Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

31 Days of Wishes – I Wish for Less December 6, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:33 pm
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My wish is for less… or fewer, whichever word is grammatically appropriate. 🙂

I could list a whole stack of things I would love to have more of: time, vacation, friends, money, and so on. Isn’t it nice to think about what you would wish to get less of? We are born conditioned to want more and more and more. And yet many of us all realize at some point that more really isn’t what we want at all.

What we really want is: enough.

Over the weekend, I started to realize that wishing for more time is just a waste of time. So I refocused my wishes to something that actually would give me more time.

I wish for:

  • less wasted time on thoughts or memories that I can do absolutely nothing about but still somehow manage get me down a bit
  • fewer times that I get so stressed out and tell my kids…” just a minute” then realize 20 minutes later I left them hanging just so I could… you know… “just get this done really quick!” :{ Yeah, I did that too much this year.
  • fewer detours
  • fewer illnesses
  • less depressing junk (wish I could use another word there) on tv or in my reading materials
  • less junk food… (This is the most difficult time of the year to with for that isn’t it?!

Most of all I wish for less stress. Maybe that means I need to wish for fewer moments to occur in which I allow things to pile up and come crashing down. Maybe it means that I need to wish for less impatience when things don’t go perfectly.

☆ Happy Holidays ☆ with less of what you don’t need. 😉

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Exercise? Blah, It Just Sounds Like More Work… November 8, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 4:02 pm
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Back in September I wrote a post about how I really needed to make myself get more sleep. Well, I have done that 8 hours of sleep thing almost every single night since and I tell you what… I didn’t realize how tired I was until I actually started getting enough sleep.

It’s like that whole boiling frogs experiment… What!? Some of you have never heard of the boiling frogs experiment?

OK, there was a teacher that would make his/her students boil water and then throw live frogs in the water. Don’t worry though, as soon as those frogs hit the water they would immediately jump out.

Next the teacher would have the students put semi warm water in a pot and put the live frogs in… (They probably swam around all happy.) However, the student were told to gradually heat up the water until it got back to a boil.

The same frogs jumped out of the boiling water the first time ended up being slowly boiled to death.

Gross isn’t it? But what does this have to do with exercise? Well, let me answer the question with another question:

What is your environment like? Is it an optimal for you to stay healthy and happy? Or could you possibly be slowly boiling yourself to death?

I was definitely on a slippery slope to the latter. At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I was stressing out about everything, I wasn’t eating right, I wasn’t exercising.

I was constantly busy! And yet, busy doesn’t always equal active. Ninety five percent of my work is on the computer, so, I have to change something else.

Last year, I gained a good 5 lbs during winter and I still have yet to be rid of it. So, this winter, I am not going to let myself gain another 5 lbs because I am too busy to exercise! Winter is quickly approaching and I had to ask myself: “Am I going to fall into the same cycle of less physical activity for another 3 to 4 months this year?”

My answer is: “Um… No!”

So, last week, I started exercising again.

Affiliate Link

See more reviews or purchase the Denise Austin Pilates Workout Video at Amazon.com

So, I dug out my old Denise Austin Pilates video and even the kids got out their yoga for kids videos this weekend. I am going to save myself from slowly allowing my energy to deplete even more because I am not keeping my body strong.

I like Denise Austin because she is so encouraging and authentic in her videos. The Denise Austin: Mat Workout Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates is my favorite. It is so challenging, but not too challenging.

She says things like “These exercises will help you strengthen and tone your muscles to be able to move around with everyday ease…”

Sounds nice right? 🙂 And she gives you work-arounds for some of her more challenging moves so that you aren’t plagued with sore muscles and joints!

I got my kids involved too

Affiliate Link

See more reviews or purchase the YogaKids Workout Video at Amazon.com

This last Saturday, we (myself, my daughter 8, and my son, 4) decided to also get out my daughter’s old YogaKids video and do that together. It’s a set of two DVDs and we did the one called: “Silly to Calm”. It says it’s for ages 3-6, but my daughter and I both enjoyed it very much. 🙂

If you have a favorite video or activity to share, please do so in the comments! I am going to need some input to make sure I don’t get bored.

Remember to stay active this winter…
The hardest part is getting started.

