Sep 13 2013

Decisions…They are Never Really Easy to Make

Decisions ClipArtEvery day we are faced with a myriad of options.  Some are good options (no-brainers to choose) and some just aren’t and we are forced to make a choice.

For instance, say you run your own company and have to downsize.  Where would you start?  What about the solo-preneur who takes on a great client based on an initial consultation and referral that was received and later learns that they just are not a good match?  What do you do?  Do you just suck it up because it’s income or do you take a different path and choose to terminate the working relationship?  If you decide on the latter, how do you do it?  What about the mother or father who just brought a newborn home and has to decide to either stay home with the child or go back to work?  And if you choose to go back to work, when?  Or, what about the student who is having difficulty at school with some basic learned functions and is afraid to say anything. Does she finally take up for herself and ask for help at the risk of looking foolish or suffer in silence and slip further behind?

It’s those touch choices that a lot of us really don’t want to deal with and just wish someone else would make the decision for us.   So, are there really any good tips out there for those of us who are really struggling?  I’m not sure that any one set of tips will fit the bill, but I was able to find a few sites that may help, or at the very least, give you a starting point:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Decisions

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-to-Make-Decisions-Make-the-Right-Choice

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-make-a-difficult-decision-30-tips-to-help-you-choose/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/03/28/6-tips-for-making-better-decisions/

Now, back to those questions at the beginning of this post.  How would you handle these decisions?  Do you have any advice you would give to help someone make a more informed decision?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

 

 

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Nov 05 2012

7 Things I Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Published by under Uncategorized

 

1. A great support system will always weather any storm. No matter where your support system is, whether local to you or out of state, lean on them in times of trouble.  That’s what good friends and family do for one another.  Matter of fact, it was a good thing we did have a support system out of state because we relied on them to check the internet school closure updates.  

 

2. You should never be too proud to take help from your community. We had just come to the conclusion that we were making the call to schedule time at a local restaurant/resort for a free shower.  Ehrhardt’s was offering free showers to include the toiletries as well as 50% off going room rates for those displaced by Sandy.  It doesn’t get much more helpful than that!

 

3. Dinners by candlelight are so overrated, but playing Candy Land with your kiddos sure isn’t!  Do I really need to explain this one??? 

 

4. Giving back to those in need is always a great way to say “thank you.”  That’s why I have offered my services – 3 FREE hours of work for those hit my Sandy.  It could be as simple as calling customers back to reschedule their appointments for a later date/time or assisting with email management.  Whatever the administrative assistance may be, I’m willing to help out.

 

5. Having absolutely no electronics available really is a blessing in disguise.  Truer words couldn’t have been spoken.  Although I lost touch with the outside world for a bit, it was actually kind of nice.  I needed the break.  I often wonder if we are too dependent on electronics these days.  While they are great luxuries, I’m still not convinced they are a necessity.  I did have my cell phone for emergencies, but when the battery went, well…silence was the peace I was craving.

 

6. Your clients will understand. And if they don’t, are they really the type of client you are after?  Need I say more????

 

7. Creativity is paramount!  With no heat and a fridge full of food getting ready to spoil we needed some creativity to come up with dinners to eat…in the dark.  It’s truly amazing what people actually have in their cupboards when they are forced to look.  Because we got so creative (and I’m not saying they were the healthiest dinners) we only lost a ½ gallon of milk!  The kids had fun and so did the adults making the meals.

 

What did you learn from Hurricane Sandy?  I would love to know.  J

 

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Nov 02 2012

Hurricane Sandy and Giving Back

For all that have been hit by Sandy, I am right there with you. I have been blessed and my family and I are all okay. VA by Jen is now back up and operational. All that I ask is that you give me a minute to catch up.

 

Thank you to all of my awesome clients who have stuck by me through this. I couldn’t have done it without you and the great support system my family has in place.

 

To say thank you and to help give back to those that are still in need, I’d like to offer my services…3 hrs FREE.  Whether it’s help in calling your current clients and rescheduling appointments or helping you get through all of your emails, I’d be more than happy to help out.  Just reach out to me at virtualassistancebyjen@gmail.com and let me know in what areas you could use some extra help!

 

We will all get through this together!

