The first month of 2022 is almost over and most people will be thinking one thing. 

Where did January go?” 

A bit like December, January always seems to fly by. Before you’ve had time to blink, you’re in February. 

Now is a good time to review progress and set yourself the challenge of making the next 30 days even better. 

Review and Reflect 

You may have started 2022 with some goals and a plan. Ask yourself what kind of start January has given you. 

Have you achieved your goals for the month? 

What has gone well? What could have gone better? 

If you’re working for yourself, what marketing did you do? How many enquiries did you have? How many new clients did you take on? 

How was your work-life balance? Did you find time for a break and some fun? 

Set Yourself a Challenge 

Now that you have reviewed your January, you can plan for the month ahead. 

You might want to consider setting yourself a challenge for the next 30 days, to take you to the end of February. 

Make part of it around work. Make another part of it around leisure and fun. 

What would make a great next 30 days for you? 

The challenge should be kept simple but also be something you can measure – the way smart goals can be measured. 

The One Thing 

One way to approach the challenge is to give yourself a priority focus. 

What is the ONE thing you want to accomplish in the next 30 days? What would make all the difference if you could get it done? 

Some people use this approach for the whole year. Before the year begins, they set out what their focus task will be for each month. It helps them to plan their work and have the right energy for the right time. 

The ‘One Thing’ plan is not set in stone. During the year, the focus for a particular month might change. Unforeseen circumstances or rates of progress may determine a fresh focus. 

The principle stays the same. Choose one thing to go for. At the end of the 30 days, see how you’ve done. Review as before. Did you achieve it? Was there anything that got in the way? What lessons are there to take forward? 

Setting a ‘one thing’ does not mean you do nothing else during the month. It’s simply a way to give you something to focus on during the challenge. You will be working on other stuff, of course, but this is the thing you most want to get sorted. 

Break It Down 

The idea is to set yourself a realistic challenge for the 30 days.  

Your priority might be something simple yet important to you. If so, chances are it will be easy to plan time to get it done. However, if you’ve chosen quite a big ‘one thing’ to do, it may feel more pressured. 

If that’s the case, break the project or task down into smaller pieces. And decide what of all of that you’re going to aim to get done in the next 30 days. 

For example, if you were spending every day on it, writing a 40,000 to 60,000 word draft of a book might be possible. But it would be exhausting. So instead, you might want to split that up into more manageable chunks. 

That same task could be spread out to, say, a three to six-month project. Maybe use the first 30-days to create a title, set out chapter headings, write an introduction and maybe start a chapter or two. Finish the rest over the remaining months. 

In another scenario, if a boss or client has written a book draft, you might be asked to edit or proofread it. That could just be a 30-day task. 

Be realistic. Remember, if you complete your ‘one thing’ ahead of time, you can move on to other tasks. If the task runs out of time, you can add it to the next month’s ‘to do’ list – and choose whether it is a top priority or not. 

Schedule Your Work 

When you know what work you have to do – including your priority task or tasks – you can schedule time to do it. 

Block out sections of your calendar and set them aside for your challenge work. 

Don’t be tempted, if things get busy, to start eating into those dedicated time slots to do other work. You know your priorities. It’s time to focus. 

Build Learning into Your Challenge 

Whatever you are working on, having the right tools and knowing how to use them effectively is important. 

That’s why it makes sense to ensure your Microsoft Office skills are up to the mark. It will enable you to do more in less time. 

Work on improving your skills in a specific application, such as PowerPoint or Teams, or follow task-based training across the suite of tools.  

What will you choose to learn over the next 30 days to make you a better assistant? 

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!
Thanks Shelley!

Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

I have been following Shelley on Linkedin for several years, and always loved her hints and tips. In May of this year, I had the opportunity to recommend Shelley as one of our workshop speakers at the annual HMC Heads’ PA Conference in Sheffield.

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.

I love Outlook, use it every day, and think I have a pretty good understanding of it. But every time I attend one of her sessions I learn a lot more. Her knowledge is remarkable. And she delivers her knowledge in a really clear, engaging way.

Thanks Shelley

Kathy Soulsby

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

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