 

How well do you sleep at night? September 13, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 11:58 am
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Insomnia is Latin for “no sleep”. It is a serious health condition that means you have the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. All over the internet you will find thousands of articles about not getting enough sleep. Here are some common lists of issues that you can have when you don’t give it enough rest:

  • tiredness (duh)
  • irritability (UG, irritability)
  • memory loss
  • premature aging
  • depression
  • slow reaction time: “When sleep deprived, the brain is essentially too tired to process the information it is receiving effectively. The information eventually gets through, but the processing takes notably longer than in a person who is not sleep deprived. Most commonly, you notice your slower reaction times when in traffic. Although you might see a car in front of you running a red light, it takes some time until you gather yourself and step on the breaks. Slowed reflexes (and thus reaction time) are probably the most dangerous sign of sleep deprivation. Even a little sleep deprivation can still cause a measurable decrease in reaction time, which can prove to be fatal when getting behind the wheel.”
  • anxiety
  • attention deficiency
  • heart disease and hypertension
  • clumsiness ( < – LOL that’s all me!)
  • weight gain or weight loss (Who are they kidding? It’s probably gonna be weight gain.)

My goal for the next 30 days is to get 8 hours of sleep every single night. (I am starting tonight because last night I stayed awake reading this amazing book by Jodi Picoult – AMAZING writer. I seriously kept telling myself that I needed to get to sleep, but the next thing I knew it was 2am. :/ )

Because I have such an active lifestyle and am not sure if I believe in the whole “sleep debt” theory, I think 8 hours each night for a whole month with definitely let me know if I am sleep deprived because of my poor sleep behaviors. Anyways, I am going to see how I feel. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Have a great week!

Photo Credit

 

A New Plan of Action-A Refocused Journey September 3, 2010

Filed under: Work at Home — kena-virtuallyassistingyou @ 5:49 pm
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Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the feeling of being scattered with my projects and tasks.  I sat down this past week and wrote out a new plan for me and my business…and it feels great!  It takes time to figure out what works best for one working from home.  It just seemed to me that as soon as I finished one client project and begin working on another I would lose my focus.  My thoughts were scattered all over the place and it was becoming more difficult for me to switch gears and get in the mindset of the next client’s particular needs.

So I sat down and came up with a list of skills that I felt I was most productive at.  In doing this exercise, I came to the conclusion that working with select clients whose tasks/projects related or closely related to that particular list of skills was where my productivity was truly proven.  In order for me to establish the best possible working relationships, I had to choose who I wanted these clients to be and then let the others go.  It wasn’t an easy task, but it was what was best for the clients and for me.  If you’re anything like me, you form personal relationships with your clients and saying goodbye is never easy, but definitely a must. 

I will now only be working with 5-6 clients on a contract basis.  I can now focus my time and efforts on my clients’ mundane tasks and they can focus on growing their business while still having peace of mind that their business is being taken care of.  This decision already feels like a burden has been lifted.

During this time of feeling “scattered” I just wasn’t myself. I was cranky with my kids, my husband and even the dog! Then I realized I needed to pull myself together and take care of the issue.

If things aren’t working out, just don’t seem to be going according to plan or if you’re just not yourself – take a close look at your working situation.  Maybe you need to regroup and refocus.  I know it worked for me.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

 

5 Silly Things Most Virtual Assistants Will Go Through August 30, 2010

Filed under: Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 6:57 pm
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Have you ever had one of those days that seemed extremely short while you were living it, and then extremely long when you look back and see everything you accomplished in such a short time? Yep, that’s how my day has been. Well, I almost missed my Monday post due to an unusually long To Do list today. 🙂 Forgive me for being tardy?

By the time I even sat down to write about my latest battle with my newest WordPress client who also purchased Thesis (my most favoritest WordPress theme ever <- tiny bit of sarcasm there) I realized that I didn’t even want to think about it again for the rest of the night. LOL! So, I am going continue that little beauty tomorrow (truly, it is turning out very nice even if I do say so myself 😉 ); and tonight I needed to search for a little comic relief. We all need to have a laugh every now and then, keeps the spirits high.

I hope you can relate to some of these jokes the way I do. Here are some things you might have done (or will do) as a virtual business owner. 😉 You know you are official when:

1. You’ve said “OMG” or “LOL” out loud… and no one was in the room to hear you.

2. You have gone in to your email program/website to check it and it says “no new mail”; so in disbelief, you immediately click on “check mail” again

3. You’ve had to work from some type of makeshift virtual office at some point or another within the past year.

Virtual Office Humor

Cartoon Credit

4. You are addicted or are in recovery of an addiction to Facebook (or other social networking service).

How would you know if you are addicted to Facebook?

  1. You check your Facebook account more than one time every hour
  2. You visit sites that list reasons about being addicted to Facebook
  3. Your profile has so many applications that it takes several minutes to load
  4. Your dreams (or nightmares) involve people writing messages on your wall
  5. You’re one of the few people who actually use Facebook chat
  6. You tag photos immediately after taking them with your camera phone
  7. You have several Facebook friends that you’ve never actually met in person
  8. Before you accept a job you have to find out about their Facebook policies
  9. People don’t invite you out without Facebooking you about it first
  10. You tell (….force) more people to join facebook
  11. The world “poke” is no longer considered something physical to you
  12. You like to receive meaningless gift icons and you like sending meaningless gift icons in return
  13. Reading this list reminded you to do something on Facebook before finishing this list
  14. You join a new Facebook group on a daily basis

List Credit (slightly modified)

5. You’ve lived through an insanely pointless phone call to some customer service department somewhere (probably even just out of the goodness or your heart)

True Story Example:
My Aunt passed away this past January. Her bank billed her for February and March for their monthly service charge on her credit card, and then added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00, but had now grown to somewhere around $60.00.

I placed the following phone call to the bank:
Me: “I am calling to tell you that she died in January.”
Bank: “The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.”
Me: “Maybe, you should turn it over to collections…”
Bank: “Since it is two months past due, it already has been.”
Me: “So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?”
Bank: “Either report her account to the frauds division, or report her to the credit bureau…maybe both!”
Me: “Do you think God will be mad at her?”
Bank: “Do I think God… excuse me, what did you say?”
Me: “Do you understand what I was telling you… specifically the part about her being… dead?”
Bank: “Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor!”
(Supervisor gets on the phone)
Me: “I’m calling to tell you, she deceased in January.”
Bank: “The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.”
Me: “You mean you want to collect from her estate?”
Bank: “…..(stammer)” …. “Are you her lawyer?”
Me: “No, I’m her great-nephew, but feel free to contact her lawyer at: XXX-XXXX”
Bank: “Could you fax us a certificate of death?
Me: “Sure.”
( Later, After they have gotten the fax. )
Bank: “Our system just isn’t setup to handle this…”
Me: “Oh…”
Bank: “I don’t know what more I can do to help…”
Me: “Well… if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her… I suppose…don’t really think she will care….”
Bank: “Well…the late fees and charges do still apply.”
Me: “Would you like her new billing address?”
Bank: “That might help.”
Me: “Fredrickson Memorial Cemetery, Hwy 19 and plot number 233.”
Bank: “Sir, that’s a cemetery!”
Me: “Yes sir, that’s what we do with our departed loved ones.”

Story Credit

One last silly joke just because I like it:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach him to use the Internet, and he won’t bother you for weeks!

😉 Ok, that’s all I have for today. Try to laugh more off this week, and if you know of any other fun stories please do share!

 

Your Inner Dialogue is a Self-fulfilling Prophecy August 23, 2010

Filed under: Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 11:37 am
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What kinds of thoughts do you have? Are they positive or negative?

  • I am so tired.
  • I am never going to get this done.
  • This client is so picky they are driving me batty!

If these are thoughts that you are having on a consistent basis, you might be guilty of self-sabotage.

A bad mood will often lead to a bad day. Your outlook often gauges your success. If you try to gain a client but keep thinking, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I am good enough!“, then you can bet that they will not be sure if you are good enough.

Positive affirmations are a great way of changing your insecure thoughts into ones that lead you to a confident and more fulfilling life at work or home.

new opportunities affirmation

Try saying something like this out loud. Hearing it in your own voice, is like giving yourself a pep talk everyday.

Remember, your thoughts are often your self-fulfilling prophecy. The good news is that they are not set in stone.

Credits:  Positive Affirmation, Photo

 

Change is Inevitable, Progress is Work August 16, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 1:53 pm
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Ryans 1st day of preschool

It's ok to cry, not because you're sad, but because you're proud. (Click to enlarge.)

It’s back to school week for some of us work at home parents. It’s difficult to watch our little one’s wearing their brand new tennis shoes and this year’s “cool” backpack. Today was particularly hard for me, because my baby went off to preschool. *sniff* *sniff*

This entire morning I was working around the house and playing games with my daughter who starts third grade tomorrow. We are trying to make the most of her last day of summer vacation. It all happens so fast doesn’t it? Hence the reason why this post is going to be quite short today.

This also means that I am starting a new chapter in my work at home life. With both children off to school (at least for three days a week), there will be more time for me to focus on my work and more quiet for me to actually call my clients! 🙂 So far, I have done 90% of my contacting clients via email and Facebook. It will be nice to hear their voices and take note of their requests in real time.

What I wanted to write about today is change. We all have choices in our lives that bring us to a sort of crossroads. All we can do is go left, right, or forward. However, we know that we can never go back to where we were. Sometimes, we get lucky and we can ask each other for directions, or leave each other instructions and how-tos in our blogs. But in the end, it all boils down to what we decide to do with our turn at those crossroads.

I don’t usually like to post such philosophical messages. However, I felt it was important today. If you think about it, as virtual assistants and entrepreneurs, we are all taking a road less traveled. It is up to us to decide how to pave the way and make it work for us. Once the path is beaten down, it’s becoming easier to continually “revisit” success.

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