15 Minutes a Day of Self-Care for Business Owners

15 Minutes a Day of Self-Care for Business Owners

Business Owners, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs, whatever role you fill, your day is full.

It could be working in the business doing day-to-day operations, managing emails, and doing the bookkeeping or working on the business where you are goal setting, meeting clients, forecasting, and doing sales. With all the tasks on your plate, your self-care is usually the first thing to be put on the back burner.

When you find your mental health declining or if you are having a difficult time during your day, here are 10 tips to turn your day around.

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Before I go into detail on each one, I want to mention that I am not a dietician, a counsellor or a guru. I have however utilized each of these steps and spent some time over the past 10 years trialling each for myself. These are what works for me, but what works for you will be unique to you. Give yourself time and grace to find what works for you.

Here are 10 self-care tips that you can do in 15 minutes or less. If you can’t justify taking 15 minutes for your health, book a call with VEA to start delegating tasks.

 

1. Eat a Healthy Snack

I have gone through seasons of eating terribly and have worked on bringing the right foods into our home. Instead of ramen for a snack, I cut up veggies for the whole week on Sunday night. It takes 15 minutes to cut them up and gives a healthy option to reach for when that impulse for convenient junk food comes in.

2. Call a Friend

Whether you are having a hard hour, day, or season, having a trusted friend or friends you can call is one of the fastest ways to turn it around.

3. Read

As much as we share our favourite business books this might be the time to pick up something else. Self-help or fiction books can take you away from being “on” all the time. If you are like me and have a hard time thinking about anything but work, these two genres will help you disconnect.

4. Go Outside

Nature bathing always works for me. But, to keep it short and sweet a walk around the block without my phone gives me time to breathe and jolts me back into productivity mode. Another favourite of mine is sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee or taking a few shots on the basketball hoop.

5. Meditate

Get away from electronics and find a quiet place to meditate. If you need your phone for a guided meditation set it to “do not disturb” and give yourself time to rest and reset.

6. Nap

My personal favourite and something I consider myself an expert in is power naps. When I was younger, I used to lie down and wait for my body to wake me up. This led to that confused wake-up where I didn’t know where I was or what time it was. Followed by the feeling of grogginess and not sleeping well at night, creating a cycle of naps, and not sleeping at night. When I started setting alarms, I found my perfect nap window of 13-16 minutes. I wake up feeling recharged and energized.

7. Journal

If your mind is circling with the same thoughts, get it out and onto paper. This has always helped me process my thoughts and change my mindset from problems to looking for solutions.

8. Exercise

I had a great exercise routine, then I had kids. It has taken me a long time to find a routine that works for this stage of life. Currently, it is 3 times a week after the kids go to bed and I am only at the gym for 30-50 minutes, but I am still seeing less stress and big body composition changes.

9. Deep Breathing

If you’re stressed and you know it take a breath. *Clap, clap* Slowing down your heart rate brings your body back to a calm state and away from anxious thoughts. This is another way of taking 15 minutes to slow down so when I get back to work, I am more productive than trying to force myself to battle through the stress.

10. Go For a Walk

This goes back to going outside as mentioned above but a big piece of removing yourself from work and resetting with some fresh air.

 

Conclusion:

As you can tell, most of these activities are meant to be a quick reset. By removing yourself from your current state or task and making a healthy choice for yourself will help clear your head. Allowing you to step back into work refreshed, recharged, and motivated. If you are facing a larger issue that can’t be resolved with a reset or break, find a trusted friend or counsellor to begin dealing with the bigger issue at hand. Being in business for yourself is rewarding but can lead to overwhelm, stress, burnout, anxiety, depression and/or trauma that can be avoided.

What is your plan of attack to prioritize your health? Write it down, share it with a friend and get started. But remember to give yourself time and grace to find what works for you.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

How an EA Transforms Businesses

How an EA Transforms Businesses

If you’re a business owner, hiring an Executive Assistant can be a game changing addition to your work life. You might not have an Executive Assistant yet, but there will likely come a time when you should consider investing in one.

Are you able to perform many daily tasks efficiently and on your own? Of course you can. After all, you’ve probably been doing them all since the early days. But your company is bigger now, or you’re trying to grow it, so it could be time to consider the opportunity costs of going it alone.

A skilled Executive Assistant can be the backbone of your more efficient operations. Their primary purpose is to perform a range of administrative tasks, like managing schedules, making travel arrangements, and organizing your inbox–so you can focus on strategic decision making and other higher-value responsibilities. More specifically, a virtual Executive Assistant can swiftly adapt to your changing needs, because they are skilled at using digital tools to handle tasks, manage schedules, and provide crucial assistance without needing to be in a physical office.

Butterfly in Flowers

Curious about what jobs you should hand off first? Here are some guidelines about what we recommend you outsource first to a virtual Executive Assistant.

Case Stories

Rather than talk about the benefits of hiring a virtual Executive Assistant, the following case stories exemplify how two of our clients at VEA have incorporated these skilled practitioners into their businesses in the real world.

 

Case Story: Improving the Intake Process

One client regularly sends multiple intake forms to its customers. For years, these forms were attached to emails and sent to individual users. Not only did customers often forget to attach and send back completed forms, but gathering was a manual process, leaving the door open for human error.

Using a combo of Microsoft Office Suite, Power Automate, SharePoint, and Power apps, our VEA Executive Assistant created online forms that could be updated in real-time and sent out as a simple link. Fewer attachments translated into fewer mistakes and a welcomed uptick in customer compliance.

Versioning issues are a thing of the past. Information is digitized, eliminating all that copying and pasting that was eating up employees’ time. An error-prone system was cleaned up, and since all data is stored in one place, our client can run reports and learn more about customer behaviour. With just a few small changes, so much was gained.

 

 

Case Story: A Better Billing System

Our professional services client needed to streamline its time tracking system and invoice clients more efficiently. Under its legacy system, they were still creating all invoices manually. It took two whole days to compile information and send invoices!

Working in partnership with a VEA Online Business Manager, the virtual Executive Assistant successfully implemented new digital tools to improve processes and meet newly formed goals.

Using a mixture of Clockify, Excel, and business analysis, this virtual Executive Assistant was pivotal in reducing the billing process from two days to just two hours, saving the client 14 hours per month in labor. Freeing up time by creating better processes enabled the business owner to grow without a lot of added administrative muscle to make it happen.

 

Business Gets Personal

Do you ever feel like your personal life seeps into your workday? It happens to the best of us. At VEA, our virtual Executive Assistants not only handle administrative jobs, but they are also happy to take on personal assistant duties, like arranging social plans, ordering household basics, and even sending flowers and gifts, all in the pursuit of giving you more ways to stay in the game rather than getting yanked to the sidelines throughout the day.

 

An Executive Assistant can even drop work blocks into your schedule, giving you permission to simply focus rather than be pulled into last-minute meetings that sabotage your flow. They can also help you strive for “inbox zero”, a productivity strategy and philosophy that seeks to declutter your mind by decluttering your inbox through methodically deleting, sorting, and clearing incoming emails.

Is it Time for an Executive Assistant?

The right virtual Executive Assistant can truly transform how you structure your week and make it more productive. VEA prides itself on hand matching business owners to their Executive Assistants to ensure a good fit from the onset.

Give VEA a call to talk about your virtual Executive Assistant options. Our team can explain what to expect and then walk you through our tried-and-true onboarding process that ensures you and your virtual Executive Assistant work together as an indispensable team.

Book a Call or email me directly at  [email protected]. I am always happy to help.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

How a Meeting Assistant Can Make You More Productive

How a Meeting Assistant Can Make You More Productive

You wake up in the morning and see your calendar is jam packed full of meetings. You take this schedule one of two ways:

#1 – Stress: You know you are going to be ghosted at least once or twice, you see the tight time windows and worry about being prepared for each meeting and having proper notes taken during. Then there is the follow-up afterwards that will take time out of your day.

