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How to Create More Powerful Habits

How to Create More Powerful Habits

We humans are creatures of habit. We have evolved over thousands of years to like routine, to like predictability and to become ingrained in a certain series of events.

Most of us therefore have a routine that we pretty much follow every single day. Maybe you start your day by waking up, making breakfast, having a shower, getting dressed and then watching the news for 10 minutes with a cup of coffee before running out the door.

This is no coincidence. This comes down to the entire way we are hardwired. The way our brains work and the way our biology operates. Repeating the same actions or thoughts over and over again essentially means that we are repeatedly using the same neuronal pathways and causing the same connections to light up and fire.

If you repeat one action followed by another often enough, they will become so ingrained as to become automatic and beyond our conscious control. We call this a ‘habit loop’ which consists of 3 phases; The trigger, the behaviour and the reward.

In short, the more we repeat the same behaviour over and over, the harder it is for us to change that behaviour.

If the behaviour in question involves smoking, then this is bad news. But if the behaviour involves going to the gym, then it’s great news. I have done some form of exercise since I was 7 years old. That’s when I took up gymnastics and trained 3 times a week. (I’m 45 this year). That means that I’ve been doing something consistently for 38 years. As you might expect, I now find it almost impossible to not do any form of exercise. I love working out in one way or another, it’s a part of who I am.

In other words, harnessing the power of habit can be a powerful tool in helping you to get whatever you want from life:

Often you will read that the best way to create a new habit is to repeat that action for thirty days. If you can do that, then eventually you will have ingrained the behaviour deeply enough that you will be able to keep it up.

This makes it a little easier setting your goals around creating a new habit. If you know that you want to exercise first thing in the morning for thirty days only, then that can be easier to get your head around than thinking you have to do it forever.

A good tip for creating a new habit is to attach it to your old habits and your surroundings. So, if you want to create a habit of flossing your teeth, then the obvious option is to attach this to a habit you already stick to such as brushing your teeth!

Likewise, if you want to get into the habit of ironing your shirts, pick a specific point in the day for it to come after – such as making your morning tea.

This works because it connects the new behaviour to old ones inside your brain. You have a network of neurons that fire whenever you make your morning tea. Now, when that network of neurons fire, they should also cause the new network – the ironing shirts network to light up. The two are now connected.

This also works on a practical level: you need to find a convenient time for your new habit to take place and you need to find a convenient time and place in which to do it. You need to know that said time and place is always going to be convenient.

I wanted to take up meditation a while back for example as a regular part of my routine. I struggled at first because there always seemed to be more important things to be doing and I could never find the right time. So, what I did was to attach my meditation session to my morning routine. I started setting my alarm for half hour earlier (I used to need a few snoozes) and after a while I was able to get up and fit my meditation in before I did anything else. It’s now ingrained and part of my day.

One action is a habit but if you string these together, then you have a routine.

Looking at the practical aspect of stringing habits together and knowing where you will be and what time it will be when you do that thing is incredibly important for accomplishing goals. If you can build a routine for yourself that contains multiple good habits, then you’ll find that you massively enhance your likelihood of success in all areas.

Creating a routine is a powerful way to accomplish your goals.

You can learn more about creating more powerful habits in our Personal Transformation Mastery self-study course.

If you need any help creating better, healthier habits to move you towards success you can email me or take a look at the services we offer here. Using the FLOAT system we take our clients from Chaos to Calm in both life and business and help you to create the success you deserve.

How to manage your business AND be with your children

How to manage your business AND be with your children

As a mum in business I get asked all the time – How do you manage your time and juggle running your business whilst the kids are at home?

It’s simple – BUT it hasn’t always been that way. When I first started out in business, I would dread the school holidays. My stress levels would rise just thinking about it and my anxiety went through the roof.

In all honesty I failed miserably in my first 6-week holiday period. I was miserable, I made my family miserable and my ‘mummy guilt’ was at an all time high. I was way too hard on myself (sound familiar), I tried to be perfect at everything and I very quickly realised that this was NOT how I EVER wanted another school holiday period to go.

SO, what did I do?

Firstly, I stopped being so god damn hard on myself. I changed my self-talk from ‘I’m a terrible mum and a useless business owner’ to ‘I am a great mum, my kids are happy, healthy and have everything they need. I am doing my best which IS good enough and my business is exactly where it needs to be.’

