5 Secrets For Beating Procrastination

Pssst! Chances are, you’re reading this, imagining a whisper voice, because that’s how secrets are typically shared.

Well not today! I’m shouting from the rooftops in order to make sure you find your best success, and beat procrastination. These 5 secrets will help you do just that, and before my shouting voice wears out – let’s get right to ’em!

1. Must Do’s Are A Must

My daughter is always teaching me what she learns in school. One of her teachers implemented a morning routine most likely to get the kids settled first thing as class starts. But it’s so brilliant, I’m stealing it to illustrate my first secret.

As class begins, my daughter’s teacher goes over the Must Do’s and the May Do’s for the day. The Must Do’s are the things that must get done by a certain time. They are the worksheets, writing assignments, or whatever project was not completed the day prior. The Must Do’s are the non-negotiable items. The May Do’s are whatever might be left to tackle.

Secret number 1 is simply this: set up your day to include the Must Do’s and May Do’s. Instead of constantly putting the tasks that plague you at the top of your list only to skip it and move on to the easier tasks, make it a Must Do. Make a deal with yourself that nothing else happens until it’s done.

2. Get Your Butt Out Of Bed

Sickeningly enough, it’s some sort of proven fact early risers get more done, are more productive, feel more confident, and even make healthier choices regarding food and exercise throughout the day. Ugh.

So why do the rest of us hit snooze over and over? As hard as it is, challenge yourself to get up earlier. Even starting 15 minutes earlier will begin to re-train your brain and soon, you’ll be in the 5:00 a.m. club with all the cool kids, knocking out the most important tasks before the dog needs let out or the littles start to stir.

Getting up early will leave you free to work on whatever you want to after you Must Do’s are taken care of.

Need a little help convincing yourself getting up early is worthwhile? Try reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, or Andy Traub’s The Early To Rise Experience. And no, those aren’t affiliate links. I’m just trying to make your life easier by linking directly to the product.

3. Have A Process

So much time is spent procrastinating because we’re not sure where to even get started jumping in to a project. When we look at the process as a whole, we can get overwhelmed to the point of paralyzation.

Jeff Sutherland wrote a fantastic book on doing more in half the time. You can get it here, and I’m just putting it out there that this book and this process changed my life for the better.

How my new non-procrastinating process works for me is by first brain-dumping everything involved in a project. Once everything is down, I categorize tasks in to things I need to do (and times in which to do them), things I’m already doing, and things I’ve got done. As I need to do, start doing, and get things done, I move them from the list they were in when I started to the list they’re supposed to be in according to what I’m doing and how it aligns with my process.

Whatever – it works for me, and it might for you too. But if I’m speaking in tongues as it were, just go buy the Scrum book. You don’t even have to send me a thank-you card later.

4. Find Accountability

Meet with your mentor, your coach, or call a girlfriend or your buddy and tell them what you’re working on. Ask them to send you a check-in text on a certain day, or at a certain time. Don’t feel like you’re in it by yourself, and you’ll be more prone to finishing strong knowing others are counting on you, or cheering you on.

The key here is finding an accountability partner who cares enough about what you’re doing, and invest themselves in your success to actually follow up with you. For me, this is my VA.

She slacks me (if you’re not familiar with Slack, read about it here) with reminders of things I said I was going to do. It’s incredibly helpful to have her hold me accountable (and humbling when I have to tell her I didn’t get to something).

5. Avoid Context Switching

Learn how to calendar your day (plan your time) and stick to what you say you’re going to do.

Be realistic here, in that you want to schedule only what you know you can do in a day. I immediately get frustrated when I wake up and see 12 major projects on my calendar for a Monday. Monday’s are set-the-stage days for me. I work on mission-critical things first thing Monday morning, and have client meetings only in the afternoon, and only when absolutely necessary.

It’s pointless to schedule task after task. Especially for me. I know I’ll context switch (hop from task to task and back again) every 25 minutes and I’ll end up working a 15-hour day. Blocking my schedule into manageable chunks of time is far more realistic, and helps me be far more productive.

I’m not usually one to spill secrets, but I’ve got a hunch you were needing to come across these today. If there’s more I can help you with (like finding your perfect VA), be sure to get in touch today – don’t procrastinate!

And when you’re blocking time on your calendar, make sure to write in some time to see the latest and greatest news we’re sharing over here. We love it when you stop by.

Now get to work.


5 Perks That Surprised Me About Working Virtually

Last week I shared with you 5 Perks I Expected From Working Virtually. While I got what I was looking for in those, they’re not the only perks that come with the territory of this career path. The truth is, some of the perks I’ve since experienced caught me by total surprise.

