Does it always feel as if there are never enough hours in the day? Would you like a free fortnight every year?

If you’re working as a VA, self-employed, or running a business, there may be a lot on your plate. Especially if you’re looking after children or caring for a family member.

You may wonder when you’ll ever get time – genuine, proper, quality time – for yourself.

This is why productivity is such a hot topic for so many women (and men) who earn their living as a VA.

Because when you can carry out a task more quickly, you save time. Not just as a one-off but every time you repeat that task.

It All Adds Up

The time saving might appear small. But when you apply that saving to repeated tasks – and tasks over time – it all adds up in a very attractive way.How to Give Yourself a Free Fortnight Every Year

Within any given year, you could easily claw back enough hours to give you a free fortnight.

Time you can have for yourself. Time well deserved and well earned.

A chance to put your feet up. A chance to unwind. A chance to relax. A chance to do things for you. A chance to chill out.

All possible because of your increased productivity.

Here’s The Proof

Let’s show you some numbers to illustrate the point.

To keep it simple, we’ll assume you work five days a week and that you take four weeks’ holiday a year.

Imagine you could save 20 minutes each day, by being more productive (and avoiding the many distractions of working from home).

That is 100 minutes a week clawed back. Not counting your holiday allowance, that leaves 48 eligible weeks a year. In total, the time saved is 4,800 minutes. Divide by 60 and you get the total hours saved.

Let me do the maths for you.

How to Give Yourself a Free Fortnight Every YearThat is 80 hours saved in the year. Even if we take your working week as a long 40 hours a week, that is TWO weeks of time you have given back to yourself.

Congratulations, you’ve gained a free fortnight for your year!

Sounds great, right?

How to Make It Happen

And you might now be thinking “How can I actually do it? How can I save 20 minutes a day?”

First of all, you can cut out and minimise the many distractions and ‘life stuff’ which can prevent you from being productive.

You could:

  • Reduce your time on Social Media
  • Switch off notifications for Facebook, Insta and Twitter
  • Watch less television
  • Reduce your viewing of Netflix, Sky, Apple TV or Amazon Prime
  • Spend less time at the shops or shopping online
  • Keep meetings and conversations, via zoom or phone, short where you can
  • Ask your children and/or partner to help with more of the household chores
  • Spend five or 10 minutes less at your local café
  • Plan your food shopping or switch to online delivery

These are just some suggestions to consider. You probably have your own ideas and ways you can think of.

Ways to Be More Productive

Secondly, you can be more productive when you are working.

If you know you have a tendency to allow time to drift, you could set a timer for tasks to help you focus.

Some people find listening to calm, ambient or soft classical music can help them to be more productive.

Make use of your calendar, diary and a planner to organise your working day, weeks and months.

And, of course, it helps if you know how to be productive with Microsoft 365 and the MS Office suite of applications.

When you know how to do the essential tasks in Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Teams it makes life so much easier.

When clients ask you to do something, you can just get on with it. You’re not having to worry about working out how to do it – because you already know how to do it.

There’s no having to search online for the answer. No having to scour through half a dozen YouTube videos before you find something that’s up to date and gives you what you need.

It’s why I developed my range of online courses for busy professionals, VAs, EAs, PAs and other administrators.

No waffle. No padded content. No gimmicks.

Just clear, step-by-step guides to how to complete all the essential tasks you’re ever likely to be asked to, using Microsoft 365.

You get to see my screen – every move of the cursor, every drop-down menu, every click.

Because it’s on video, you can watch it when you like, where you like and how you like. Run through from start to finish or simply jump into the bit you want to learn.

You can return to the online course any time you need a refresh – months from now or years from now. Once you have one of my courses you get to keep it for life.

If you regularly get to use most of the Microsoft ‘Office’ applications like Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, you may find it pays to invest in The Tomorrow’s VA Hub. It’s the complete box set and represents the best value if you want to access all of my courses at any time. Some know The Hub as ‘The Full Monty’.

When you can avoid distractions and have the know-how to be more productive, you’ll find saving that equivalent of 20 minutes a day becomes surprisingly easy.

It all adds up to a free fortnight for you each year.

Imagine how you could spend that time – and give yourself back some much deserved ‘me’ time.

Shelley Fishel