I then changed my daily routine to accommodate my kids and my business so that I could spend less time in my business and more time with the kids. This tool some mindset work and a shift in work pattern, but my god, the difference was AMAZING.

Here are a few things I now do that took me from Chaos to Calm and improved my routine significantly!

1)     I get up earlier. Trust me, this one took a little while to adjust to. I’m not a natural morning person. My husband will vouch for that! Getting up earlier gives me the head space I need to prepare for the day. I now do this during term-time as well and it’s been a game changer for me. In the holidays I have two hours to work before the kids get up and I get a surprising amount of work done in these few hours. In fact, it’s become my most productive time of the day. It turns out I am a morning person after all – I just told myself I wasn’t for all those years.

2)     Time blocking has become my best friend. I now have set times that I work each day. They are 6am-8am, 9am-11am and 4pm-6pm. It took me a few holidays to get this one nailed and locked in, but my clients all know my block hours during the holidays, and it works brilliantly. The kids know when I’m working and when I’m ‘mum’.

3)     My boundaries have always been set right from the very start of my business, but they are adjusted slightly for holidays times. I make sure my clients know them from the off, so there is no confusion and if they know from the start, your clients will accept them. So, make sure you know your boundaries and set them out straight away. Not doing so will almost certainly cause problems further down the line. I also make sure that my kids know my boundaries from the outset. We have a conversation about what is expected, what’s acceptable and what isn’t, so we all know where we stand.

4)     Find an Associate who is willing to take on some ‘Associate work’ during the holiday season to take the pressure off and of course allow you some down time knowing that everything is ticking along nicely – You deserve a break just as much as everybody else.

5)     Plan your daily activities with the kids. My two are 7 and 9 and they love going to the beach, going swimming and having picnics in the park. These are easy wins when the weather is good, but for the colder and wetter months it’s even more important to plan what your time with the kids is going to look like.

Time Management is one of my favourite topics – I can talk for hours about how to manage your time more efficiently.

I’ll just leave you with this………

We have 10080 minutes in a week. We spend on average 3360 of those minutes sleeping and 2400 working. That leaves us 4320 minutes each and every week.

Still think you don’t have enough time?

If you’d like help with your time management and want to learn how to time block effectively lets jump on a call. 

Is This a Hobby or a Business?

Is this a hobby or a business?

  1. Are you just playing with your time?
  2. Are you serious about what you do?
  3. Do you wish you could be doing this and this alone?

You need to answer these three questions 100% honestly and then take a look at where you’d like to see yourself 12 / 18 or even 24 months from now.

If you can see yourself taking hold of what you have and wanting to make real money out of it then ‘congratulations’ you have or should I say you are on your way to having a serious business.

Sharon is my next-door neighbour and when I said I was setting up my Virtual PA Business, she half-jokingly said ‘brilliant, I may be needing you!’ Sharon is a Holistic Therapist specialising in Reiki. She had another job and had been practising her therapies for many years on the side.

 

It took a month or so, but we eventually sat down and had a chat where she’d like to be in a year’s time and what she ACTUALLY enjoys doing for work.

Sharon had some old vouchers, website and business postcards, which I must say were very out-dated.  I took a good look, told her they weren’t going to work as they weren’t eye-catching, didn’t reflect who she was and didn’t contain the right information. She looked a little shocked by my honesty, but I believe that if you’re serious about helping people, you have to be honest from the start.

It was at that point that I asked her ‘IS THIS A HOBBY OR A BUSINESS?’

She looked at me blankly and then finally said ‘she hadn’t thought about it like that’, but now I’m asking, she’d honestly like it to be her business and would like to give up her other job.

 

We then discussed what she needed to do to transform her 20+ year hobby into a serious business. Being the kind, generous and caring person that she is, Sharon was giving far too much of her time away for ‘FREE’.

Treatments were lasting for longer than the allotted hour. Her initial consultations, which are very detailed, were being done for free! If she wanted this to be a business, she really needed to change her mindset.

Sharon sends all her clients a birthday card. She’s not giving this up and I agree. What makes Sharon unique, is her genuine warmth and care for people. The birthday cards allow for her clients to see this.

We then set about re-designing her business cards. We set up a simple WordPress website, and we designed a new flyer, Facebook page and LinkedIn profile.

This initial meeting left Sharon feeling very positive, inspired and ready to take Sharon Weekes Holistic Therapy out to the world.