 

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Jul 19 2012

Summer Survival Kit

If you are a WAHM or WAHD, then you know all to well that the summer months can be trying ones.  I’ve come across a great resource that will surely help you out!  It has everything from chore charts and daily schedules to outside and inside activities, which are broken down by age groups.  This kit also contains a great list of books for every age group, as well as recipes.  There is one in particular I can’t wait to try out…Cilantro Lime Chicken in the crockpot.  Who says dinner time has to be a chore???

 

So here’s the link – Summer Survival Kit for Moms.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

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Jun 27 2012

A Book Review – The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Published by under Book Reviews

What a heartbreaking, yet heartwarming book The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, is.  I wanted to scream at Jeannette’s parents for the way they wanted to live and the way they were consequently bringing up their children.

I don’t often read memoirs or biographies, but I was given this book for World Book Night, so I thought I would give it a chance.  I decided to dive right in and was immediately taken back to a time when Jeannette and her siblings were growing up.  I felt I was reliving those memories right along with her-from her creatively wacky mother to her overbearing, yet teddy bear-like dreamer of a father, to the close-knit relationship she forged with her brother and sisters.

The writer’s (Jeannette Walls) language and spirit spoke to my heart and I was forever a champion for their cause.  I kept hoping things would get better for them and that her parents would finally see what they were doing to their children.  However, that was not to be.  I may not have agreed with their upbringing, but was delighted to see they chose to take only the good parts of their parents teaching with them into adulthood.

To think that you had a challenging upbringing is probably nothing compared to Jeannette’s upbringing.  I am humbled and blessed to have grown up the way I did and will be forever grateful for Jeannette sharing her experiences with her audience.  I am definitely a fan of her writing and will be looking to read her next book.  :)

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Dec 20 2011

Now Is The Time

Last week I experienced my first drop in clientele due to our “lovely” economy.  I won’t lie, it hurt.  Not emotionally because I knew I was doing a great job, but financially.  You see, that one client alone paid for my family’s insurance.

This is also a slow period for work.  Not a great combination, right?  I don’t know about you, but my business has certain times during the year where the pace is slower than normal.  The year-end holiday season just happens to be one of those times.  So, I’ve decided to use my new found time wisely.  Now is the time to search for more clients and amp up my marketing efforts.

Now is also the time to:

  • Get all my financial and tax documents ready for tax time
  • Finally get my new office organized and make a list of any supplies I still need
  • Create  a nice “Just Checking In” campaign on Send Out Cards (absolutely LOVE this program and highly recommend it) for my current clients
  • Update the “Welcome” page on my website to incorporate my knowledge and specialization of Send Out Cards
  • Create more articles to be scheduled and posted ahead of time so that when times get crazy, my articles won’t fall through the cracks
  • Clean out your work inbox by creating a separate email account (Gmail is always good and FREE) for all those subscriptions and newsletters and start changing the email addresses over.  Don’t put a forward on the new email address as it just defeats the purpose.
  • Enjoy this extra time with my family – for as long as it lasts  :)

Whatever the reason, whether it’s just a natural lull in business, the loss of a client, or a family emergency – NOW IS THE TIME!  Do something constructive with your new found time to help your business along for the next year.  You’ll appreciate the effort in the long rung, promise.  What things can you do in your spare time to create an even more profitable business for yourself?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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Aug 09 2011

I’ve Lost It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time of day:  Yesterday…early morning

 

I’ve simply lost it.  My car keys…that is.  Oh, and my son, too (but that’s later in the morning)!  Both are in the house, this I’m sure of.  I just can’t seem to find either!  I’ve been panicking all morning, but that doesn’t seem to be doing any good.  I’ve looked everywhere in both the most obvious and the not so obvious areas.  I’ve even employed my daughter to go on the hunt with me.  But, so far…no luck.

 

I have a pretty busy day (and quite a bit on my mind) and part of the day does in fact involve driving my car.  But, without my keys or my son, my day is at a standstill.  Sound familiar????

 

Time of day: Yesterday…early afternoon

 

I did eventually find my car keys, but not after A LOT of panic-induced stress and several emails to my husband.  As if he would know where my keys are, let alone our son, when he has been at work this whole time.  LOL

 

How did I find them you may be asking?  Actually, it was quite simple.  I just stopped looking.  Sounds a bit silly, right?  Well, after getting the last “leave me alone and just find them” email from the best husband in the world, I did just that.  I left things alone.

