project management

3 Ways To Be More Productive And Streamline Work

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The great thing in life is efficiency. If you amount to anything in the world, your time is valuable, your energy precious. They are your success capital, and you cannot afford to heedlessly throw them away or trifle with them.

–Dr. Orison Marden

Have you ever broke down the hours in a day and thought if you really needed to, how much you could get done in 16 hours?

Ways to be more productive and streamline work are high on any modern day business agenda.

The general 8-hour sleep, 8-hour work, 8-hour play routine varies from person to person, but one thing remains undisputed; a day accompanied by structure and deep work can achieve more than a frantically busy, fragmented one can in a week.

So what are the factors most conducive to maximising productivity? 

1.     Routine

Timings are everything. A start and finish time bookends each day to allow a window of complete focus, the same way it can allow a switch off when the day is finished. This relates more to freelance and flexible workplaces; but whatever the hours you work, make sure to pin down a start and finish time and stick to it militantly.

When a routine is so ingrained that it’s equivalent to going autopilot, it takes one less thought process from the day’s decisions; in turn minimising time on admin and maximising time spent on work.

2.     Structure

Being mindful of exactly what a day can fit in if you break it down incrementally, is quite eye-opening. There are many ways people can divide a day up, but whichever you adopt, it will dictate how you see your time and the opportunities available within it.

Writer and TED Speaker Tim Urban, breaks it down (minus 7-8 hours sleep) into 16-17 hours or 1,000 minutes, broken down into 100 10-minute blocks, which is what we get each day when we wake up.  

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Throughout that day we spend 10 minutes of our lives on each block, which when looked at as a whole, reveals interesting clues on how we use those 100 blocks we get each day, and how we can make our day more productive and streamlined.

 

“How many of them are put towards making your future better, and how many of them are just there to be enjoyed? How many of them are spent with other people, and how many are for time by yourself? How many are used to create something, and how many are used to consume something? How many of the blocks are focused on your body, how many on your mind, and how many on neither one in particular? Which are your favorite blocks of the day, and which are your least favorite?”

3. Streamlining

To increase efficiency and productivity(particularly after implementing an allotted window for deep work), all email notifications should be turned off, with emails only being checked twice a day at the likes of 11am and 4pm. The sporadic and spontaneous alert of email notifications not only interrupts your train of thought; but switches it completely off the task and onto the subject of the email, suspending any chance for deep work to enhance productivity.

Once notifications are off, it’s a good idea to set an auto-responder, saying something to the effect of, “Thanks for reaching out. I currently only check my emails at 11am and 4pm each day, to increase efficiency and productivity.

If you require assistance that cannot wait please get in touch on [YOUR PHONE NUMBER].” Being in control of incoming information this way, can structure and streamline your day in a way that enables deep work, not debilitates it. 

 

Efficiency when maximised, slots work into a finite window of confined, deep, productive focus, where a lot can get done in a shorter space of time. Optimum productivity needs practice, maintenance and work but when mastered over time, it can transform the way you approach your life and opportunities within it. 

 

We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.

–Earl Nightingale

Personal Assistant 2.0: The Rise of a New Type of Worker

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Personal assistants, virtual assistants, consultants, freelancers - all indispensable for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, but what do they actually do and which one should you hire for your business

As the world of work changes, so too do old job titles and job descriptions. We live in a world where the multi-hyphenate professional dominates. People are no longer defined by their job titles, but by their skills. With technology rapidly changing the normal working environment, people are setting up businesses more than ever. With a laptop and an armchair, you can now have an office anywhere in the world. And they will need support.

This brave new world of working in business has also welcomed a new phenomenon - the Personal Assistant 2.0. For freelancers, small businesses, solopreneurs and start-ups, the traditional version of a Personal Assistant has become a dated entity. Diary management and answering phones (while still important) are no longer the most important aspects of a personal assistant. 

Entrepreneurs are now looking for assistants who have a varied set of digital and soft skills that they can use in helping them grow their business - from social media management to web design, blogging to business development, event management to customer service, video editing & photoshop to SEO & Google Analytics. This new assistant is dynamic, flexible and digitally savvy. Often working remotely, they know how to use technology to facilitate their work. Meetings on FaceTime or Skype, updates on Slack, and digital project management tools such as Asana and Trello are all tools of the trade that keep these assistants connected and accountable.  (Check out our favourite tools when collaborating with your virtual assistant here). And for this new breed of personal and virtual assistant, excellent communication skills are their most valuable resource, so though they may not be in the office everyday, you'll never feel out of touch. 

As more people continue making that leap to self-employment and flexible working becomes the norm, traditional job descriptions will become a thing of the past. Personal Assistants will always be a helpful asset to any company or entrepreneur - but the assistant that can leverage new digital skills, be dynamic, and work flexibly will continue to thrive. If you think you might need a ‘Personal Assistant 2.0’ feel free to get in touch with us for a complimentary consultation to discuss the value we can bring to your business and we can create a customised quote for you. Email us at sales@costartupandgo.com

The Biggest Secret of Highly Productive & Successful Start-Ups

Productive Entrepreneurs and Virtual Assistants PA AND GO

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, your business success and productivity depends entirely upon you and your decisions. Everything from website design and search engine marketing to business operations and monthly finances is dependent on you.

One of the most valuable secrets of highly successful entrepreneurs is actually quite simple: they don’t try to do everything themselves. They delegate their work so they can grow at a faster rate than they could do on their own. But don't just take our word for it - here are 40 highly successful entrepreneurs giving evidence to why they hired virtual assistants.

But for some, it can be challenging to give up control, confusing to know where to start looking for people for your team, and seemingly expensive to hire a full-time employee. 

This is where hiring virtual support from a consultative team can exponentially help your business. The scope of remote working is changing and for many start-up and small business owners, VAs offer lean and flexible benefits. Moreover, company growth comes from more than just diary management and administrative tasks. Having a core support team that can adapt to your needs – whether it’s bookkeeping, social media, IT support, video editing, or event organisation – can help increase productivity and growth in your business, and also offer a better work-life balance for you.

It’s time to get more productive so you can focus on the most important aspects of your business. Here's how you can do it:

Visualise Success and Set Goals

Get clear about what your business goals are and how you want to achieve them. Create solid systems and processes that work for your business. At this point, you can get a better grasp on what areas you will need to invest in for the long term. You set clear expectations about what you want and need and it is easier to bring someone in to help you achieve those goals in a collaborative way.

Let Go and Delegate Tasks, Projects or Business Functions to Your Operational Support Team

Focus on what motivates you, what moves you, what you started your business for in the first place. When you spend your time doing the things you love in the business, your creativity and great ideas come to the forefront much faster. Then you can communicate to your support team how to execute those ideas, so you can move on to the next one.

Communicate with and Effectively Manage Your Virtual Assistant

Once you have systems in place, consistent communication is key to maintaining an effective and successful relationship with your virtual assistant. Mapping out your goals with your VA and then being able to constantly check in with him or her, via email, phone or Skype, sets an expectation for excellence and ensures that your investment in a flexible team is always adding value.

One of the great aspects of PA&GO’s services is our consultative approach to operational support. You won’t be hiring a VA who you’ll never meet and never have real contact with. You will be engaging an experienced team that adapts with your changing business needs. Get in touch at sales@costartupandgo.com and we can see which package can fit your business needs in a FREE initial consultation.