It’s no secret I love this work, and though I’ve been doing it for several years now, there were surprises. There still are surprises now and again, but I’m going to share with you the 5 surprise perks I came across working virtually.

5 Perks

1. Meeting People All Over the World

From the comfort of my own home office, I’ve been able to work with, interact with, and serve people from all over the world. I’ve worked with clients from Norway, Australia, Canada, and the list goes on.

I’ve worked in almost every time zone around the world, spoken with people on nearly every continent and participated in meetings with people I never would have had the chance of meeting otherwise.

It boggles my mind that, from my own little desk tucked away in Colorado, I’ve done business with people I never would have been able to do if I was working in an office, putting in my 8 to 5.

2. Relationships

It truly has surprised me that I’ve become such good friends with so many of my clients. I’ve been able to build really solid relationships and develop a strong rapport with them, despite not meeting in person, or working in the same office (or state, or country).

These aren’t just people I’ve added in my rolodex or tacked on to my Christmas card list. My VAs – my clients – they’ve become a part of my extended family, and I’m so grateful to call them friends.

I wasn’t expecting to grow so close to so many people so far away. Though it surprised me, it’s still counted as an absolute perk. One of my favorite perks at that.

3. Working From Anywhere

It seems like a “duh”, as the word virtual itself would insinuate working from different places. It surprised me though, just how mobile I’ve been able to be.

When I first started, I felt like I had to work at home. I had to stay at home. If I wasn’t in my dedicated office space off the living room, I wasn’t really working. I had trapped myself for a while, and started to lose my mind a little bit. Then I worked from Starbucks. And oh, the world that was opened.

I’ve worked from Cozumel, St. John, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, California – and any Starbucks. Have I mentioned how much I love Starbucks?

This can backfire, of course. There are places with horrible internet connections, traveling away from home always has it’s own set of struggles. Mostly, though, it’s been a perk I’ve totally loved. Working from anywhere is a real trip.

4. Learning

This one may be one of the bigger surprises for me. The opportunities to learn new things are endless. Not only is there an entire buffet of enriching material spread out for the picking – but you get to pick. You choose what you want to learn.

Interested in web development? Editing? Marketing? Building your tribe? Copy writing? Anything and everything you’re interested in is available, and ripe for the picking. You can learn at your leisure, in your budget, and in whatever strikes your fancy.

Initially, I had no idea just how many available resources there were, and now I find myself trying to find ways to keep up with them all. It’s an incredible freedom to be able to choose what I want to learn, and to watch my personal and professional life grow because of it.

5. My Value

This is one perk – or life lesson – that was a long time in coming, and certainly not one I expected right away. I get to charge what I’m worth. My time, my skills, my capacity – I get to set the margin for what I will and will not accept in charging for my work.

It’s not about getting rich quick, it’s not about digging for gold and getting the most I can from any given person. It’s about knowing what I am worth, and being confident enough to not take anything less.

It’s been a humbling, yet empowering lesson. I’ve learned my value. I’ve learned to be confident in knowing what my work is worth. And I’ve had the chance to work with some incredible people who believe in and support that worth.

I’ve listed 10 perks total, but really, they’ve become innumerable. Working virtually has opened up so many doors for me, and I couldn’t be happier. I know God has shown His favor on this business, and I know he has even more perks in store with this work.

5 Perks I Expected From Working Virtually

When I left my corporate job, and entered the world of working virtually, there were several perks I knew came with the territory. Who doesn’t love perks?

Today I’m going to share the top 5 perks I expected to benefit from when I began to work virtually. I’ll save the ones that surprised me for another post.

Read on and see if you’d have the same expectations I did when I started this journey.

1. Not having to dress up every day.

I, like many other people (women, especially), tend to be self-conscious about my appearance. Sorting through my closet to find clothes to wear is super stressful for me.

I don’t have that anxiety getting dressed for work anymore. I can wear a blouse I love, dress it up with one of my favorite necklaces (I like big necklaces – who’s with me?), and wear yoga pants. And slippers. And no one cares.

I’m comfortable in my clothing, and not at all worried about my waistline, hemline, or panty line.

Important business meetings I attend aren’t in front of board rooms. They’re held sitting down in front of my computer screen. In my “head shot zone”, I look professional and ready to go. No one needs to know I’m wearing yoga pants from Target instead of slacks from The Limited.

2. Taking the kids to school (and picking them up) every day

Working my corporate job, I usually didn’t get home until after 6:00 p.m. Homework was usually already done, the girls were onto bigger and better things after dinner, and I was generally just on clean-up duty.

Now, I get to have that time every morning helping them prepare for their day, and we get to spend the whole ride home together unwinding from it.

The flexibility is priceless. Being there for my kids and knowing they can depend on me to pick them up and drop them off each day is invaluable.

I expected the benefit of having more flexibility with my family, but I didn’t anticipate how much fuller it would make me feel. It’s definitely the most important perk for me.

3. Working when I’m at my peak performance

Again, it boils down to flexibility. I expected flexibility when I began working virtually. The great thing about being flexible, is I can work when I do my best work.

Believe it or not, not everyone’s creativity or productivity peaks between the hours of 8 – 5. Sometimes I’m up working at 10…11…midnight, because later is when I roll out my best stuff. That would have never have flown in the corporate world.

Another bonus: I get to nap. Instead of trying to dredge my way through that afternoon hit-the-wall period, doping up on caffeine and false motivations, I can take a mid-day siesta and get back to work when I can do better work.

Naps are also perks. Naps are definitely perks.

4. Getting to use my own tools

Working virtually is all about finding what works. I get to choose – and then use – whatever tools help me to be the most efficient.

What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. And that’s what’s so awesome about the type of work I do: I get to do it in the exact way that works best for me. I can individualize my productivity arsenal and rapid-fire through my work on my own terms.

I don’t have someone training me on a product I’ll never need or a program that’s 15 years behind our industry. I hand-pick the app, tool, or program that will do the job in the way I’ll understand best.

I’m not wasting time submitting a ticket requesting an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 2007, and waiting for it to be approved in eight different committees before it’s finally relayed to me the company doesn’t see the need for an upgrade right now. Besides, I HAVE A MAC!

I use what I love, what I know, and what works the best for the task I’m using it for.

5. Focusing on my personal growth

If I want to do mid-morning yoga (after all, I’m wearing the pants for it), I don’t have to take two-hours of sick time from my PTO to get a session in.

I don’t have to take an entire personal day to attend a seminar or event. I don’t have to cram my new book in over my lunch hour while I’m slurping my tomato soup.

If I want to take time for personal development, I can just do it, then get right back to work. I can watch that hour-long webinar on something I’ve been wanting to get a better handle on, and then get back to my project.

I can take a little longer in the morning to read my daily devotional and finish my coffee, because I’m not rushing off to a meeting no one wants to be in.

Whatever goals I have set for myself personally, I have the freedom to really focus on achieving them. I’m taking an active part in my own growth on a daily basis, and my work is flourishing as a result.

Those, in a nutshell, are the top 5 perks I expected from working virtually. What about you? Were you expecting any of the same?


Why It’s Okay To Make Mistakes

Integrity is the name of the game. Especially at Priority VA, we’re all about doing better than our best. My VAs knock it out of the park when it comes to customer satisfaction, and I’m so thankful God has allowed me to pull such a solid team together.

But here’s the thing: we’re all human. No matter how awesome we are, we will – eventually – make a mistake. It might be minor. It might be noticeably inconvenient. It might be a real humdinger.

Regardless of the magnitude of the mistake, it doesn’t always have to end badly. There is light at the end of every tunnel, even if you have to backtrack to find it. Here are a few thoughts in defense of making mistakes.


Mistakes Teach Us Lessons

At least – they’d better. If you’re not learning from your mistakes, you’re doing life wrong. Not only do our mistakes teach us what not to do going forward, but they teach us how to earnestly seek solutions. Mistakes lay the groundwork for problem solving on the fly.

Thinking on your feet may not come naturally to everybody, but when it’s do-or-die to fix a mess, you’re putting some valuable skills to use. Don’t just fix a problem – figure out a way to make sure it won’t happen again. Be the hero by proactively solving future mishaps while reactively fixing the problem at hand.

Try to reason why the mistake happened in the first place. Is it something you could change? Is it something you had any control over? Take everything into consideration, make a new plan going forward, and apply everything you learned to make sure the problem doesn’t crop up again.

Mistakes Foster Personal Growth

It isn’t just about how you fix the problem. It’s how you handle yourself in the crunch time. Are you freaking out? Are you being too relaxed? Are you weathering the storm like a seasoned veteran?

Panic stirs one of two reactions: fight or flight. Fight, of course, is you standing your ground and facing your foe. Flight, on the other hand, is throwing caution to the wind and making a run for it. If you’re in flight mode after making a mistake – it’s been nice knowing you.

If you’re in fight mode, however, make sure you’re fighting the right way. Don’t snap at people, play the blame game, or throw punches. Fighting to fix an error is working quickly to resolve it, working effectively to restore it, and working collaboratively so everyone is still standing in the end.

If I’m applying what I learned and taking initiative to improve my processes, I’m laying the groundwork for my own self-improvement.

Mistakes Shape Your Character

There was a client who used to always say, “You can tell me good news. You can tell me bad news. But don’t ever surprise me.” If and when you make a mistake – big or small – own it. Don’t try to cover your tracks or wait to share with someone until it’s too late. Always own up to it immediately, take responsibility, and do what it takes to make it right.

The mistake itself might make people mad. It happens. If you’re taking responsibility and ownership of your problem, and especially of your solution, your character will speak volumes above your actions.

When I make a mistake, I’m the first person to admit to it, so my own personal integrity isn’t called into question. Character is key, and no matter what you lose in the aftermath of a mistake, do not lose your character.

Mistakes Aren’t The End of The World

Bob Ross used to say, “There are no mistakes. Only happy accidents.” Oh Bob… God bless you. I wish that were the case, but sometimes our happy accidents really screw things up. In bad ways. The good news is, it’s not the end of the world.

We’ve all made some real doozies, I know. Some mistakes are so big it makes us physically sick to our stomachs. We want to initiate the flight mode, and get the heck out of dodge. But we can’t.

It may certainly be the end of an era, but not the end of the world. If you learn from your mistakes, apply what you learned to better yourself going forward, and maintain  your upstanding character through it all, your world will keep spinning. The sun will still rise tomorrow, no matter how dark the day seems in the middle of the mistake.

Sometimes our biggest mistakes pave the way for our biggest blessings.

Thank goodness I made all my mistakes early on and don’t have to worry about messing up anymore. (Ha!)

Don’t panic the next time you slip up. Keep your integrity, keep your head on straight, and get to fixing it.

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?

2 Words That Will Change Your Life: Thank You

Today, Memorial Day, is a day we honor and remember all those who gave their lives in service to our country. For their selfless acts, their immeasurable sacrifice, and their unparalleled willingness to serve, we are forever in debt. To all the men and women who have died in order that we might live freer, better lives, we say the only words we have: thank you.

Change Your Life

It may not seem like much, but I can tell you those two words uttered in sincerity mean more to the person hearing them than we may ever know.

In that spirit of thankfulness, I’d like to share some ways you can say “thank you” to the people who help you succeed in your life and in your business. Whether it be your VA, your clients, or the service men and women who keep our entrepreneurial dreams possible, I promise you implementing these two words into your regular vocabulary will change your life.

Saying “thank you” goes beyond being polite. In the assumption everyone reading this blog is already of genuine polite character, I’m going to skip over the reasons saying “thank you” is the right thing to do.I believe we all know this – but since we have a tendency to get caught up in our own happenings, those two little words are easily left out of our daily exchanges.

Our words carry an exorbitant weight. We can easily knock the wind out of someone’s sails with things we say. Words are incredibly powerful.

The same weight carried by the words we speak is also carried by the things left unsaid. If acknowledgement is not given to people for their help, hard work, efforts, commitment – we leave them as dry wells, not ever replenishing all we’ve taken from their depths.

The same weight carried by the words we speak is also carried by the things left unsaid.

It isn’t safe to assume that anyone just knows we’re thankful for them, or we appreciate them. Not yelling at someone doesn’t exactly deliver the message of being thankful for them. People need to be told. I want you to stop what you’re doing right now and practice. Go on. Say it with me: “Thank you.”

Saying “thank you” not only esteems and encourages those around us, and those we acknowledge. It changes our own demeanor as well. When we’re taking time to focus on the things – and especially the people – we’re thankful for, it gives our perspective a much-needed makeover.

When you’re focused on gratitude and thankfulness, studies show it improves your physical health. Stress is reduced, depression is kept at bay, and your overall immunity boosts – simply from being thankful.

If saying “thank you” and meaning it can influence the lives of those you say it to, that should be incentive enough. Add to that the fact your own health and life vastly improves, and you have a fool-proof plan for success. These two words can quite literally change your life.

You’re on assignment. Put “thank you” on the tip of your tongue, and dispel it at every opportunity. Not sure how to creatively express your thanks to those around you? Here are a few ideas.

  • Flowers (just be sure the recipient isn’t allergic first!)
  • Card/Note. Nothing beats a hand-written note of thanks.
  • Gift Card. If you aren’t sure how to treat someone, let them choose how to treat themselves!
  • Social Media. Blast the heck out of that thank you. Tweet it to your special mention, tag them on Facebook, and make sure the world knows how much you appreciate the one(s) you’re grateful for.
  • Video! Yes, make a video of you thanking someone, and post it for them to watch.

