Regardless of what you do for a living, developing a morning routine is really important in order to get the most out of your day! There are certainly several things you can do to help transform your morning routine from a rushed affair into something calm and productive. Here are some of our top tips below to help improve your mood, mindset and wellbeing.
Wake up a bit earlier
Yes, you might wonder why on earth we would suggest that. But in fact, waking up a bit earlier is hugely beneficial for getting your day off to a calm start. Do you ever set your alarm as late as possible? Or worse, snooze your alarm endlessly? Whilst it might be tempting to get as much sleep as possible, you’ll most likely end up tumbling out of bed in a stressful rush, with absolutely no time for yourself before you have to wash, dress and get on with your day. By waking up earlier, you allow yourself a bit of extra time to have some calm before the day ahead, perhaps make a drink and take it back to bed, or read, meditate and reflect. Starting your day calmly will make a world of difference.
Don’t immediately pick up your phone
With so many of us now using our phones as alarms, it can be tempting to start scrolling as soon as we wake up. No sooner have our eyes opened, we’re checking our social media feeds and worse, our emails, and this means we almost instantly start stressing about the day ahead! This tip very much links to the one above – instead of reaching straight for your phone, use your extra wake up time to do something calming away from your screen. There will be plenty of time for screens and emails as the day unfolds!
Drink lemon water
An interesting nutritional tip but drinking lemon water is in fact the best beverage to start your day with (before reaching for the coffee.) This is because lemon water spikes your energy both physically and mentally and gives you an energy that will last all day because it improves nutrient absorption in the stomach. Plus, it’s super refreshing after a nights’ sleep!
This is probably one you’ve heard a million times but eating breakfast really will get your day off to the best possible start. It’s very easy to just grab a coffee and charge out of the house without eating, but this will only send your energy levels crashing later on in the morning. People who eat breakfast have more stable blood sugar levels – and eating a good breakfast will improve short-term memory, concentration and productivity in your day!
Ensure your workspace is clear
This is actually something you can do to help yourself the night before, but always make sure you have a clear workspace. Whether your work in an office, or you work from home, sitting down to start the day at a clear work station is so much better than sitting down to piles of papers, mess and rubbish from the day before. Polish or clean your desk regularly, get on top of your filing and make sure you keep on top of your station so that every morning you can sit down and get straight on, instead of having to spend time cleaning up!
Set goals for the day
Research has proven that setting out goals – however small – for the day ahead can really increase feelings of confidence and control. Narrow down your goals into manageable outcomes so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t just say ‘I want to finish my article’ but perhaps be more constructive, and say something like ‘I’m going to spend an hour writing up the ending of my article by completing the last three points and spending no more than twenty minutes on each section.’ That way you have something to achieve and way to achieve it.
Mastering your morning routine can really revolutionise the outcome of your day – so why not just start with one of the above ideas and see how you feel!!
No one can dispute the rise of the Virtual Assistant these days, and we are well known for our organisational abilities and desire to make your life easier! But did you know that a VA is also one of the top ways to actually GROW your business? We can do a lot more than help you sustain your business, we can help it evolve too – and even just (5 or 10) hours a week can help with this.
Maximise time with a VA in order to grow your business
Without a doubt, your most valuable asset is time! You might simply be flat out throughout the workday getting client and business work done, but what about the time you need to spend on developing new ideas for your business? If you don’t allow yourself enough time to spend on generating these ideas, or building new relationships, then you might find that you hit a wall in terms of growth. Hiring a remote Virtual Assistant for only 5/10 hours a week reaps huge benefits in terms of releasing a bit of time back to you – this is because a VA is incredibly efficient and will only focus only on the tasks you give them, allowing you to focus on increasing revenue and brainstorming new ideas!
VA’s are one of the most cost-effective ways to grow a business
We all know that businesses are driven by people and, if you want to grow and take on more work/clients, then you’re going to need more people on your team. However, taking on a VA instead of a full-time employee will save you a huge amount of money on employee benefits, HR expenditures and a long recruitment process. A VA can work flexibly, remotely and within the budget that you set – which means that you can allocate money to other areas of your business instead of pouring it all into one employee and can therefore grow in a more robust way!
