Tips for Maintaining Work-Life Balance Using a Virtual Executive Assistant

Tips for Maintaining Work-Life Balance Using a Virtual Executive Assistant

“Work to live, not live to work.”  How many times have you heard this from friends and family, or have seen this motto on promoted in a meme on social media?  For many Small Business Owners, working to live is easier said than done.  

Let’s face it – if you don’t work to run your business…then there IS NO business.  So, what can you do to turn the tables?  You could go back to a ‘9 to 5’ again…but then again… NOT!  You love your small business and are hungry to make it thrive. Your business is a big part of who you are, and you’re not prepared to give it up, no matter what the cost.  So, then what?  

Maybe it simply means that you need to work smarter, filling your days with the business you love, and less time spent doing business tasks that, while are necessary, are not your jam.

Unorganized computer desk

If you feel like your work-life balance is more off-balance than balanced, it’s time to enlist the help of a Virtual Executive Assistant.

1. Take Back the Night

Or your nights…and your weekends!  As a Small Business Owner, you attend to your core business and the needs of your clients all day.  Your business is all consuming and it’s what pays the bills!  Unfortunately, that may mean you are stuck doing your business administration work after hours, often eating into your much needed free time.  You know – making client invoices, reviewing the day’s emails, basic bookkeeping – that kind of busy work that must be done, but is so time consuming and tedious.

You need and deserve a break!  Hiring a Virtual Executive Assistant could be the solution you are looking for.  By offloading administrative and routine tasks to a Virtual Executive Assistant, you can open time for yourself to make your nights and weekends FUN again.  Finally check out that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, escape the city for a weekend, catch-up with friends, go for a run, binge that Netflix series everyone is talking about – the sky’s the limit, and a Virtual Executive Assistant can help take you there by giving you the gift of free time.

At VEA, our Virtual Executive Assistants come to the job ready to work, armed with experience and skills that let them hit the ground running.

2. Get a New Rhythm (And We Don’t Mean Dancing)

As a Small Business Owner, you know that there are administrative tasks that simply must be attended to during working hours.  The problem with these tasks is that they can be noisy and demand immediate attention, cutting into the productive routine of your day.  Answering client inquiries, scheduling appointments, returning routine phone calls – these are just a few of the administrative interruptions that can wreak havoc on the precious time of your daily business.

Yet there is no doubt that the completion of these tasks in a timely manner, while not your core business, are critical to your success.  Why not hand these tasks over to an Virtual Executive Assistant and consider them done!  Our Virtual Executive Assistants are experts at time management, making it easy for them to juggle many balls in the air at the same time.

There also may be personal tasks that need attention during the day, that ever-growing nagging list of to-dos that you can just never get to:

  • making a dentist appointment
  • booking lunch with a friend or colleague
  • finding that perfect gift for your significant other.

These kinds of things are important in your life too, and somehow you need to find the time to get them done.  But like the shoemaker’s kid, they are the last to ‘get the shoes’.

Our Virtual Executive Assistants are double agents and also complete basic Online Personal Assistant tasks.  Having helped other Small Business Owners just like you, our Virtual Executive Assistants can easily slip your personal tasks in amongst your required business administration work.  Not only that, but they also come equipped with tons of experience and may be able to provide you with suggestions or ideas of things they can help you with that you may not have considered.

3. More Time = More Business

Do you ever feel like you are busy all day, jumping from business task to meeting, and back to business task – but you are not making any headway?  Frustrating, right?  

This kind of exhausting, busy tempo is all too familiar with Small Business Owners because there is just so much to do and so little time.  But there is also the possibility that you could need some help with time management.  One of the beauties of having a Virtual Executive Assistant is they are one step removed from your core business, so they can step back and look at the bigger picture of your day with a fresh perspective.  

A Virtual Executive Assistant can help you by managing your busting-at-the-seams calendar, helping to create some much-needed space in your day.  By being mindful of how and when appointments are booked, your Virtual Executive Assistant can create time blocks in your day for focused time.  And focused time is what small business owners need.  Focused time offers you uninterrupted THINKING time, which is what you need to brainstorm ideas to maintain your businesses or push it to the next level. 

Conclusion

So, to summarize, if you are a Small Business Owner who needs help creating more time in your day but are hamstringed by an overload of administrative and personal tasks or by a lack of time in your daily calendar, it’s time to consider getting help.

You know you don’t want to commit to a part-time or full-time salaried employee, so a Virtual Executive Assistant could be just the ticket:  no overhead; on demand and flexible services; experienced, professional, and ready to work.  A Virtual Executive Assistant could mean the difference between you working to live – and not living to work.  And let’s face it, isn’t that what life is all about?

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Work/Life Balance Resources (Part 5/5)

Work/Life Balance Resources (Part 5/5)

Our past 4 days have hopefully brought you tons of value and a better perspective on what “work/life balance” looks like for you. Here are a few more internal & external resources to help you out because we do not profess to have it all figured out:

Blog Posts:

Podcasts:

Books:

We sincerely hope this series has helped you. From the EA’s to the bookkeepers, to the CEO of VEA; we all have family time as one of our top core values. As we travel this road we will do everything we can to help you on your journey as well.