Everyone loves to be appreciated, and it doesn’t have to be an awkward or uncomfortable acknowledgement. Two little words, “Thank You”, are all you need to make a big impact on those you appreciate.

Who will you say “Thank You!” to today?

4 Tips to Avoid Selling Yourself Short

Whether in business, relationships, or life in general, people usually strive to make the best impression. Some get so caught up in making that impression, they present themselves above or beyond their actual capabilities. This can come back to bite you – and it’s a bite that hurts.

[one_third]I’ve cautioned you not to overstate your qualifications. You certainly don’t want to bite off more than you can chew, or over-promise and under-deliver. It’s okay to dabble in different areas of expertise. It’s also okay to admit when you’re not an expert in something.4 Tips To Avoid Selling Yourself Short

There are certainly circumstances, however, where a person completely undersells their skills, talents, or capabilities. These can lead to losing out on an opportunity, or ending up on the wrong list. Selling yourself short can be just as, if not more damaging than overselling.

Today we’re going to look at four tips to avoid selling yourself short. It can be a fine line, so get ready to walk it with me.

1. Harness Your Humble

Humility is a gem of a trait. Too much of a good thing though, and you’re on a fast-track to nowhere. If people often tell you you’re a great cook and you always have company because people want to eat your cooking, chances are you’re a great cook. (Also, please come cook for me.)

It stands to reason when someone asks if you’re any good at cooking and you shy away from a definitive “yes” answer because you never took a cooking class, you don’t have any certifications, or you’ve never worked in a restaurant, you’re being way too humble. People love your food. Get over the technicalities, and own your talent. (Also, seriously, please come cook for me.)

It’s great to be modest – especially in your humility. Don’t overdo it on downplaying your skills or talents.

2. Streamline Your Strengths

If you’re spread too thin over too many areas, it can be pretty unfulfilling. If you’re not an expert in anything, you’re an average Joe in everything. This can be a huge disservice – not only to your customers – but to yourself!

Determine what your strengths are. What do you love? What do you really know? What are you great at doing? Focus on the top two or three things, and pour your energy into those.

When you can offer your strengths as expertise, you’re offering value only you can give. That’s a critical piece in standing out in the business world.

Don’t be mediocre in everything. Be awesome in a few things. Work toward developing your strengths, and watch how far they’ll take you.

3. Work For Your Why

Oftentimes when we’re trying to balance family, friends, work, life, dreams, goals and still trying to remember to eat and sleep, it’s easy for us to completely lose focus.

In those times, motivation can be pretty hard to come by. An unmotivated person doesn’t produce moving work. Unmoving work is an easy rut to fall into. So long as it’s getting done it counts, right?

Wrong. Don’t settle for producing subpar work simply because you’ve lost your sparkle.

Remember what it was that lit your fire to begin with, and get after it again. If that reason isn’t doing it for you these days, find one that will. Do what it takes to get yourself to the level you aspire to be on, and stop settling for your less-than-best.

4. Can The “I Can’t”

We all have our limits. There are things we simply cannot do. Some people can’t eat shellfish because they’re deathly allergic. Some people can’t dunk a basketball because they’re vertically challenged. Some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. I get it. There are absolutely legitimate things some of us can’t do.

Don’t tell me you can’t do something until you’ve tried it. “I couldn’t ever be an author.” Baloney. Sit down and start writing. “I can’t design a cool website.” So you’re just not going to build one at all? Pull resources together, pull your business britches up, and knock it out. “I can’t _____.” Fill in the blank.

What are you limiting yourself on? What are you convincing yourself of, or talking yourself out of, before you ever give it a chance? I promise you, you’ll never know how far you can fly until you start flapping. You might flop a time or two, but it doesn’t mean you can’t. It just means there’s another way.

Stop doubting and start doing.

You’ve got to fuel your faith. Believe in the you God created you to be. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t underestimate (or understate) your abilities. Stop selling yourself short, and embrace your worth.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who may be selling themselves short?


3 Reasons Priority VA Gets The Job Done

I’m often asked what about PVA sets us apart to help entrepreneurs succeed. The answer is pretty simple: Grit. No, not the southern boiled corn kernel dish. I’m talking roll-up-our-sleeves, brainstorming, skill-crushing, true-blue grit.

We don’t have any secret formula, or magic tricks up our sleeve. What we do have are three essential traits that push us to get the work done, and in turn, push us to really work well for you.

Think you can guess what they are? Here we go! 3 Reasons Priority VA Gets The Job Done.

1. Personality

Every time I see the word personality by itself, I think of the Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies routine to that song. I know. Did I just ruin it for you? I’m sorry.