VA’s can help with your customer service and relationships
Customer service is key in business, and enquiries from customers can increase rapidly as your business expands. This is actually something a VA can help with! Responding to customer enquiries is one of the most time-sensitive business areas, and we VA’s can help you respond to all your customer queries and communications quickly and efficiently, to save any time lag before you can get to them. We can also help you respond quickly to queries that come through on social media, which is increasingly being used for customer queries. A VA can really act as the eyes and ears for your business, helping you to stay super responsive to customers and protect your brand’s reputation!
VA’s can support in times of rapid change
The nature of a VA is to work efficiently and flexibly, and we are also capable of handling large volumes of work, along with changing priorities. This means that if your business suddenly needs to shift priorities, or big changes come about, then a VA can be incredibly flexible with support during this time. It also makes it easier for you to adapt to changing business needs, without the worry that staff members in a set role may not be able to adapt.
A VA can help you increase productivity and progress
Often, MD’s and entrepreneurs can get pulled down by admin tasks that take up too much time. A VA can in fact help to create a more streamlined operation, by putting new systems and processes into place, organising a comprehensive filing system and managing your diary/calendar to ensure you’re being as productive with your time as you can. Also, because VA’s often work remotely, it does force both sides to really focus on effective communication in order to get things done and get them done well. Ultimately, this paves the way for a much more productive business! And if you aren’t being bogged down by mundane tasks, you’ll be freed up to focus on driving your business forward.
A VA can add real, practical value that will help your business evolve
Finally, as VA’s, we are not just secretarial. A lot of us have a wide range of other business skills that may will be related to your business and prove to be incredibly useful! For example, we have experience with social media, blog writing, client relationship management, HR, marketing and creative skills – and all of these can be super useful if you’re in need of a second pair of eyes (or hands) and need someone to go the extra mile!
With more and more companies embracing flexible working models, and lots of us now setting up businesses on our own, remote working is becoming far more widely embraced than ever before.
The internet and digital revolution mean that more of us our now working from our own homes instead of from the office. And whilst this might sound like the dream scenario - adjusting to a new routine away from a formal office can take some doing - and mastering your own day when there’s only you to discipline yourself does take a bit of work.
We think the benefits of remote working hugely outweigh any drawbacks but read on for our thoughts on why it’s a positive way to work, and how to make sure you’re mastering it productively.
There are lots of benefits to working remotely. You don’t have a commute (no travel costs!) and if you’re setting your own routine then you have total flexibility away from the rigidity of a strict 9-5.
You might be working for yourself, or for someone else; but either way, if you’re the type of person who is happy to work in a remote capacity then it can be one of the best ways to achieve a better sense of work/life balance.
Working remotely opens up opportunities in terms of not being limited by your location and it’s also a great way to work if you’re a start-up or small business who doesn’t want the cost of overheads. From hugely reduced stress levels, to feeling more comfortable in your environment and noticing increased productivity, if you’re happy in your work environment then you’re going to be happier in your job and better at it.
Plus, with the internet there isn’t really much you can’t do from home now – you can take calls, field emails and carry out important tasks all with the help of the internet, so the possibilities are endless!
Your Work Space
There are of course some key tools you will need in order to successfully work remotely.
One of the key things for this is your work space. It goes without saying that you’ll need a designated place to work where your brain can officially switch into ‘work’ mode and out of ‘home’ mode.
In an ideal world, you’d have your own office, but if that isn’t possible, then a set space in your home which is quiet and organised which you can make your own in whatever way you can will be best.
Try and ensure you have somewhere to file paperwork, collate all ‘work’ related items and keep anything related to your job or your business all in once place. It’s important to keep your ‘work’ time and activities within this area, and not spread throughout each room in your house, as you need to ensure there’s a cut off between your home life and your work life.
