There can be a bit of pressure getting ready for the seasonal festivities. But this is also a time of the year which gives back. 

With a break from work and the inbox, there will be moments to relax. And the quieter weeks ahead provide an opportunity for learning and development. 

This can give you extra knowledge or skills (or both) ready for the year ahead.  

How much you put into it is down to you and how busy your festive season is going to be. 

There are plenty of topics to choose from. 

Time Management 

If you know you could manage your working week better, learning a few tips or a new system of doing things might be something to look at. 

If you could save just one hour a week, that’s around 50 hours you can claw back over a year. 

Microsoft Office 

On the topic of saving time, a simple way to achieve that is by completing tasks more quickly. 

What may be holding you back is not knowing shortcuts or the most efficient way to carry out essential and regular tasks. That’s where online courses can help. 

Look out for task-based, step-by-step video training with high-quality audio. All my courses tick those boxes for you. You can see for yourself with this example. Scroll down the page to the ‘curriculum’ section and look for a ‘preview’ button on the right-hand side. Press preview to play that sample lesson. 

CRM and Email Marketing 

If you are an assistant involved in marketing, there may be a software system you’re using or have been asked to use. 

This might be the time to build on your basics or pick up some advanced aspects of an application. Learn how to manage leads, create campaigns and build automated content. 

Graphic Design 

If your work involves branding or creating visuals to support words, you may want to learn more about graphic design. How to use and choose colours, shapes, contrast and fonts.  

If creating e-books and lead magnets is part of your role or service, I can show you how to do that in Microsoft Word. 

Finance and Accounting 

If your work revolves around or dips into the world of finance or accounting, you could upgrade your knowledge and skills in this field.  

There are so many changes to legislation, rules and systems that what you knew before is no longer enough. A good reason to brush up or learn something new. 

General Knowledge  

If you’re not looking for deeper study and learning over the festive season, you could always simply add to your general knowledge. 

Why not pick up a book online or in your local bookshop? You could read a biography or autobiography, something from the ‘smart thinking’ section or just something that takes your fancy on the shelves. 

If you’re looking for something more specialist, there are books on so many subjects. I’ve written a number of manuals for Bookboon about how to use Microsoft Office applications, for example.  

You can also learn by listening to podcasts or watching videos, including my ‘how to’ tips, on YouTube

Something Else? 

These are just some of the topics you could dip or dive into to improve your learning and development. 

Maybe you have another subject in mind? Let me know what you’re interested in. Add a comment below. 

Whatever you fancy learning more about, don’t think about it and then just forget about it. 

Put the Intention There 

As part of your festive planning, give some thought to how many hours you will set aside for learning and development. 

It could be anything from reading a book to completing an online course

If you leave it and just think “We’ll see how the holidays go”, you may end up not doing anything. And, by the way, that latter option may be a good one if your focus is on relaxation and recharging. 

Reading, watching and listening for pleasure is okay, too. However, if you do have time for something more studious, it can get you into a more ‘get ready’ mode for 2022. 

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I find Shelley’s training easy to follow and the very best thing is that you can do it all at your own pace and revisit modules if it doesn’t quite sink in the first time round! I have learned so much from her training and continue to do so! She is responsive to my questions and I learn something new with each module. I find Iam hardly ever having to Google or YouTube information now, so it really is saving me time in my work day. Time that can be better used by learning more about the business I operate in!
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On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

From initial enquiry to delivery Shelley is the consummate professional and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to engage with her.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Shelley to any individual or group.

Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

Shelley is THE guru on all things Microsoft.

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I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

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James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn. It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

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