Truth be told, our VAs are incredibly personable people. Not a single one of them is the same as another, but they all have amazing unique personality traits that align with exactly what their clients need. Pairing a VA with a client is one of my favorite parts of my work.

Need an intuitive, artistic thinker? Have those. Need a directive, organized project manager? Have those. Need someone who laughs at your corny jokes? I bet we have the VA who shares your unusual sense of humor.

Part of having a wonderful team member is making sure they fit with your mission, your values, and your quirks. The yin to your entrepreneurial yang, we’ve got loads of personality on our team.

I’m not just assigning skill sets. I’m building relationships that work. Which personality type best suits your business needs?

2. Experience

Your business is unique, and requires certain areas of focus that make it stand out from the rest. I get that. The great news is, we have VAs who are all experienced in different areas of software, engagement, and skills. We have no cookie-cutter system and are truly blessed to have a wide range of experience on our team.

Are you selling products and need someone to manage a shopping cart, or troubleshoot order inquiries? We have VAs who do exactly that.

Do you need someone to write, format, or edit your blog and website content for you? We have VAs who are tremendous with grammar and all that English jazz.

How about make your travel arrangements, order your spouse’s favorite truffles, call ahead to make sure the hotel has the down pillows you requested, and piece together your presentation for the next conference you’re attending? You might be a little needy. Just kidding! We have the VA that can do all that and then some for you.

I’m telling you, I’m incredibly blessed to have the talent I’ve been able to capture on my team. Our VAs come from a myriad of backgrounds, take their work seriously, and are always willing and able to learn more, do more, and be more.

3. Commitment

The great thing about PVA that sets us apart is our commitment. To you. To your business. To your goals. Your dreams.

I’m not being cliche. Priority VA is in this for the long haul. I don’t even consider pairing a client with a VA if I’m not convinced it won’t be the best long-term working relationship for both parties.

They’ll support more than just your business needs. They stand behind your vision, your values, and adopt your business as if it were their own. Your success is paramount to their own, and we all take it very seriously.

Being a VA isn’t just a job. It’s a livelihood. A calling. Our VAs aren’t looking for a layover job to fill space on their resume. They’re in this because they love what they do.

They’re committed to pouring meaning, heart, and soul into everything they produce. And they’re bound by their outstanding code of character to do right by their clients.

I’ll say it again: I am so blessed to have the VAs we have at Priority VA. They’re rockstars.

There’s a reason I’m often asked why PVA can get the job done. We stand out for a reason. Three reasons, to be exact.

Contact Trivinia today to schedule a consult on hiring one of our rockstar VAs!

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How Taking My Kids To Work Grew My Entrepreneurial Footprint

Last Thursday was “Take Your Child to Work Day” across the U.S. My daughters, Jaidyn and Brianna, got to come to work with me – right down the hall from their bedrooms.

While I thought I was giving them a grandiose glimpse into the world of our business, I ended up learning far more from them.

Today I’m going to share just a few of the takeaways I learned from my mini-entrepreneurs. Not only did they have a great time working with and for me, but they gave me a fresh perspective on our business.

I’ve always known I have great kids, but now I know I’m also raising brilliant business minds.

Born Entrepreneurs

I learned our children are natural-born entrepreneurs. They are FULL of ideas (some silly, some brilliant) on how to build and grow a business. It’s our job to help them sort out the possible from the not possible – and then turn the not possible into something that CAN work given a little help.

It’s really no different from any business ideas you or I come up with. Some of them work straight out of the box, and others need some tweaking. The key is getting those ideas on the table and working with the ones that make the most sense. Even for young children, my daughters came up with a lot of business ideas that made perfect sense.

Intuitive Sponges

Our kids pick up on more than we realize. They’re always watching, always learning, always absorbing the events and activities going on around them.

Not only did my daughters dress is “mommy work casual” for coming to work with me, but they shared some golden nuggets they had tucked away in their hearts. I asked them to write cards thanking a few current clients and they said, “my mom says gratitude is important…”

This melted my heart and reminded me anything I say, negative or positive, has an affect on their developing outlook on life.

Kids Are Capable

Kids are far more capable than we give them credit for. During the work day, I had them:

  • write thank you’s
  • research blog post ideas
  • research my competition
  • create social media posts
  • create a promo video for our company
  • file mail
  • handle all my linked in messages
  • and more!

Not only did they finish tasks I gave them, but they did so with enthusiasm and took great care to do things as I had shown them. They picked up on new things quickly, and excitedly waited for me to give them more to do. I was blown away, not only by their eagerness to help me, but that they also seemed to really enjoy what they were doing, which means they enjoy and appreciate what I do.

Just Keep Swimming

I think Dory in Finding Nemo was on to something with her little mantra to “just keep swimming”. I found having a to-do list not only kept everyone occupied, but focused.

It was pretty marvelous, watching them move from one task to the next. I had them create their own SCRUM board and they LOVED doing it. Brianna said “that’ll be really good for me, because sometimes I don’t complete things all the way, so that will really help me.”

….Hmm… I’m thinking of re-doing our chore chart to this method!

Gimme a Break!

One especially valuable lesson I learned while working with my kids was to take frequent breaks.

My girls got a tad restless during the work day, and really I usually do too, but I normally push through and just keep on working. They didn’t. They intuitively knew that a quick snack, or walk around the house (or a trip to the mail box) would re-set their process and they could get back to work (more focused and determined prior to their break, I might add). I need to do this more often, too. Breaks aren’t a waste of time, they’re a necessity and help you make more productive use of time.

I was glad for the day to work with my girls, show them what I do, and have their help and input. It was a great day spending time with them, and one I’ll cherish for a long time to come. They not only helped me get a lot of work done, but they helped me see the business world through a new set of eyes.

I’ll leave you with this:

J & B Video


Three Ways Children Taught Me to See Life Differently

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and hadn’t finished packing for my 5:55 a.m. flight. After only three hours of sleep, I muddled my way through the airport, and onto my first of two flights that day.

I was headed to San Diego, to work on a project with a client I adore. I was tired and really would rather have been in bed. This was not the way I intended to start my trip.

I have four girls, and at that time they ranged in age from 18 months to 11 years old. As a work-from-home mom, there is an exceptionally large sigh of relief at the tail-end of summer that washes over me when I’m on a flight for two hours. Alone. Without shrieking.

My first flight was uneventful, and I expected more of the same as I claimed my seat in the rear of the second plane, flying from Phoenix to San Diego. I’ll just read the rest of my book, Day Job to Dream Job, and snooze a bit on the plane. Or so I thought.

As we sat on the jet way, waiting for what felt like hours, two little monsters began squealing away behind me. Likely two or three years old, they were making quite the scene at 7:00 a.m. As a mom of one of “those kids” on a plane, I immediately empathized with the parents. I could imagine them praying in their heads, “Dear God, shut them up.”

People around me began to get restless. We had been waiting to take off for some time, and the littles were losing it, screaming unintelligible things. Clearly, they wanted to take off, too.

Suddenly, it was as if a switch turned on in their heads. No, they didn’t stop screaming, but they began to scream with purpose. The young boy began to encourage his sister, and the two – in unison – began their new performance.

“One, two, three, GO!” Their excitement built with each chant, and they got louder and louder as the anticipation of our take-off grew with each repetition of their new mantra.

Oh, people were irritated. The tired mom next to me, with a sleeping child in her lap, tried to force a smile. The burly ex-football player shifted in his seat as he grew ever more irritated about his sleep being disrupted. And me? I started laughing. Silently to myself at first, and then an all-out belly laugh along with those kids.

They were excited. They wanted to get going, and they were thrilled at the anticipation of the adventure they were about to embark on. Their innocence reflected only the joy of what was to come – not the anxiety of being stuck on a jet way, or stress of the meeting they’d be late for if the plane didn’t arrive on time.

I began to realize, in the increasingly louder chants of “One, two, three, GO!”, that we’re all somewhere along this path, waiting to go, wherever our destination may be.

I learned three important lessons from those children behind me:

1. Those kids didn’t care about the hang-ups or delays. They were just excited to get going. It made me wonder about how often we get consumed by the speed bumps in our day, and neglect one important truth: the journey is life. And when we’re only focused on the destination, we miss out on the best part. I learned that perspective is so important.

2. I learned that perception changes things. Whether the glass is half empty or half full may be an age-old question, but it also may be the lens through which you could make or break your day. Your decisions. Your life. If we can change how we perceive circumstances, and default to hope and optimism rather than annoyance, we could rewrite the entire blueprint of our life’s journey.

3. I learned that our priorities matter. Had I been so consumed with having a moment of rest on my flight, I’d have completely missed out on the pure joy laughing with those toddlers allowed me. I got off the plane that day in a great mood, much better than how my day started. Why? Because I made it my priority to have a good time. I wasn’t preoccupied with myself or my agenda. It’s a beautiful thing when we can step outside of ourselves and just be.

How do you handle those speed bumps in your day? In your business? Do you enjoy the course, implementing the things you learn when you fall down? Or do you shift in your seat like many of the passengers on the plane with me that day, terrified of what’s to come and inconvenienced by the hindrance to your plan?