 

We set up some processes and organised her office so that she felt more in control of the admin side of her business too.

When we first met, Sharon lacked confidence in talking about what she does and putting herself out there to gain new business.

With me behind her every step of the way, she has grown massively. Her self-confidence is getting better all the time, and she now even picks up the phone and promotes her business to her target audience and groups of people she thinks could benefit from her treatments.

I am very proud of how far she has come, and I have every faith in her and her ability to build a thriving business that she loves.

So, think back to those three questions I asked! Could this be you? Does Sharon’s story sound familiar?

If you think you would like to have a chat about what I can do for you then please call me on 07968 381793 or visit my website www.fayepa.co.uk. I also have a Facebook page and Twitter account.

The Benefits of Working with a Virtual Assistant

People often ask me why I became a Virtual Assistant and the answer for me is simple. Being a Virtual Assistant allows me the freedom to work with industries I am passionate and knowledgeable about, without being restricted to working with one company. I get to help and support small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs and consultants who are running their own successful businesses, but who need a Personal Assistant to help organise their day, their systems or even their whole work/personal lives.

These people are so busy growing their business that they are getting in a bit of a muddle without always even realising it. This is where I step in and take the stress out of maintaining/implementing those all-important processes, such as CRM management, diary management, social media management inc. blogs and websites, credit control, research etc. The list is endless and can be tailored to a client’s individual needs.

The other more personal reason for setting up my own Virtual Assistant business is because I’m a mother of two and like a lot of mother’s I wanted to maximise being able to have a career and being there for my family, and it works brilliantly. I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Being able to give my all to my clients and business without the guilt of not being around for when my children get home from school is key for me. I have twenty years PA/Administration and Account Management experience and have worked mainly in the Media/PR industry, but have also worked in the Childcare sector for a few years. My main passion remains within the Media industry; however, I have developed a love for the Health and Fitness industry over the last 5 or so years.

Most people have by now heard of the term ‘Virtual Assistant’, but do they really know what it means?

A good Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA as I am known can save your business time and money. Most of us specialise in helping small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in all different fields. Many of us also have a niche so either concentrate on specific industries or specific services. It’s not a one fits all. It can take some businesses a while to find the right Virtual Assistant for their needs.

Us Virtual Assistants tend to be very upfront about the services we offer and if we don’t offer one that you need we are likely to know a VA who can help. We offer you all the same benefits of an office based Personal Assistant, but without the added costs of having an employee. Another added benefit is that you only pay for the work being done. If you only need 6 hours a week then that’s all you pay for. We can be very flexible in that respect.

As a Virtual Assistant, we do not need a space in your office and we do not need a telephone or computer. We have our own office set up within our home or personal office space, so again, no need for the cost of an employee. There is also no holiday pay, pension or tax for you to worry about as an employer. We handle all that for ourselves as a freelancer.

Our presence within your company is still very much felt despite us not being physically present. This may scare some businesses as old habits die hard and some wonder how a good job can be done when you’re not actually there. Well, with the right set up process there is no need to be sceptical. A detailed meeting, whether face-to-face initially or through Skype or over the phone can eliminate any concerns about the ‘Virtual’ element of our job title. Confidentiality is a key component to any Virtual Assistant business and we are happy to sign an NDA where necessary.

We can save a business a lot of time by taking on the necessary, but somewhat tedious tasks that take up so much valuable time. We can also recommend useful software to make your life easier by simplifying some of your daily tasks e.g. a better CRM, a better diary management system, easier excel formats and templates etc.

By saving businesses more time, we can also save you money. Start-ups, small businesses and consultants especially, need to capitalise on what they have without any unnecessary costs. A Virtual Assistant will concentrate on your business while you concentrate on generating new business and maintaining the business you already have. This in turn means you can focus on making more profit.

I once heard the phrase “You have to speculate to accumulate” and I have always repeated this to myself and to others. I never tell people that I first heard this whilst watching the film ‘The Full Monty’ but nevertheless where I heard it, I believe it to be very true. The money you spend on hiring a Virtual Assistant will be worth every penny when you a) see what a difference we can make to your day-to-day working life and b) when you see the new business/customers coming in as a result.