If there is anything we can do to help you out, please do not hesitate to reach out.

– Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing for VEA

 

The Work/Life Balance Conundrum (Part 2/5)

The Work/Life Balance Conundrum (Part 2/5)

The biggest issue with the self-help industry is the moulds that are created and the box that you are seemingly being forced into. I almost want to say “unfortunately” here but rather I will choose the word “thankfully” because thankfully there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to a solution.

If you have read our blogs you will see that we prefer to give advice coming from what worked for us. We leave it open for you to try it so you can take what works, and throw away the rest. Through trial and error, you can come up with a custom solution that works for you.

For example, when it comes to sleep habits:

  • You can read 2 blogs, one tells you to get 4 hours because that is what the most successful people do
  • The other says 7-8 hours where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • You try 4 hours, it doesn’t work so you go for 7 hours strategy from 10pm-5am and you feel refreshed.

We should never feel guilty if something worked for someone else but does not work for us, it just means we need to adjust and try something else. Work/life balance is not impossible, but each season may look different. When we think balance, we think 50% one way, 50% the other. As the Father of a newborn and a toddler, I can tell you that my life right now is not 50/50. It is more of a 70/30, family over work right now.

As we create routines and our newborn starts to settle in, that will come closer to 50/50. It may even have to sway to more work to make up for that time, maybe a 60/40.

We have a pie chart exercise in part 4 of this series that you can see what your life looks like right now and where you want it to be. DO NOT be married to those percentages for the rest of your life, be flexible and re-visit it in different seasons of life.

As always, if there is anything we can do to help you out, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Check out Part 3: “Life Is Like Riding a Bicycle.
See our intro to the series “Work/Life Balance – Introduction.

– Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing for VEA

Work/Life Balance – Introduction (Part 1/5)

Work/Life Balance – Introduction (Part 1/5)

This is the single biggest topic of discussion that I have encountered when talking about life in general amongst work associates, friends, family, and other groups.  The majority of people that I have heard speak on the topic of their own life balance rate themselves as ‘imbalanced’… usually far too heavily weighted on work.  In fact, there is a common work-life balance quote that goes No one on his death bed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office”

Let’s face it, the average North American working a 40 hour work week spends 40% of their waking hours at work – not including travel to and from, overtime, or other off-time projects – so that statistic alone makes it extremely difficult to achieve a balanced life.  The 7 most common areas of life that we need to work in keeping balance with are:

  1. Mental Health (mind)
  2. Physical Health (body)
  3. Spiritual Health (soul)
  4. Family
  5. Social (relationships outside of family, recreation, fun)
  6. Career/Business
  7. Financial

We all, however, have the freedom of choice so that we can decide what our priorities are for our own lives and how much energy and commitment we want to put into these areas.  Also, keep in mind that sacrifices in other areas of life are necessary to enhance the ones that you want to improve upon.

There is a great, well-known story about how truly full our lives are these days, and how to balance it all for the greatest happiness possible:

One day a philosophy professor brought a large glass jar and some beautiful river rocks to class with him. “Raise your hands when the jar is full,” he instructed his students, and he began putting the big rocks into the jar.  Soon the lid would no longer fit, and all the students raised their hands to indicate the jar was full.  The professor then pulled out a bag of smaller black and white pebbles and poured them into the jar.  As the pebbles rolled down, they filled the little gaps between the big river rocks.  The students smiled and raised their hands.  This time the jar was completely full. 

Then the professor produced a bag of sand and began pouring it into the jar.  When the sand had filled the tiny gaps between the rocks and the pebbles he triumphantly placed the lid on the jar and asked his class if the jar was now full.  They all clapped and agreed, “Yes it is full!”  At that point, the professor opened the lid and slowly poured two cups of coffee into the jar.  The coffee completely filled the tiniest gaps between the rocks, the pebbles, and the grains of sand.  “Now, life is very much like this jar,” he said. 

“The river rocks represent the most important things in life, such as your ethics, your family, your loved ones and your health.  Even if you lost everything else, your life would still be full with these most important things in it.  The pebbles are the things in our lives that are pretty important – but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them.  Things like our job, house, car, etc.  Finally, the sand represents everything else – the countless small, busy things that fill our lives.  If we fill up our jar with sand first, then we won’t have any room for the river rocks or pebbles.  If we fill our lives with just the small stuff or the busy stuff, we won’t have any room or time for the things that mean the most to us.” 

After a brief moment of silence on of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?”.  “Ah, I’m glad you asked,” replied the professor. “It means that, no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”

After reading this story, we have a few questions for you to ponder in the attached PDF to help you structure your life to be a little more balanced.

Work life balance worksheet download button

See Part 2 of our 5 part series, “The Work-Life Balance Conundrum“.

– Nick Thompson
Co-Founder & President of VEA