#2 – Ease: You have a meeting assistant who schedules all the meetings, follows up with a reminder to confirm with those you are meeting with, prepares all of the notes and will take minutes, follow up and not only create to-do lists out of those meetings but complete many of those tasks as well. You know today looks busy but will be pretty seamless.

In the online meeting era with Zoom fatigue being a buzzword surrounding it, your days can look stressful, or you can enter them with productivity and ease knowing that these meetings are going to go smoothly.

What Causes an Unproductive Meeting?

To run a smooth meeting, we need to address what makes for an unproductive, clunky meeting.

An unproductive meeting includes no:

  • Agenda
    • An agenda provides guardrails for the meeting, if you haven’t properly prepared one or transferred a meeting template to this meeting it will delay the meeting or lead to an unproductive meeting.
  • Meeting notes
    • If notes are not properly taken with to-do lists created, important topics covered and completion timelines set, it usually means the meeting was a waste of time.
  • Reminder emails before the meeting
    • Setting these up for all attendees beforehand is crucial to prevent no-shows and 5-15 minutes wasted in an empty Zoom meeting room or coffee shop, not to mention potential time driving to the meeting.

Not having these three areas covered leads to meetings running over time, going off-topic, and ending with no conclusions or concrete takeaways.

 

How do I Set Myself Up for a Smooth Meeting?

Having an agenda prepared beforehand with meeting notes and reminder emails sent means you are much more confident going in. You know attendees are most likely going to show up and you have everything in front of you to get started immediately on topic. This is where a meeting assistant will save you hours a week and set you up for productive meetings. Business owners know how many hours are taken up by meetings, feeling like one was a waste of time means many wasted hours which translates to dollars.

Our virtual Executive Assistants are experienced meeting assistants for Business Owners, C-Suite Executives and Entrepreneurs. They work with clients who go from meeting to meeting with very little to no buffers. Instead of leaving one meeting with a few notes rushed and a quick follow-up email before jumping late to the next meeting, they structure their day and meetings to maximize their time.

Here are the goals of your virtual EA when it comes to your busy meeting days, your EA wants you to:

  • Rarely have to book a meeting.
  • Never be double-booked.
  • Go from meeting to meeting fully prepared.
  • Leave the follow-up to them.
  • Review the notes and to-dos in a specific folder or project management software that has been created by them.

Are You the Bottleneck?

If a decision maker is in a meeting it can quickly go off the rails if the decision maker is the bottleneck to the organization. If their team cannot get a hold of them to answer requests or move projects along everyone wants to have their ear during the meeting so they can move tasks/projects along. If you are being asked numerous questions by multiple team members during a meeting, ask yourself “is this part of the agenda for this meeting?” and “are they asking this because I haven’t responded to their email or previous request?” If the answer is yes, it means you are a bottleneck in your organization.

Chances are you will never have a focused meeting again. If you are finding yourself to be the bottleneck your virtual Executive Assistant can manage your email to ensure anything not needing your attention gets removed or answered on your behalf. This leaves only the most pertinent and important communication on your plate and removing the rest.

Your virtual Executive Assistant can also be a gatekeeper to your email and calendar. If your calendar is a free for all, your EA will help you set rules for who gets your time and for how long. They will set time blocks so you can focus on actual work, not just replying to emails and having meetings.

 

Conclusion

If you are sick of meetings, feel like you are in too many or meetings are unproductive your virtual Executive Assistant has vast amounts of experience being a meeting assistant, gatekeeper, calendar manager and email manager to help you gain your time back. If it’s time to get your life and business back under control schedule a call with our team to learn how a virtual Executive Assistant will get you more productive, in less meetings and back to doing what you love.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Executive Assistant

Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Executive Assistant

Before we even get into this, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a Virtual Executive Assistant? The answer is simple! They are highly valuable and experienced team members that can access the necessary tools and data that a traditional in-office Executive Assistant does. Only remotely.

