Time feels like an increasingly precious commodity in our lives.

With the huge rise in remote working from home, people have had to get used to many changes.

For some, the experience has been liberating. For others, more stressful than ever.

According to 2020 Government statistics, almost 47 per cent of people in employment did some work at home.

Around one third of those worked fewer hours than usual, one third more hours than usual. Women were more likely to work from home than men.

It All Adds Up

If you use a time tracking app like RescueTime or TimeCamp, you’ll quickly realise how you’re spending your days and weeks.

There will be project delivery work, marketing and planning. Take into account all the emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, WhatsApp messages, invoicing and other admin and it soon adds up.

Picture of a laptop with the words Free Time on the screen

You may not realise just how much time you are spending in the job or business until you look at your tracking summary page.

It may not seem so bad if the weekly total is, say, 39 hours. But if your standard week is meant to be 37.5 hours you’re giving away 1.5 hours a week free. Over a 48-week year (allowing for holidays) that’s 72 hours ‘unpaid’.

If your rate is £30 per hour, that’s £2,160 of income you’ve lost.

It really does pay to make your working time count.

Avoid The Overwhelm of Big Change

One of the biggest challenges with time management is making changes to the way we work.

People get into habits (not always productive ones) and start looking into all the different options.

It can leave them feeling overwhelmed, either by the array of alternatives or by the enormity of ‘everything’ that needs to change.

This is where it can help to break things down into micro steps.

Rather than attempt a massive change in one go, make small adjustments to how you are working and using technology over time.

Change Your (Microsoft) Outlook

If you have Microsoft Outlook with 365 Business, you have a tool that will make it easy for you to make simple changes, week by week.

You can access it on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Here are some simple ways to free up some time with Outlook, including via mobile.

Calendar – Add your personal calendar to your work account. This means when someone wants to schedule a meeting with the Scheduling Assistant, your calendar will show ‘personal events’ time as ‘busy’.

This helps protect your private time and avoid ‘time creep’. Remember, every hour extra you work each week is 48 hours over the year.

Task Management – If you receive an email message with an action point for you to carry out, you can create a task and include the email subject and a link to the Outlook conversation for quick reference.

Planning Tasks – Using My Day in your calendar allows you to assign time to complete important tasks for the day or week, and to set reminders to keep you focused. You can move things around your calendar with ‘drag and drop’ simplicity.

Daily Briefing – Cortana (Microsoft’s virtual productivity assistant) can deliver an email with important items to review, consider or execute. It’s a way to help you prepare for the day and set aside concentrated time to get things done.

Emails – With Outlook, you can schedule emails so they are delivered at a better time for people (so they are not disturbed at night or whilst on holiday). If you receive a message which requires a response, but cannot act on it straight away, you can ‘snooze’ the message and have it reappear at the top of your inbox later.

It’s Easy When You Know How

Microsoft Office and 365 are like quizzes.

They’re easy when you know the answers.

Thankfully, learning how to use Outlook (and how it integrates with other Microsoft applications, such as Teams) is a lot easier than swatting for Mastermind or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

If you took just one tip a week and implemented it in your work or business, you would find time savings adding up day after day. Over a year, it could give you back days (or even weeks) of time.

To see how easy it can be, take a look at my online courses for Microsoft Outlook.

If you’re also looking to save time when you use other Microsoft applications (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams) you may prefer the value of my complete box set of online courses, known as The Hub (aka ‘The Full Monty’).

Value your time. Manage your time. Enjoy the extra time your productivity gives you.


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