Organisation is at the heart of Productivity

I've been thinking a lot about productivity and organisation lately.  Specifically, the way in which different techniques work for different people.  As a Virtual Assistant I help improve business productivity.  By utilising my organisation skills to complete tasks and projects quickly and efficiently, my client's can concentrate on revenue producing activities.  Naturally, I am always on the look-out for new tips to either share with clients or use in my own practice.  After all, the more efficiently I work, the more cost-effective my service to the client will be.

Whilst researching productivity, I found that many tips shared one key element.  From grouping similar tasks and tackling them together to putting items back where they belong so you can find them again.  All shared an emphasis on being organised in order to increase productivity.

There were also a lot of tips available and since interrogating the internet takes time and can lead to distractions (cute dog video's anyone?) I've bravely gone down that rabbit hole for you, come up with seven key tips, and put them all in one place for you.  These tips were common to many of the sites I visited and can all be implemented reasonably easily.

It is probably easier to pick just one tip and concentrate on that.  Trying to implement multiple new tips in one go is likely to make you feel less productive as you struggle to recall all the things you are supposed to be changing.  But one tip, with a reminder, posted up on your computer, the wall in the office, or the fridge, is manageable.  Maybe pick the tip that resonates most with you or the one that you feel would fit most effectively with the way you work.  And although one small change may not seem like much, you could be surprised by how much difference it makes to your productivity.

If you still find you are not getting through that work as fast as you would like then click here to choose you preferred method of contacting me.  Maybe I can add a touch of extra organisation to your day which will help you achieve that goal you are working towards.

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Productivity starts with the Environment

Productivity starts with the Environment

Productivity desk organised organisation safe

It is easier to be more productive if your environment is organised in a way that makes sense to you.  Time is money.  If you can find things easily and quickly when you need them, rather than scrabbling through boxes of dis-organised paperwork you will be able to make best use of your time.  Of course, organising the office takes time, you are busy and perhaps feel you have more pressing tasks to deal with.  However, tackling it a bit at a time makes the task more manageable.

You could start with the desk, removing clutter and finding ways to organise the items you require so they are to hand.  If you can find things more easily then you will be able to work more quickly.  Organising the desk need not be expensive either.  I love IKEA for low cost organisation solutions. For example, I use a plastic IKEA cutlery tray for pens, paperclips and staples etc.  The tray slides up the drawer easily so items stored under the tray can be retrieved quickly.  If you don’t have time to trek off to IKEA, there are other options.  Empty jars, Syrup and Treacle tins are great for storing elastic bands, paper clips, and other small items.  Tins are also great for pens, pencils and rulers.  Perfect if you prefer your stationery out on the desk, right where you can grab it.

Are you comfortable?  Is everything where you can reach it easily and safely? If you have a land line phone, do you need to stretch to answer it? Is your computer screen, keyboard and mouse located at the right height and at a comfortable distance from where you are sitting?  Can you adjust your chair to ensure adequate back support?  If you are uncomfortable you will cause health problems.  In addition, it is difficult to work productively if you are uncomfortable.  There are a number of websites which provide advice on how to set up your workstation effectively.  One very useful source of information is this NHS site:  How to sit correctly

Are the wires of your computer and devices snaking all over the place and creating a mess or a trip hazard?  Try taming them with wire tamer tubes.  These are available at IKEA and at DIY stores.  Alternatively, lower cost solutions include Ty-Raps or string.  In my house, wires get tied up with knitting wool because I always have some lying around.

Pinterest is full of really great ideas for keeping office items under control, including the Lego Figure approach.  Stick a flat Lego brick to your desk then stand your Lego figure on the brick, put your cables into the figure’s hands, and you have an instant wire tamer.  This will only work with fine wires such as Iphone cables and phone chargers.  There are also numerous Pinterest boards showing varied Lego-related organisation ideas for both home and office.