 

You see, we are in the midst of a move.  We are getting everything ready to be packed up by government movers and moving out of state.  So essentially, our home is a bit of disarray at the moment.  There are things on counter tops that aren’t normally there.  Papers, books and yes, KEYS, get moved from one place to another all day long.  No wonder I can’t keep track of them.  Add to that the small fact that I recently changed out my key chain that I’ve had for a better part of ten years for a new, more classic looking one and you have the workings of a small tsunami.  That being said, I did eventually find the keys.  They were actually hanging in the spot they were supposed to be at.  Go figure!

 

As for my son….well, I left him alone, too.  Please don’t think I’m a bad mother, I’m not.  But in a house with only 1300 square feet, I knew he couldn’t have gone far.  I also knew he loved making forts and it was well past his nap time.  My chances were pretty good that he not only was close by, but was actually snoozing for a change.  Far be it from me to interrupt what could very well be one of the last little naps he takes.  At least until we are settled in our new home.

 

Sure enough, I heard a faint, “Mama,” coming from upstairs.  When I followed the voice, I found my precious son.  He had indeed made a fort, in the back of my room.  That’s why I didn’t find him earlier.  Normally, the kids know Mama and Papa’s room is off limits.  Somehow, at that particular moment, that didn’t seem to matter.  What mattered was my son was safe (although in the back of my mind, I knew this) and that he had taken a good nap.  Never mind the fact that I spent all that precious time wondering around the house looking for him and my keys, instead of working on client projects.

 

That just didn’t matter.

 

Time of day: Today….early morning

 

I spent this morning reading.  Not just any book, but a fictional book.  One that I’ll probably write a review for in a later blog post.  But that’s beside the point.

 

I made a conscious effort this morning to read my book and drink a cup of coffee instead of taking the elusive quiet time and get a jump start on my work day.  Why?  Because I didn’t want another day of lost items, children or my mind.

 

In the next few weeks things are going to get pretty hectic and while my husband is winding things down at his current job, I will be the one who is looked to, to keep things moving along.  Between soccer games, returning those finally found library books, cooking dinners-while at the same time creatively using up the reminder of the food in this house so as to not waste it, working on keeping my client projects up to date and ensuring them of a smooth transition while moving, I’ve got quite a bit to juggle.  But, with some organization and some good time management systems in place, things will work out just fine.  What would you do in this situation?  How would you keep things moving along and what systems would you use?

 

So with a quiet contentment about me, I am off to start my day.  And to be honest, I don’t feel a bit guilty for taking some much needed “me” time this morning.  I know I have things to do, but I now have a much clearer head and am ready to face the day.  Oh, and the 80’s music in the background is doing a world of good too!

 

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Jun 20 2011

Quick Ideas to Cross Off Your To-Do List

“To-Do” lists.  Everyone has them.  Some even have multiple lists!  YIKES!!!  But, do you ever notice those lists never seem to shrink?  In fact, they seem to get larger by the day; at least in my case.  :)

 

Well, I’ve come up with 15 items that may be on your list that can each be done in five minutes or less!  Even better, it gets those measly items checked off that growing list of yours.  What I suggest, is writing these items onto your list or whichever list it corresponds to and once you’ve completed the task, mark it off.

 

Write it on my list just to turn around and mark it off?  That’s crazy!  Not really.  What it does is trick your mind into thinking your accomplishing a project or task.  That in turn will make you feel like you are actually making headway.  And you are!  In addition, it adds just enough motivation to help you push past that plateau and on to the next item on your list.

 

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged.  All of these “tasks” are small and can fit into any schedule.  Trust me.

 

  1. Schedule that consultation with a VA you’ve been meaning to get to.
  2. Shred something…or buy that shredder for the office that you’ve been meaning to.
  3. Empty the dishwasher.
  4. Reply to 3 emails…make it good ones, those that are pressing, not ones from your family that was a forward of a forward-those can wait until after hours.
  5. Preheat your oven for dinner.
  6. Organize your file cabinet by tossing at least 5 old files you no longer need.
  7. Check your voicemail.
  8. Get rid of all expired medicine in the medicine cabinet…this includes old vitamins, too!
  9. Step away from your computer and do a few stretches.
  10. Write that “Thank you” note that you’ve been putting off.  The recipient would like to be acknowledged.
  11. Update your family/work calendar to show all graduation and wedding invites.
  12. Go through your coupons and recycle the expired ones and paperclip the valid ones to your grocery list.
  13. Clean out your laptop bag, purse or backpack and toss all the trash.
  14. Clean up your computer files by putting uncategorized ones in the appropriate folders.
  15. Jot down at least 5 ideas for your next blog posts.