Before you argue that you need someone in-house to be able to truly get the job done, let me give you some insight into why your business needs a Virtual Executive Assistant.

A cup and a laptop on a table.

1. Your day is filled with monotonous tasks leaving you no room to focus on growth.

Your time is valuable. You are the head of your company. The visionary. The creator. Therefore, you need time to be in your Zone of Genius. To be able to grow your business to new heights. To be able to focus on the bigger picture, not the day-to-day tasks.

Common administrative tasks such as, booking meetings, answering emails, or even making travel arrangements, can be time-consuming, daunting, and ruin your creative flow. You don’t need to use up your energy with these tasks, a Virtual Executive Assistant can handle all of these with ease.

2. You know you need help but not enough for a full-time assistant.

Your business is growing but you don’t have a big enough workload to fill 8 hours of the day that a full-time assistant would require. You don’t want to pay someone to stare at a computer screen for 6 of the 8 hours in a typical workday and hiring a part-time employee is no easy task. It’s hard enough trying to find a full-time good fit these days. That pool gets even smaller when you are looking for a part-time person.

Most Virtual Executive Assistants work with multiple clients, so you get the expertise of a full-time employee that has worked with various executives for a variety of different organizations. But you only pay them for the time you need them.

3. You don’t have time to hire and train an employee.

Listing the job posting, sorting through thousands of unqualified resumes trying to find the diamond in the rough, interviewing multiple people only to have to do a second round and possibly lose your top candidate to another company because you didn’t have the time to offer them a position before they got scooped up by someone else. Sounds like a long, inefficient, and arduous process, doesn’t it?

VEA has a large team of Virtual Executive Assistants which means you don’t have to sort through a pile of resumes and take the time for monotonous interviews. We do it all for you. After our initial call we hand-match you to the best fit or let you interview between the top two we think will be a great fit for you and your business. No AI or “next up”, everything is done by our experienced Onboarding Concierge to make sure the fit is right for you.

VEA’s home base is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but has contractors all over Canada to choose from. Virtual Executive Assistants in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver or surrounding areas from coast to coast.

Each of our Virtual Executive Assistants has years of experience already and if there is something they need help with? Well, they also come with a whole support system ready to help. VEA can provide training on certain software, assist with problem-solving, and even provide a backup EA if needed.

4. You’re a creator, not an organizer.

Let’s face it, we are all built differently. It has been proven that many of us only operate on either the right side or the left side of our brains most of the time. This means if you are a creator, a designer, or an entrepreneur, you more than likely are not the most organized individual. If you happen to be an individual that is both, congratulations! You are an anomaly! But still, your time could be better spent than doing administrative tasks.

However, if you are more like other right-brain entrepreneurs, you may need some assistance with your organization and administrative tasks. Executive Assistants thrive on organization and structure. They are wired to take on the tasks that you may normally find a constant struggle. They love to help and make your life easier.

Conclusion

Bottom line: Virtual Executive Assistants can offer even more than most traditional EAs because having a whole team of support and resources constantly backing them up makes them an endless bucket of knowledge. Some that maybe even have a few organization tricks you never even thought to help streamline your processes helping eliminate time-wasting clerical errors.

Virtual EAs cost you nothing in equipment or office supplies. No need to pay for an office space for them and no need to provide traditional employee benefits because they come with their own. They are independent contractors that have already taken care of everything they need.

A clock with averlay text "Looking for more time to do what you love? Hire a Virtual EA."

So, is the question really, why your business needs a Virtual Executive Assistant or is it, how can you afford NOT to get a Virtual Executive Assistant?

If you are ready to join thousands of business owners that have already realized that Virtual Executive Assistants are a smart investment in your company’s future, give VEA a call today!

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing