Work Life Balance

Posted on November 12, 2020October 22, 2020Format Gallery   Leave a comment on Work Life Balance

Achieving a proper work-life balance is something that many see as difficult or downright impossible. However, it is vital for your health and life that you pursue the best balance possible. There are three aspects we are going to consider: The cost of a poor work-life balance. How to achieve a better work-life balance. And how to better care for yourself.

The cost of poor work-life balance results in fatigue, poor health, and lost time. Putting all your energy into work will only tire you, especially if you are working at a screen all the time. Your eyes, mind, and body need a break. Also being sedentary is bad for your body. It will cause your joints to stiffen, your muscles to weaken, and your eyes to wear. But possibly the biggest cost is lost time. Time is something you cannot get back. We all have the same amount of time. It isn’t how much time you have but what you put into the time. This is a perfect segue way into how to achieve a better balance.

work life balance virtual assistant services Indianapolis VA on the SpotThere are many things you can do to help achieve a better work-life balance. A few of these are: manage your time, set manageable goals, learn to say no, consider your options, detach from work, take breaks, communicate effectively, and listen to music. Managing your time helps you set realistic goals for each day and leave work feeling fulfilled. Some find it easy to say no while others find it a significant struggle. But when asked to do something weigh it against your priorities and goals and then decide if you can say yes. As hard as it might be, especially when working from home, detach from work. When you leave work, really leave. You need that time away to be a good employee and employer. Take breaks while you are working. Keeping your blood pumping helps you think better and clearer. You get and keep your blood pumping when you move around. You can also achieve this by alternating standing and sitting to work. By communicating effectively, you ensure you get the most work done in the shortest amount of time. It also brings others to a higher level of communication without knowing it. And listen to music. Studies show that listening to music adjusts one’s mood and energy level. So find something upbeat and positive and watch how your energy level changes.

Caring for yourself is an essential part of achieving an effective work-life balance. Take time to relax. This doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation on a remote island. Find the things that help you relax and make time for them. Find places to volunteer. Volunteering and doing things for others helps you feel more satisfied with yourself and your life. Developing a support system is vital. These are your people and they will walk with you through the good and the bad. They will listen when asked and talk when asked. Most of all, make time to unplug. There is so much of life and the world we are missing because we are constantly looking at devices. Challenge yourself to take a day without electronics and see how you feel. It is really quite freeing!

The most important thing to remember is that there is no perfect balance. What works for one person may not work for another. You have to look at your work, your life, your personality, and your home life and decide what your balance should look like. Then make a plan to get there. Don’t try to accomplish everything at once.

If offloading some of your workload is part of achieving your work-life balance, call us today at 317-288-5748 or fill out our contact us form. Let us help you reclaim your life by reclaiming your time.

 

Credits: Mayo Clinic, Mental Health America

Grammarly Review

Posted on October 28, 2020September 30, 2020   Leave a comment on Grammarly Review

Grammarly Review - VA on the SpotOur product review this month is an add on called Grammarly. This product was created to auto correct spelling and grammar, but upon further review, there’s so many more components to this product it has quickly become the favorite of many.

We began using Grammarly as a double check when writing documents, contracts, and emails. It didn’t take long to notice that when there was an error, Grammarly not only underlined it so you would have to view and approve the change, but it would also explain why the change needed to be made and what the other options were.

If you are someone who doesn’t want to put an add on onto your device, Grammarly has a neat feature that allows you to paste text into a box on their website and it will evaluate it just like the add on. This allows access to Grammarly literally everywhere.

Just like every platform, there are paid features that can enhance the capabilities of Grammarly. The basic free version offers spelling, grammar, and punctuation correction, which in and of itself helps one learn what they have been doing right and wrong. However, the premium version adds in features such as checking for readability, offering suggestions for better word choice, checking for plagiarism, ensuring formal language and formatting is used, and more. There is a business version that can be purchased but I didn’t find much extra value there other than tracking and collaboration tools.

When Grammarly saw the popularity of their regular platform, they quickly adjusted to add a separate platform for schools. Through what they call a .edu subscription, all of the premium features like better word choice and education on why certain choices were made are included, but it also includes formatting help for APA, MLA, and Chicago Style writing. This can provide invaluable to a student whether they are considered beginning or advanced to ensure the formatting is correct and they get the best grade possible on their paper. Instructors like the platform because it minimizes formatting questions and has a built in plagiarism checker which has been shown to decrease the amount of direct and indirect plagiarism in papers.

We at VA on the Spot LOVE Grammarly and use it to ensure our writing is as correct and professional as possible. We are happy to recommend this platform to all people, but especially those in the education and professional world.

Loom Product Review

Posted on October 23, 2020October 22, 2020Format Gallery   Leave a comment on Loom Product Review

Loom virtual assisting company Indianapolis VA on the Spot

This month we want to highlight a great platform we discovered that has helped us do business more efficiently and effectively. It is called Loom. Loom is a platform similar to others in that it records a video that you send to others to view. However, there are many features that we believe make Loom unique and especially helpful.

One of those is the ability to screen share. Loom has settings that allow you to record a variety of ways. You can record just yourself talking. You can record yourself while sharing your screen. Or you can record just your screen. This is helpful for when you do and don’t want to be seen. You can also record screenshots, which are helpful when making process documents.

Another is that it is cloud-based. The free version allows 100 of your videos and screenshots to be saved on Loom’s servers. This saves you space on your computer and server and assures you what you record is secure. You can also set passwords to videos for an added layer of security. This also allows anyone to view your video on any device from anywhere as long as they have the link.

A third is that you can see when the video has been viewed. When someone views your video, you are sent an email letting you know. This helps you know that your employees are viewing what you are sending. That way whatever you are trying to communicate is sure to be communicated.

All the features we have discussed so far are for the free version. There are actually 3 paid programs you can subscribe to that offer more features. The Starter Plus is $5 a month and allows you to have access to all your screenshots and videos, not just the last 100. The next step up is the Business plan. Where the Starter and Starter Plus plans allow you to record only up to 5 minutes, the Business plan allows you to record an unlimited length. You also get access to a video drawing tool that allows you to mark up your video, highlighted different aspects, the ability to include a call to action, the ability to add custom branding, and the ability to see insights into your video engagements. Each package also differs on how many users you can have, who can record and edit, and who has access to what in your profile.

After COVID, Loom launched a new aspect to its platform to serve educational institutions. This part of the platform works almost exactly like the business side, but it adds some interactive capabilities to serve both educators and students.

Originally we would say Loom is a great platform for any business that has a virtual aspect, but since COVID threw such a curveball at so many of us, we now feel Loom is an essential platform for every business to be able to communicate effectively and operate efficiently.

For help integrating Loom or any other platform in your business, call us today!

Scope Creep

Posted on October 21, 2020September 30, 2020   Leave a comment on Scope Creep

Scope creep might be a phrase you have never heard or something you have heard but don’t really know what it means. However, once you know what it means, you want to do everything in your power to avoid it. It can cost thousands of dollars or more a year for companies.

scope creep Indianapolis VA on the SpotScope creep is when a project grows bigger than it was originally contracted. An example of this would be if someone is hired to come clean your kitchen once a month and while they are there you ask them to clean your bathroom and vacuum as well. You would expect them to charge you more correct? Yet many times, scope creep in a professional relationship is something expected by a client and can even be purposefully introduced into the relationship without you being aware.

One time I had a client who contracted me to monitor her online presence. All I was supposed to do is make sure her listings were correct and post once a month to her platforms and provide a monthly report on her services. One day she called asking me to help her post a job opening with the business. I helped her. Then she called because she couldn’t get an ad to post. I helped her. Then she called because she wanted to post something but couldn’t format it correctly. I helped her. And the list goes on. After a month of this, I was approached by my supervisor asking why I was doing all these extra things without being contracted to do so. I responded with I wanted to give great service and help the client. My supervisor had added up the amount of time I spent with the client that was outside of the scope of the contract and then showed me how much we actually made off the client that month. It turned out we had paid the client to work with us because of the amount of time I spent. It was at that point I really understood scope creep and the damage it can cause. In this case I don’t know if the client was doing it on purpose or not, but it was up to me to know the lines and stand firm to them.

There is a line between offering good customer service and allowing a client to take advantage of you. This is where a contract comes in handy. A contract should clearly outline as many of the tasks and aspects of the project as possible. There should also be a section that talks about potential work or charges that may be incurred so that they are disclosed ahead of time and there are no surprises.

Every business owner wants to offer the best service possible. However, it is important that is balanced with the services offered in the contract. That way both the client and the business can benefit from the relationship and be completely satisfied. For help with your business call VA on the Spot today!

The Relationship Between Google and SEO

Posted on October 5, 2020September 30, 2020   Leave a comment on The Relationship Between Google and SEO

Historically Google has been seen as an adversary to SEO. With guidelines spanning over 200 pages it seems there is little chance of pleasing Google. However, Search Engine Journal did an interview with a Google executive who said Google is actually an advocate for good SEO and awards white hat techniques. Here are some good nuggets gleaned from this interview:

  • Google’s answer to a lot of SEO questions is “it depends” and that is because there are so many variables in how Google determines placement they must be that ambiguous. Some of the it depends questions are: Is it a new site? Has it moved recently? Has the URL changed? Has the site setup changed? How fast is the site? Is there a lot of competition? The answers to these The Relationship Between Google and SEOquestions and more will complete the “it depends” answer but because of the specifics that’s as specific Google can be.
  • Some complain that so much is included in featured snippets that potential customers don’t have to click through to the website. Google’s answer to that is in their view it actually does the opposite. Good content in a snippet will actually prompt a potential customer to click through and obtain more information. (They also say usually those who complain have crappy content.)
  • Google doesn’t provide a lot of transparency to their formulas and algorithms is something heard frequently by those at Google. The answer there is that like any company, if they revealed every piece of information, it would be misused and taken out of context and most likely used against them. McDonalds doesn’t give out their secret sauce formula but everyone knows what it is. There is value to some ambiguity. However, Google has said they will be providing as much information as possible to SEO companies and consumers to improve their transparency.

Possibly one of the most interesting parts of the interview was when the Google executive said he didn’t want to know how search engine rankings work because it would cloud his conversations with SEO professionals. While this professional appreciates that viewpoint, it is difficult to have an in depth and meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t have an idea how search engines actually work.

So unfortunately the result of this interview didn’t provide a lot of clarity, but that is to be expected when dealing with Google. It seems the SEO game continues to be just that, an attempt by SEO professionals to follow the best practices and processes that have provided success in the past in the goal of getting a business ranked. The challenge is to understand that this is a game like chess and not poker. There is strategy and study involved to figure out the most effective techniques and formulas to achieve ranking results.

The SEO practices of VA on the Spot are testament that we follow Google’s guidelines as closely as possible and only utilize white hat techniques when helping our clients achieve success. Call today to see how we can help your business grow and achieve a new level of success while giving you back more time in your day to do the business you love.