Life will hardly ever go as smoothly as we plan in our head, so take it from the kids in row 19: get excited, and enjoy the sweet anticipation of what’s to come. Even if you don’t know exactly what that is.


Stand Out!

Thanks to Kid President, we all know “Life is too short to not be awesome.” In life, in work, and even in play, we’re always searching for ways to improve, excel, and ultimately, succeed. It’s easy to get lost in the mundane and the routine, however.

When our work seems repetitive, or perhaps we’ve fallen into a creative slump, it’s hard to find our way out of our self-imposed rut.

When we reach that point of lull and dull, we have two choices. One: we can do nothing, and go on status quo. Let’s face it, that would be lame, and doesn’t really count as a choice.

The second choice, and the one we’re going to run with, is being more awesome. Wow your team by using these seven simple tools to own your next project, and maybe earn a bragging right or two.

Here are our tips to make sure you stand out in your next project.

. : 7   T O O L S   T O   O W N   Y O U R   P R O J E C T : .

1.  Invest in the Outcome

Before you begin, put stock in the desired end result. Look at the “big picture” and define what it is you’re going to accomplish. Set goals that enhance the worth of your time, energy, and effort. If you’re going to own this project, you’ve got to be willing to plunge into the very heart and soul of the mission behind it.

2.  Have a Plan

A carpenter doesn’t build a house without a blueprint. Too much can go wrong, and if even one post is off by the slightest measurement, the entire framework of the home could prove worthless. No one will buy a house that won’t stand up to even basic expectations. The same goes for a project thrown together on a whim. Don’t go into your work without a carefully thought-out plan. Stay on task, hold yourself accountable, and line out the details. When obstacles present themselves, and we all know they will, show your strengths in your preparedness. “Poor planning on your part” makes for a lousy end result.

3.  Communicate Your Message Clearly

Speak to your audience in their language. If you’re an IT manager training users on a new software roll-out, for the love of all things pure and holy, don’t talk to them in techy-jargon. Use terms, phrases, and key-words your audience will be familiar with. This will keep them engaged, involved, and interested.
Be sure not to underestimate the importance of relaying essential details of your message, either. Spending too little focus or attention on your communication can be detrimental to your end-game. Get to know the people you need to communicate with, spend time learning how they best receive information, then deliver the best infomercial for your cause anyone has ever been witness to.

4.  Stay One Step Ahead

After you begin the communication process with your peers, be prepared for the inquisitive souls within your work environment. Anticipate the fact there will be questions, and answer them before they have the opportunity to be asked. Rely on your confidence in, and knowledge of your project to showcase your carefully thought-out responses to possibilities, potential problems, and promised results. Look at your project from all angles, and quench the fires before they start.

Try to think in systems. When you organize your project in steps, tasks, and short-term results, you can lose yourself in the process of the “what” in your work. Instead, stay focused on the “how”, and the impact these separate steps have on the long-term outcomes. Implement cohesive systems rather than individual tasks, and you’ll be able to cover more territory ensuring you achieve the results you’re after.

5.  Be Ready for the Overwhelm

You’re lying awake at night thinking about what you should have done, forgot to do, or need to do tomorrow, in order to keep things moving on this project. You’re exhausted. You’re burnt out. You’re working your tail off, and no one seems to care. You might feel overcome by the tedious nature of ensuring this project’s success. You flat-out want to quit.

It will happen. But have hope! These will be the times you really have to kick it in gear. Seek out some encouragement. Take a minute to collect your calm. Remind yourself (repeatedly, if you have to) of the achievement that awaits you on the other side. Power through, remember your initial investment, and strive for those returns. It will be worth it to follow through to the end.

6.  Empower Others to Participate

Remember your college capstone class and the group project you just ended up doing yourself so you could be assured it was done right, and you’d get your credit to graduate? Me too. Let’s let bygones be bygones for the success of our project, though, and leave those college-day habits behind. Enlist the help of others, utilize their strengths to further your progress, and build rapport with your team. Don’t hoard your ideas. Let the suggestions and support of others spur you on to finish strong.

7.  Resist the Temptation to Take All the Credit

After you’ve kicked butt and taken names, you’re going to draw the praise and attention of your peers and managers. Don’t get a big head. A little humility goes a long way, and it would behoove you to always give credit where credit is due. Thank your team members, thank the people who encouraged you, and thank your manager for entrusting you with the project you just completely knocked out of the park.

These seven tools are sure to help you own your project, if you take the time to implement them. Beef up your business tool box, and listen for your name to be dropped as the go-to guru for the next big deal.

One last thing: Don’t hoard our ideas, either! Share this with a colleague, and get crackin’ at being more awesome.