Alicia Grace Co

Planning

Do You Have A Business Back-Up Plan?

Guest Posts, Entrepreneurship, PlanningRaakhee StrattonComment
 Do you have a business back-up plan? Learn why you NEED to create one today. No more procrastinating.

If you are self-employed and find yourself in a position where you can’t carry out your work, what will happen to your clients?

My visit to A&E

I recently became ill for the first time since becoming self-employed. It started off with mild headaches and by the end of the week, I found it difficult to look at light, my head was constantly pounding and became worse every time I moved my head. I was constantly sweating and by Friday, I added neck stiffness to the ever-growing list. I was still working throughout this but by Friday lunchtime, I sent a message to my client to say that I really wasn’t feeling well and I will be logging off. I’m not sure how I managed it but I completed all the tasks she needed me to do.
 
After calling NHS Direct, I was advised by the on-call doctor that I should immediately go to A&E. He mentioned meningitis on the phone but it didn’t register with me until I was in the taxi. The waiting time at the hospital was four hours but I was seen incredibly quickly and the nurses and doctors who looked after me were friendly, quick and efficient. I was only in the hospital for about five hours and while I was there, it got me thinking: if it turned out that I was seriously ill and needed to stay in the hospital for a few days, what would happen to my clients?

Hit by a bus plan

I had heard people mention the ‘get hit by a bus’ plan but it was something I had never thought about seriously. Before I started my business, I had always been an employee so if someone was off sick, it was the responsibility of my employer to deal with the workload. More often than not, any extra work was shared with colleagues.

Do you have a plan?

After being discharged from the hospital, I posed the question to other small business owners asking how many of them had a back-up plan; some said it was on their to-do list, some said it wasn’t something they had even considered, but only a handful said they had a plan. By raising the question, it made a lot of them think about the seriousness of what would happen to their clients and their businesses.

Another SME story

I recently arranged for a company to clean my windows and guttering. After confirming to the owner that I was happy with the quote and wanted to proceed, it took a week to receive a reply from the owner to say that he had snapped a part of his Achilles tendon and had to cancel all his work.
 
Another week passed and I was surprised to receive a call from him asking if I was happy for him to carry out the work and would be at my home within the hour. I had mentioned that I was writing this blog and he told me that he didn’t have a plan. He wasn’t in a position to lose any work and he had no-one else to carry out the work if he had allowed the hospital to put his leg in plaster. He also told me he had a heart attack a few years ago and was advised that he needed to take quite a few months off to rest, but he was back to work three weeks after being discharged from the hospital.

I have my plan. What’s yours?

Since my brief visit to hospital, I now have a note on my desk so my husband knows who to contact and I’m in the process of teaming up with another Virtual Assistant to take on my work so my clients don’t have to worry about who will carry out their work if I am unable to do it.
 
If you don’t have a back-up plan, it may be time to seriously consider your options and to put a plan in place.


About the Author: Raakhee Stratton
 Author: Raakhee Stratton

Raakhee Stratton is a Virtual PA based in Ashford, Kent and provides support to Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Authors. Raakhee has a real passion for helping business owners by managing their admin while they look after their customers.

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How To Plan Your Week In Tough Times: 6 Tips

Planning, Productivity, Time ManagementAlicia GraceComment

Whether you’re having a bad week, month, or year, it can be tough as a freelancer to buckle down and get to work when your head isn’t in the game. And in a world of Facebook, Netflix, and kittens, there are a million ways for our minds to wander when we’re going through a rough patch. 

When you finally do get down to business, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the work, the marketing, the networking, the follow up, the numbers, the statistics—it’s all a little too much at times. The important part is to develop a process that works for you.

 
 Learn 6 ways you can stay on track and plan your week when you're going through a rough patch.
 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

1. Get It Out

You’ve got seven mental lists going at any given time, ranging from what needs to get done immediately for your current clients all the way to what you want to buy your family for Christmas. Your head can positively swirl with all the junk that needs to get done. The best course of action here is to get it all out. 

Grab a notebook and start a new list on each page. Get all the details out so you don’t have to kill yourself trying to remember it all. Once it’s on paper, it’s no longer cluttering your brain, and you reduce the risk of missing something super important. 

2. Break It Down

If you’ve got a full plate, but you don’t feel like starting on any of it, it’s easy to just write off the day as a failure and let the gremlins take you to a place of guilt and frustration. Don’t let valuable time slip away from you because your brain is making you feel lazy as heck. Break up your tasks into small, bite-sized pieces to make them feel like less of a burden. 

Try some of the awesome business software out there like Trello, Dubsado, or 17Hats. These project management systems can help you break down your tasks into manageable pieces, so you don’t get weighed down by how many things you need to do for every project. 

3. Just Do One Thing

I know, it’s easier said than done. Remember, any movement is better than no movement. If you’re having a tough time getting yourself to find the discipline to get started, give yourself a single, simple task and a timeline. You have one hour to get write this blog post. You have thirty minutes to write an email to this possible client. You have fifteen minutes to make this two-second call you’ve been dreading. Just prompt yourself to get one thing done. 

The excitement and relief you’ll get after doing it will make you feel so accomplished, that you may just start a second task! 

4. Phone a Friend

When you’re stuck in a rut or feeling depressed, the best thing to do is to talk to someone. You may not feel like it, but friends can be wonderful motivators. Challenge yourself to reach out. Get coffee, or just invite them to your house for coffee so you don’t even need to get out of your pajamas. A little bit of social time will go a long way. 

Once you’ve got your friend’s ear, let them know how you’ve been feeling and about your lack of motivation. I guarantee they’ve been through the same thing before at some point. They might even have a great hack for you to break back into the game. If nothing else, your friend’s sympathetic mumbles of “been there” will help you remember that this is temporary and you are not alone.

5. Treat Yo’self

It’s all about action and reward. Did you get a post written? Good. You get a cookie. Did you make that call? Excellent, take a ten minute break. If you train yourself to know that once you finish a task, you get a little reward, you’re much more likely to start getting things done. 

6. Remember That It’s Okay

You may not be putting in the 12-hour work days you were doing a month ago, but don’t beat yourself up because you’re not a machine. Just put one foot in front of the other and know your limits. It’s okay to have a tough time. It’s okay to feel depressed. What’s not okay is doing nothing about it. Even if you didn’t accomplish anything but taking a shower, remember that’s a step forward. Give yourself the love and self-care you need to feel better, so you can get back to the life you love. 


About the Author: Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski
 About the Author: Kelsey O'Shaughnessy Podgorski

Kelsey is the owner of Noted & Noticed, where she helps non-writers and sort-of writers create kick-ass copy to grow their businesses and nonprofits. Kelsey has been writing for nearly eight years and loves to help people get creative in telling their story. To learn more, visit Kelsey at notedandnoticed.com.


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How To Make the Best Use of Your Planners

PlanningCorrine Lin4 Comments
 
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We are almost stepping into the last quarter of the year and it's almost time to shop for new planners again. Almost. 

But wait, how many planners have you used to the end? Or rather, how many have you changed before the year reaches June? 

It's all about planning your planner with a goal in mind. 

Have you ever written stuffs down on your planner but forget to look at them or even forget that they existed? 

Here, we'll share a few tips on how to make the best use of the planner you have in hand, or to prepare for your next planner. 

Before Getting Your New Planner

Decide what type of planners work best for you

Do you prefer bullet journals? Do you like to write a lot on your daily planner? What size of planners are you comfortable with, in terms of space and portability? 

Be vigilant about using the right type of planner that works for you, for instance, refrain from using bullet planners if they confuses you and if they don't relate to you. You might not enjoy jotting down in point form. 

Once You Have Got Your Planner

Decide how you want to use your planner

Do you want to include everything in your planner including your life goals, bucket list, future goals, etc? Do you want to include other areas of your life in your planner such as your business list, or your inspirational quotes in the same planner? Or do you want to just focus on your activities for one year?

If you have a bullet planner, a monthly overview, a weekly planner and a daily planner, it will make your life difficult when you have to update all the different sections with the same activities. It will only add more tasks to your day and frustrations if you have to take more time to arrange and rearrange them.

Map out your planner content on a draft first

Set aside some time to plan how you want your planner to be arranged.

Otherwise your planner will look messy and dirty, which will prompt you to change a new one perhaps even before the new year starts. 

Sort your planner according to your preference

There are several ways you can sort your planner out to achieve the best efficiency when you use them. 

For instance, you could sort by your favourite colour and add stickers or tags to mark important pages, or sort by importance or functionality.

Use and record only what you need 

It's tempting to want to include everything we want in our planner, especially when we try to make it all-in-one with our life, career, health goals, motivational quotes, pictures, etc in there. However, it may make your planner bulky and heavy.

Decide what you want to keep in your planner and see if you could keep the rest in a separate booklet or file that you can refer to occasionally. 

So there you have it, planning your planner with a plan in mind. 

Planners are great with they are beautiful and new. Beautiful planners motivate us to write nicer and jot down more great memories. However, it is also about being effective and efficient when we can get the best out of our planners as they are meant to make our live easier as well.


About the Author: Corrine Lin

Corrine writes and coaches at L3 Hub, where she inspires and motivates girls and women to live true to themselves with self-confidence and self-leadership. She is also passionate about achieving success through goal setting and proper planning with the maximum effectiveness and efficiency. She can be reached at corrine@l3hub.org or at the L3 Hub Facebook Page.


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How To Plan Your Ideal Week in 5 Steps

Planning, ProductivityAlicia GraceComment
 Your ideal week can become REALITY. Learn how you can make this happen.

We all have fantasies about an ideal week: waking up excited to start the day on Monday morning, accomplishing all of your tasks each day, going to sleep at a decent time each night, and having time to relax and have fun with loved ones. My ideal week includes taking my furry friend for a walk every evening.

Even though life has a way of sending surprises along the way, there’s something you can do to make your ideal week a reality: planning it out. In this post, I’ll share with you exactly how you can do this.

1. Set aside time to plan

Your ideal week deserves some thought and care. Pick a time before it starts to plan it out. Over the weekend is usually best, though if you are planning your work week, you may prefer to do this on Friday at the end of the day.

2. Pick your focus

Having a focus - a few goals, or even a single one - is the best thing you can do when planning out your week.

Set out your goals on a piece of paper. Make sure that at least one of your goals is in line with a larger goal. If you want to go back to school, for example, one of your goals could be to research universities, or speak to people about their experiences.

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3. Think about what is realistic

Ideal does not mean out of reach. You just have to be a bit realistic about it! Reflect on the week that has just ended - what went right, what went totally wrong, and what you want to work on for next week.

4. Time block

Before you start scheduling your tasks, block out the times you’ve already committed yourself to: school, work, appointments.

5. Plan your tasks

Once you have your schedule and tasks in front of you, it’s time to start planning out your tasks. Some things can be done throughout the week - put that in a weekly to do list. Write down things that have to be done at specific times on the individual days. That way, you won’t forget what you have to do.

Again, be realistic. Look at the time you have left after you have time blocked, and decide what you can get done during those periods.


Ready to plan your ideal week? My Time Planning Kit is the perfect tool for you.