You also get the added bonus of making your workspace into a total creation of your own without formal office limits, so if you want lots of plans, nice rugs or a vibrant work desk then that’s absolutely your decision – how liberating!
Boundaries and Distractions
It all sounds pretty freeing, but it does take some micro management to keep a solid line between your work life and your home life.
There is a lot to be said for ‘leaving work’ at the end of the day, and if you’re working from your own home, it’s important to strike a balance. It’s certainly harder to shut the door on things when you’re remaining in the same building.
It will take some self-control to make sure you clock off when you should, and certainly if you have your computer nearby, the temptation to go and check emails or tackle outstanding tasks will be easy to give in to sometimes – but this is where you need to be extra disciplined and ensure you’re allocating your time as you would if you worked in an office, and ‘leave’.
It’s super important to know what your distractions are too – especially when you’re in your own home and there are plenty of potential things to get side-tracked by. If the dirty dishes are going to bug you, then make sure they’re done the night before, or if it’s the laundry and mess around the house, then again, make sure it’s done before you sit down to work or it will annoy you all day!
Setting a routine is actually more important than ever when you’re working remotely or working for yourself, as without a proper structure, you can end up procrastinating, wasting time or feeling overwhelmed.
We’d recommend setting out planned hours for your work day – perhaps the night before depending on what you have going on – and utilising apps or lists that can help you with your organisation!
The joy of remote working is that you can set your own routine, but it can be easy to go the other way and get caught up in tasks without stopping. We suggest always getting up for some fresh air at regular intervals and taking a short break for lunch to clear your mind. Often you can be so engrossed in a task that you’ll forget to take time out, but you’ll thank yourself for it when you head back to your desk refreshed.
Ultimately, remote working isn’t for everybody and it won’t necessarily suit every company, but for a lot of us, it’s a fantastic way to work if you’re prepared to be disciplined, structured manage your time appropriately!
With work days getting busier and teams of staff getting bigger, the digital world has opened so many new doors to apps and software that can help improve workflow and project management.
At KM, organisation is at the heart of what we do, so finding the perfect app to help us with this took a bit of trial and error, but we’ve now found one that we couldn’t be without – and that’s Asana.
Asana is a work management platform that does wonders for organisation, productivity and project management, it’s easy to use, and has transformed the way we prioritise tasks, allocate duties and hit goals for our clients.
How it works
Asana is very much about bringing everything into one place. Gone are the days of frantic list-writing on stray bits of paper (which are easy to misplace if you aren’t careful) and instead, welcome to a place where your lists can ALL be in one place, added to and edited regularly, and prioritised out into client projects and individual team tasks – you need never lose anything again!
Asana can be downloaded to your desktop, phone and used online – so you can access it anywhere. When you log in for the first time, you can create profiles and logins for all your team members – so everyone can create their own lists. You can also set about creating names and colour codes for your client projects - this is fantastic because you can then allocate your tasks to the appropriate client, so everything is neatly colour coded and minimises confusion!
At KM, we have lots of clients, and consequently lots of tasks and projects to stay on top of. We also have a number of team members and Asana is a place where we can allocate tasks, prioritise and keep everyone in the loop of progress.
Asana is brilliant for getting you organised, as each day, you can have a list set out of all your tasks that are due. You can allocate tasks by time, day and date and so that you’re working in line with deadlines.
For example, on a Monday morning, you might have five task requests come in from a client, but only two are critical, and the rest are less time sensitive. In this case, you can create the tasks, add in what you need to do, and then prioritise accordingly – you can set the urgent tasks to have deadlines ‘today’ and then schedule the other tasks in for later in the week.
You can also allocate the tasks to the correct client project code, and then allocate it to a team member, or to yourself. This means that you can view every task for a particular client in one place – which is super-efficient.
Working as a team
Asana is great for when you have multiple team members, or several people working on one task – everything is accessible in once place.