 

Do you have any tasks that you would like to share?  What types of tasks/projects are on your “To-Do” list(s)?  Have you been successful in accomplishing them?  I would love to hear from you!

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Jun 13 2011

Restless Heart – A Review –

Published by under Book Reviews

So, I am totally a “real” book kind of gal.  And I still hope to one day open up a used book store.  But, since my wonderful husband got me an Internet tablet, I’ve been using the heck out of the eReader portion!  In fact, my local library – Hawn Memorial Library, now has an eMedia Library that I’m excited to be using.  You can “check” books out online and they are generally due in approximately 14 days – the same way you would in person.  So far I’ve been able to sneak time in to read two (2) books.  LOL

 

In fact, the latest one-“Restless Heart” by Wynonna Judd is the one that I wanted to talk about.  Many of you know Wynonna Judd as both a solo artist as well as part of the group, The Judds.  But, did you know she was a writer???  I sure didn’t!  I was scanning the new release items within the eMedia Library and came across this title.  I took a gander at what it was about and decided to check it out.

 

In short, the book is about a girl, Destiny Hart, who grows up in a military family and moves from town to town.  Once her dad retires from the military and plants roots in Kentucky, Destiny finally can settle into a normal life.  She was dared by one of her friends to get up and sing in front of an audience.  It was then that Destiny knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.  The book chronicles the ups and downs of making it in the music business and the strength it takes to stay your ground…no matter the cost.

 

What struck a chord in me was the thought that you couldn’t have it all.  Meaning, if you have more than one dream, you have to choose between the two.  Who says????  Yes, achieving your dreams or goals is hard work and trying to achieve more than one could be even harder to obtain, but it’s not impossible.  The inner struggle that Destiny finds herself in, is one that many of us have experienced at one time or another – “Should I go for it (your dream) or should I take the road that everyone “expects” me to take?”  Do you know which direction she chose????  Pick up the book and read it and find out for yourself.

 

What would you do if you had to make a choice between two pretty amazing dreams?  Have you been in that situation before?  If so, what was your ultimate decision?  I would love to hear it!

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May 31 2011

Operations Manuals-Do You Have One?

Operations manuals. 

Everyone needs one, but no one has one.  Sound familiar?  It should. 

How many of you have a manual in your office?  Is it up-to-date or “in the works?”  Have you even considered creating one?

If you own a business, the answer should be a resounding YES.  However, many of us tend to put this “little” project on the backburner for when we have more time to work on it.  But, that time never seems to come, does it?  Well, now is as good a time as any.

I was one of those who was always putting that task off; thinking it would one day miraculously appear whole and complete.  Boy was I wrong!  I was also wrong in thinking it would swallow up my time.  I didn’t really start thinking about my own operations manual until a client of mine asked me to create one for her.  I thought, “What a daunting task!  This is going to take forever!”  But, it didn’t.  Honest.  After I completed her manual, I decided to go on and create manuals for all of my clients.  Not only is this an invaluable asset to your client’s business, but it shows initiative on your part!

Here is the simple truth.  If you go through your normal work routine and document the steps as you go, your basic operations manual could theoretically be done in a one day.  Yes, one day!  It doesn’t have to be perfect and it certainly doesn’t have to be pretty.  You always have the option of going back and revising and “beautifying” your manual once you have the basics down.  Just as long as you start it…today!  Remember to keep it simple enough for someone to walk in and be able to pick up right where you left off, should the need arise.  Better still, you don’t even have to print it out, unless you just like to have that reference handy.  However, you do want to make sure it’s accessible, whether in paper form or electronically.  This way you can hand it off to someone if it’s requested.

 Remember, the sooner you start this process the better you’ll feel about having your policies and procedures in place.  Wouldn’t that truly be a load of your shoulders???

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