The term work-life balance is so overused these days it’s almost a cliché.

And it’s a bit of a misnomer, anyway. Because it suggests that it’s about achieving a level mix of life and work.

As you probably know from experience, life’s not like that. Or rarely. The norm is for the balance to be out of whack.

Just stop for a moment and consider how things are for you now. Does it feel like everything is in harmony?

You might be in the start-up phase as a VA and still finding your feet. You could be established and ticking along nicely, looking for the next level of growth in your business.

You might be super busy with work or business but feeling overwhelmed or plain fatigued. You may be wondering when you’ll ever get a holiday or time for a proper break from it all.

You might be juggling work and home, work and family or simply have your hands full with family and home life.

I always seem to be ‘on the go’ but do have time off to visit family each year. It’s rarely a 50-50 for life-work balance for me. I do find it hard to stop.

But I realised the other week that I do need to make sure I slow down a little – or build in some kind of break. Otherwise, I’ll just end up exhausted.

I’m probably not the best person to be giving this advice but do give yourself some self-care this week and in the months ahead. It’s been quite a year and we all deserve to reward and treat ourselves.

This is not me saying “Do as I do” (because I’m not the best at this kind of stuff) but it is me – woman, business owner, wife, mother, grandmother and human being – saying do what you need to do to look after yourself.

Whatever balance you need or is right for you at this time, do what’s required to give you that.

Here are some things to consider.

Sleep

How’s your balance?Make sure you get good sleep. There is plenty of research out there now to show that getting the right amount of hours rest at night is really important. It’s said that an adult should get between seven and nine hours’ sleep.

There is plenty of advice and lots of tips out there for enjoying a better night’s sleep. Having a routine, and not using your smartphone or tablet an hour before you close your eyes, is said to help.

Relaxation

It can be stressful combining work with family. If you can find a bit of time and space each day, or at least weekly, to unwind, that’s a good thing. It might be to read a book, listen to music or a podcast, go for a walk, meditate, do some mindfulness or even yoga.

Exercise

This could be anything from yoga to tai chi, cycling to circuits, jogging to a gym workout, walking to running, ball sports to racket sports. Doing a bit every week is good for your physical and mental health.

Work-Life Balance

It’s rarely 50-50 so this is more about being aware of where the balance is, so you can prepare, adapt and adjust. Keep an eye on your time. Note the hours you spend on work and business. Check to see if you’re making time for relaxation, exercise and fun.

Holidays and Breaks

When you have a job, your employer tells you how much holiday you have each year and may even remind you to take some. When you’re self-employed, you are the one who has to take charge.

It’s really easy to get sucked into working long days and long weeks. If you have a particularly busy week or month, that’s OK. It’s part of that balance. But if it’s a continuous thing you can end up tired, drained and exhausted.How’s your balance?

One way to ensure you take a holiday and have a proper break is to schedule the dates in your calendar or diary first. That way the time is blocked off and you can let people know when you won’t be available.

Use Your Support Network

Another common feature of working for yourself is you can tend to think you have to do it all yourself. Or you try to figure it all out on your own.

Make use of the support around you. It might be family or friends. A coach or mentor. Or training to give you the confidence to be on top of systems, processes, software and apps.

Do what you need to do to give you the right balance you need right now. Do what you need to do to look after yourself. We’re not robots, we’re humans.

P.S. Naturally, if the support you need is getting to grips with any aspect of Microsoft 365 you can find my range of online
courses 24-7.

You can also book 1:1 training with me online. You can Learn with Shelley – One to one here.

Not forgetting Trainer in Your Pocket, the flexible membership subscription which gives you access to ask me any questions via email and up to 30 minutes of live training with me per month. I’m here if you need me.

Shelley Fishel

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

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

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

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

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.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes