrease their stress level. If you’re still at college, your college may even offer free or inexpensive on campus counseling as part of your tuition fees.

6. Remember to reward yourself for meeting your goals

Too often when individuals achieve the goals which they have set themselves, they immediately focus on their next set of goals, without taking adequate time to congratulate themselves on a job well done. So next time you reach a goal, ensure to take a break and reward yourself. As an example, you may want to treat yourself to a weekend getaway or enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurant.

7. Take a break for social media

Whilst social media was created to add value to our lives, if you find yourself feeling stressed out by maintaining social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you may be in need from a mini break from your online life. After all, your goal should be to live a life that makes you happy, rather than projecting that you’re happy on your social media accounts.

So if you’ve noticed that you’re feeling stressed out on a regular basis, don’t feel too disheartened as by taking small actions, you’ll be able to reduce your stress levels, in no time. As an example, you may be surprised at how much stress you can off load by hiring a virtual assistant or how great you can feel after a run around your neighborhood.

 

Top 7 Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Improve Your Life

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your day to day schedule and would love to have more free time up your sleeve, you may want to seriously consider hiring a virtual assistant. How can hiring a virtual assistant, transform your life? By delegating personal tasks and basic business tasks to a competent virtual assistant, you’ll free up time to work on taking your business to the next level and will have more time to spend with your friends and family.

If you’re curious about the types of tasks which can be outsourced to a virtual assistant, simply continue reading to discover a variety of examples.

Examples of personal tasks and basic business tasks which can be handled by a virtual assistant:

1. Email management

If you receive dozens of emails per day, a virtual assistant can manage your inbox and can highlight important emails which you should address as soon as possible. A virtual assistant may also be able to prioritize personal emails that you receive from family members, so that they don’t get lost amongst your emails.

A virtual assistant may also be able to unsubscribe you from any email lists, that you’re no longer interested in receiving emails from. As there is nothing worse than logging into your email account and being confronted with dozens of promotional emails, from companies that you’ve only shopped with once or twice.

2. Social media management

If your business has a social media presence on websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, a virtual assistant may be able to run your business’s accounts. As an example, a virtual assistant acting as a social media manager, can engage with your customers, run competitions and put up posts on behalf of your company.

You may also be tempted to hire a virtual assistant to act as your social media manager, if you’re running an international business and would like posts to be placed on your accounts around the clock. After all, you already have enough on your plate without having to worry about placing posts on Facebook and Twitter, in the middle of the night.

3. Research tasks

Virtual assistants can also be hired to conduct research on your behalf. As an example, virtual assistants can assist you with personal tasks such as finding the lowest price, on a gift for a loved one. Alternatively, virtual assistants can also help you out with business related research tasks such as finding a suitable restaurant for a business meeting or arranging transportation to and from meetings.

As an example, if you’re flying out of town for a business trip, a virtual assistant can assure that their is a shuttle or taxi cab waiting for you when you get off your flight. Better yet, a virtual assistant may also be able to find a hotel or resort, which meets all of your specifications. As an example, if you require your chosen hotel to be located within a ten minute drive of a specific conference facility, a virtual assistant can send you a list of hotels which suit.

4. Appointment management

A virtual assistant can contact clients or employees on your behalf, in order to arrange meetings that suit each individual involved. Better yet, your virtual assistant can also program your appointments into your calendar, so that you’ll be alerted about each meeting, on the day of each meeting. If for some reason you need to reschedule an appointment, a virtual assistant can also contact those involved, in order to make alternative arrangements.

5. Personal shopping

If you lead a busy life, you may be able to free up some well needed extra time by delegating menial shopping tasks to a virtual assistant. As an example, if your preferred grocery store offers an online delivery service your virtual assistant may be able to manage your orders and if necessary add items to your shopping list, on a week to week basis. As an example, if you’re planning a social get together, a virtual assistant can ensure that you’ve ordered enough food and drink to cater for everyone on your guest list.

As an alternative example, a virtual assistant can also watch your saved auctions on Ebay and can scour the internet to see whether your favorite pair of jeans are still for sale.