There are many ideas available to increase the efficiency of your work area and help with productivity including a number of blogs and Pinterest boards.  But if you don’t want to spend time trawling the internet for ideas (after all, the point is to increase productivity, not spend hours on Pinterest), then you could approach a Virtual Assistant.  Many Virtual Assistants, myself included, are able to organise offices to ensure they are healthy, productive places to work.  If you would like some help getting your office organised, please click here and choose you preferred method to get in touch with me.

Should you Do It (all) Yourself?

Should you Do It (all) Yourself?

As a sole trader or new start up it is easy to feel you need to do everything yourself.  Running a business, particularly in the early stages, is challenging.  Not only financially but in terms of time management.  And as your careful nurturing pays off and your business expands, so does the administrative burden.  You don’t want to work until 3am every day but there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Maybe your family are starting to complain that they never see you. Maybe your family are telling you they want to see the fun, rested, happy you.  Not the tired, stressed you.

A bit of help at the right time would make all the difference to keeping the business momentum going.  But a small business can’t afford admin staff.  Or can it?

Freelance Administrators save businesses money time cost-effective money-saving

What if you could access a highly experienced administrator who could take some of the administrative burden off your shoulders only at the times when you want them to?  What if you had someone you could call on to come in and do a couple of hours a week or a month for you?  Someone you could trust to complete routine and time consuming tasks whether regularly or as a one off task?  How much revenue producing work could you get done if you weren’t trying to do every little thing in your business?

Sometimes a small amount of help is all you need.  A couple of hours sorting a pile of documentation you don’t have time to tackle.  Someone to respond to Emails and letters on your behalf.  Someone to research suppliers or tidy up a contact list to ensure everything is current.

A Virtual Assistant (VA) or Freelance Office Administrator can provide this type of flexible support, giving you access to administrative expertise at a price you can afford.  So, if you need a hand, click here to choose your preferred method to get in touch with me for a no obligation chat.

Freelance Support – Is it right for your business?

Freelance support business organisation Virtual Assistant

Freelance Support – Is it right for your business?

A Close Brothers survey recently found that 51.2% of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) do not plan to take on new employees in 2017. Instead they plan to use temporary staff and freelancers.  This increasing reliance on more flexible support is thought to be partially driven by fears over Brexit. However, freelancing was increasing in popularity prior to Brexit and there is a growing recognition that a flexible workforce is helpful to business in periods of both recession and high growth.

Employed staff draw wages whether times are lean or busy.  Freelance staff are engaged only when the business needs them, making them very cost effective.  Freelance support is particularly valuable to new businesses and those with seasonal or cyclical peaks and troughs in workload.

Freelance support is available in many specialist areas and is particularly valuable to micro-business owners because it provides the option to build a flexible team of experts.

There are fewer overheads involved in working with freelance staff. This makes it a cost effective alternative to traditional employed staff.  Freelancers manage their own tax, employment costs and equipment.  Small businesses and those just starting out find the monthly invoice submitted by their freelancer is simple to manage with relatively little administrative cost.

Access to time-saving technology and increasingly varied communication channels makes a large office-based workforce unnecessary in many sectors.  Working from home rather than expensive office premises reduces costs considerably.  Video conferencing, Instant Messages and an array of online collaboration tools ensure keeping in touch with your team and working effectively on joint projects is straightforward and effective.

People are increasingly concerned about commute costs, not only in terms of monetary expense but also time, inconvenience and environmental impact.  Achieving a good Work-life balance is increasingly recognised as an important part of maintaining health and well-being.  People are increasingly choosing to adopt flexible, part-time and virtual working patterns.  Tapping into this pool of highly motivated labour makes good business sense for companies needing effective and affordable support.

The number of highly experienced administrators, PA’s and EA’s choosing to work as Virtual Assistants (VA’s) is growing.  Virtual Assistants are an increasingly popular alternative to agency staffing for ad hoc, regular and project support. Business owners gain a continuity of service with a VA which is not always possible for an agency to achieve, however hard they try.  The VA, being familiar with the company, hits the ground running each time.

To find out how a Virtual Assistant could help support you and your business, please contact me for a chat.