A Virtual Assistant will charge for their services in several different ways. Some will charge an hourly rate for all tasks, some will charge a monthly retainer for what we call ‘a bucket of hours’, whilst some prefer to package up their services and sell them accordingly. There is no right or wrong way of doing this, but personally I use a mixture of all three as all client needs are different. Some clients need help on a regular ongoing basis while others may only need a Virtual Assistant for ad-hoc projects, such as events, office moves or travel etc.

So now you know what we do, you may think that you could do with some support with your business. If you have any questions about working with a Virtual Assistant, then please do not hesitate to call me on 07968 381793 or e-mail me at faye@fayepa.co.uk. Please also take a look at my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fayepaservices or my website www.fayepa.co.uk for a full list of my services.

7 Ways To Help You Stay Focused

Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to manage their time better?

Do you ever look at your colleagues and ask yourself ‘How do they manage to get everything done in a day?’

I have put together a few pointers to help you stay focused throughout your working day. None of it is rocket science if I’m honest, but we all need reminding and pointing in the right direction at times. Some of these can also be used in your personal life too.

Take regular breaks
From your PC or whatever task/project it may be that you’re doing. Taking a break enables you to regain your thoughts and focus. Working through without a break can often lead to tension headaches, fatigue and loss of concentration. This can then lead to careless and avoidable mistakes being made. For me it works best when I work for an hour and then take 15-20 mins break. This in itself improves my time management quite considerably.

Set yourself realistic tasks
It is so important to set yourself achievable tasks for each day/week/month. I have a to-do list for the week that I write on a Sunday evening. I then break it down in to 3 tasks for each day. By doing it this way I am able to manage my time for efficiently, get more done and ‘eat that frog’ by tackling the hardest task first. The feeling I get at the end of the day is great as I have achieved everything I set myself. By the end of the week I’m smiling from ear to ear when I am able to tick off a load of tasks from my to-do list. The power of 3 is a great time management tool and helps keep you focused for the week.

DO NOT multitask
I have learnt over the years, that all you men out there have got it right (big sigh)! Multitasking in not good for you and is a big mistake when running a business. It may sound impressive to say that you can multitask (ladies, we know we’ve all said it), but I hate to tell you that doing one task at a time is much better for you and your productivity. SO, always complete one task at a time. Knowing that you’ve completed a task will give you greater satisfaction than having 2 or even 3 tasks on the go with none of them finished. All that is going to do is make you feel stressed and de-motivated.

Turn off notifications
We all love our mobile phones, but they are making us more and more inefficient with all the different notifications that go off every few minutes. Turn them off. It really is that simple. They are distracting and they steal your focus. 9 times out of 10 it won’t be important or need attending to straight away. By engaging in this distraction you are not only wasting valuable time, but you are also diluting your focus on the task in hand.

Check e-mail at certain times
Set yourself certain times of the day to check your e-mail e.g. 10am, 1pm and 4pm. This will stop your mind from wondering off to thinking about the e-mail you just read and how you should respond whilst you’re completing the task you set yourself. This goes back to multitasking again and is not good remember! Allocating certain times for e-mail will enable you to give your full attention to the message and reply accordingly, instead of sending a quick response that in fact hasn’t said everything you wanted it to, has typos and isn’t in the tone that you had intended.

Set yourself goals
Your goals can be weekly and monthly and even daily if you so wish. Your monthly goals will inevitably be bigger than your weekly ones, but each goal gives you something to aim for and once you’ve reached the first one it will give you the motivation to reach the second and so on. Make sure they are realistic. Maybe start with something small and then build them as time goes by. Remember your goals will be completely different to other peoples and that’s OK. The size of your goals will also differ and that’s OK too.

NO Social Media
DO NOT log in to your social media. this is one of the worst time zappers out there. Do not fall in to the trap of thinking that it will be OK to just take a peek first thing in the morning…….this is lethal. Save social media for your break times and lunch. This is a tough one I know as most of us or in fact all of us use social media for our business, but honestly it’s the biggest time waster and you’ll kick yourself for it later when you realise that you’ve not achieved everything you needed to.

AS I said in the beginning, none of this is rocket science but I do hope this has helped you in some way and reminded you of the importance of remaining focused and capitalising on your time management.

If you would like any more tips or help with your time management and efficiency then please get in touch faye@fayepa.co.uk or visit www.fayepa.co.uk and sign up to my newsletter which is full of tips and tricks. You can also get more information and tips over on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fayepaservices