6. Family related tasks

Whether you need to find a reputable babysitter in a hurry or need to find a venue for your child’s birthday party, a professional virtual assistant, will be able to assist you with your family related tasks. As an example, if you need to find a new dentist for your family, a virtual assistant can research all the dental practices in your vicinity, to find out which practices have the highest reviews. Once you choose a dental practice, your virtual assistant can also handle your family’s dental bookings.

As an alternative example, if you don’t have the time to keep your house looking pristine, a virtual assistant may also be able to hire a cleaning company for you. Best of all, a virtual assistant can check potential cleaning companies references, before making a booking, as you need to be able to trust a cleaning company, before inviting their staff into your home.

7. Proofreading tasks

If you’d appreciate a second pair of eyes, in order to proof read an important document, a virtual assistant will be able to help you by carefully proofreading your document. Better yet, your virtual assistant may be able to help you with editing your document. So if you assumed that you’d have to hire a professional editor, in order to proofread a document or marketing material, think again. Most virtual assistants have a tertiary level education and have plenty of experience proofreading documents.

So if you find yourself overworked and stressed out and wish that you had more free time to spend with your family and friends, it’s certainly well worth considering hiring a virtual assistant on a trial basis. Just a word of warning, once you discover how hiring a virtual assistant can transform your life, you’ll never want to go without a virtual assistant again and may come to see a virtual assistant as a necessity not a luxury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Break: How to Take the Stress out of Planning your Spring Break

Image by skitter photo
Image by skitter photo

If you’re looking forward to celebrating your spring break by travelling to an exotic destination which boasts an endless array of white sand beaches but are a little overwhelmed by the prospect of organizing your dream spring break trip, continue reading to discover six tips which have been designed to make travel planning a breeze.

 

 

Six tips on planning your dream spring break:

1. Remember that the longer you stay, the cheaper your accommodation is likely to be

Whether you plan on staying at a luxurious five star beach resort, or you’re looking to rent an apartment, if you have time up your sleeve it’s well worth considering vacationing for a few weeks as most hotels, resorts and apartments offer highly discounted rates for customers who are booking an extended vacation.

2. Research each of the destinations on your short list thoroughly 

By researching each of the destinations which have made your short list, you’ll be more likely to find a destination that suits the style of spring vacation that you’re looking for. As an example, if you’re a student whose looking forward to beach parties and pool parties, visiting Cancun, which is known for it’s legendary parties may be a great idea.

Whilst if you’re looking to plan a family friendly, spring break vacation you may prefer visiting Puerto Vallarta, which has a more laid back vibe. Also consider whether you’d prefer to visit a location where English is the official language such as Oahu or Maui in Hawaii, or whether you’d prefer to test out your high school Spanish in a location such as Cancun or San Jose.

If you have a busy schedule leading up to spring break you may want to consider getting a virtual assistant to help you research travel destinations.

3. Consider seeking virtual assistance 

If you’re short on time but want to ensure that you’re getting the best deals possible it’s well worth hiring a virtual assistant to organize your spring break for you. A virtual assistant can take care of a variety of tasks, as an example your assistant can browse hundreds of resort reviews on websites such as Tripadvisor, to ensure that you book accommodation at a resort which boasts exceptional service and a wide array of amenities and facilities. As another example, a virtual assistant can search the websites of multiple airlines in order to find the best available deal, on your specified travel dates.

Other tasks which a virtual assistant can take care of include organizing shuttle transportation from the airport to your hotel or resort and booking tours, attractions and activities that you may be interested in, in advance of your vacation. So once you embark on your vacation, you won’t have to worry about organizing an itinerary.

4. Book your spring break well in advance

Many airlines, resorts and hotels offer unbeatable deals for early birds who book their vacation in advance. So if you’d like your vacation budget to stretch a little further, it’s definitely worth booking your flights and accommodation well in advance. Remember that it’s also worth booking your vacation in advance as spring break is a high peak travel season, so the longer you wait the higher room prices are likely to be and as many spring breaks are extremely popular, accommodation may sell out at certain resorts and hotels.

5. If you’re on a budget consider sharing a room with friends or family members

If you’re on a strict budget, why not book a twin room and split your accommodation costs with a friend or family member? Remember, that if you’re on spring break you’re likely to spend the bulk of your time exploring your destination, so you’re unlikely to spend much time in your hotel room anyway!

6. Make sure that you have an up to date passport

What’s more important than a new bathing suit and your smart phone? Your passport! Even if you’re sure that your passport is lying around somewhere, it’s well worth checking the expiration date of your passport as many countries require your passport to be valid six months after you return home.

So if you’re in the process of planning your next spring break, simply follow the six tips listed above and you’ll have your spring break planned in no time! Also take our advice and hire a virtual assistant, as they make travel planning a breeze!

Increase Productivity While Working From Home

Increase Productivity While Working From Home

When running a home business, you have to deal with all kinds of tasks constantly. Because of this burden, things can begin to feel overwhelming. Thankfully, there are many awesome activities you can do to break up the monotony and frustrating menial tasks you are faced with every day. To help you begin leading a more successful and happy home work life, try out these four awesome tips to increasing productivity while working from home:

1. Take Frequent Breaks
Overworking yourself may seem noble or like it will make you more successful, but it actually does more harm than good. When you fail to take frequent small breaks, your brain becomes exhausted, and your ability to focus on task effectively diminishes. Working that 30 minutes extra a day is not worth having your overall work quality fall.

2. Exercise Your Mind and Body
One of the best things you can do during breaks are small mind and body exercise. Whether you attempt yoga, a quick run, or a small relaxing nap, these sorts of body boosting techniques can help your mind become sharply focused. If you want to lead a more relaxing and successful work life, finding what mind and body boosting exercises fit your lifestyle can provide a huge boost.

3. Find Time for Social Interaction
Keeping yourself kept up in your home office day after day can have negative mental effects. Getting out there and doing business face to face when possible cannot only increase your business’s reputation, but will help your overall mood skyrocket. Nobody wants to be strapped to a chair for the entire work day, and doing so is terrible for your mental health, so start planning things you can do to make your work day a bit more social.

4. Hire a Virtual Assistant
To free up time during your workday, and get rid of the time you waste every day on menial tasks, hiring a virtual assistant is highly recommended. By hiring one assistant to help you with day-to-day work tasks, you will be able to expand the breadth of your business goals.
For quality virtual assistant services, you need go no further than OkayRelax. Their virtual assistant services pair you with a personal VA to help you lead a more successful and relaxing home work life. From administrative tasks to making dinner reservations for a well deserved after work break, your assistant will help you lead a more fulfilling life.
Here are just a few of the amazing tasks that your OkayRelax virtual assistant will help you handle:

-Time Consuming Research: Need a topic thoroughly researched, but don’t have the time to scroll through Google through hours on end? Let an OkayRelax virtual assistant take on this sometimes-frustrating burden for you. Give them a topic and then sit back while they put together a detailed and easy to understand report for your convenience.

-Administrative Tasks: Never waste time setting up meetings and transcribing audio again. With an OkayRelax virtual assistant you can simply delegate the tasks you need administrated for the night, and they will take care of the rest. That way, you will have plenty of extra time to focus on the actual needs of your clients.

-Schedule Management: Crafting your schedule week after week can take hours of annoying work. Thankfully, OkayRelax virtual assistants have plenty of experience crafting schedules for home businesses in all sorts of industries. Additionally, your personal assistant will help ensure that you never miss an important call or meeting!

-Restaurant Reservations: After work, you just want to relax with some good food, wine, and company. With an OkayRelax virtual assistant, the sometimes-complicated task of researching and booking an awesome restraint reservation will become simple. Simply tell them your tastes, budget, and the kind of atmosphere you crave, and the assistant will do the rest.

-Activity Recommendation: For healthy work breaks and after hour fun, OkayRelax virtual assistants can be an excellent source of support. Allow them to take the time out of their day to plan awesome activities for you, and you will free up tons of time to get the amount of work done you need to do to relax.

-Travel Planning: Looking to schedule an awesome vacation, or a work trip that will help you make your business skyrocket? At OkayRelax, the virtual assistants will make sure your trip goes off without a hitch. Allow them to research hotels, restaurants, activities and more that will make your trip stellar.
Now that you know all the amazing benefits to be had with an OkayRelax virtual assistant, do not hesitate to make an appointment for a free consultation today! A more relaxing and successful home workweek is just a call away!