Firstly, you can allocate tasks as they come in to team members, letting them know what’s needed and when it needs to be done by. Within each task, there’s the facility for comments and notes, which means as someone is working through a task, they can send regular updates on progress, so that someone else knows exactly what’s going on and can pick it up if necessary, or simply know that it’s in hand.
You can also upload files and photos to each task, so that you can share documents for review, photographs for reference and ensure that everything to do with that particular task or project is kept in one place.
You can also use the Inbox to send messages and alerts and shift priorities and deadlines where necessary.
Elements we love
There are some extra bits on Asana that we particularly love, which are well worth mentioning!
You can set tasks to ‘repeat’ so that nothing gets forgotten. For example, if every day you need to monitor a clients’ inbox, you can set that to repeat daily – once you’ve ticked it off for the day, it will automatically move into a task for tomorrow. This is super handy! Or if you have a monthly task for a client, you can schedule it to repeat on a monthly basis – you’ll never forget to do anything again!
You can also look at tasks by category, such as ‘tasks I’ve created’, ‘tasks I’ve assigned to others’ and ‘recently completed tasks’ – it can be great to see the recently completed tasks in case you need quickly reflect on something.
Asana is also fantastic for keeping a record of things. If you need to look up something you did two months ago – it’ll be there stored in Asana if you search for it!
Ticking off and completing tasks is so satisfying too, and what we really love is that if you’re lucky, you get a little unicorn or happy creature dance across the screen to celebrate the completion.
Oh and did we mention that it integrates with lots of other useful applications too, like Outlook and Slack!
Of course, this is just our opinion. But you should check it out for yourself, it’s free on the basic version (which isn’t very basic at all!) so you really have nothing to lose! Click here to go to their home page
There’s no doubt about it – HR can be a bit of a minefield. Whether you have one staff member, or one thousand, the list of things you need to stay on top of can often feel endless!
From the initial recruitment process through to hiring, paperwork, training, motivating, promoting, disciplining and monitoring, HR is often something that a small business is in need of help with. Oh, and not to mention staying in the loop with employment law and legislation changes too!
Alongside everything else you have to do to keep your business running, outsourcing your HR is one way to make sure you’re at the top of your game. As companies grow, it can become difficult to juggle things like employee benefits and payroll concerns but taking on a full time HR professional in house often just isn’t possible.
Luckily, at KM Virtual Office, we can help you regardless of how many employees you may have and without needing a full-time staff member.
Here are some of the things we can help you with:
Achieving your vision
HR can help you source the best people, protect your company by ensuring you’re up to date with legislation, and make your business more attractive to employees by ensuring they are fairly (and well) looked after.
A lot of these functions take up a great deal of time, so an extra pair of hands will often release back valuable time for other things. Our qualified HR consultants are on hand to offer support on an ad hoc or project basis, or as retained services, in a flexible manner which means you can work in a way that suits you best.
Recruitment and Selection
Getting the right people into your business is crucial for any organisation, big or small. Sourcing, recruiting and retaining talent is essential, but it can be a big challenge for SME's due to time and lack of resources.
At KM, we can support you by carefully creating tailored job descriptions and person specifications, placing job advertisements, interviewing and guiding the employee through induction.
This will save you huge amounts of time, but also ensure that you’re getting the best people into your business.
Holiday, Sickness & Absence Management
It’s vital to stay on top of your records! We can create robust documents and processes for managing and reporting absence and managing situations to ensure you are prepared for short or long-term sickness.
It's important that your documents are straight forward so your employees know where they stand. Without the correct procedures, you also run the risk of being inconsistent, which could mean treating people differently or unfairly.
We will work with you to create and maintain your company handbooks and employment contracts; policies and procedures reflect the working practices in your organisation ensuring you remain up to date and compliant.
Cloud Based HR Systems
Cloud based HR systems are becoming incredibly popular and managing these for clients is something our HR consultants to a lot of.
These systems can automate your day to day tasks to streamline HR processes and improve employee engagement and performance, leaving you and your managers time to do what they do best!
If this sounds appealing, then get in touch with us today for a chat about how we could help you with your HR needs!