5 Ways to Boost Productivity

5 Ways to Boost Productivity

Productivity is paramount to running a successful business. But for the self-employed it can present a number of challenges as you juggle numerous clients with conflicting workloads and deadlines – then, of course, there’s your own business to manage. How can I cope?! Stay tuned, for help is at hand. The following five points will boost productivity, make you more efficient and hopefully bring some useful apps to your attention.

Tips And Apps To Boost Productivity 

There are many useful online apps and businesses there to support you. The problem isn’t finding one, it’s finding the right ones for you. Without further ado, let’s get started with five great ways you can boost productivity.

1. Asana

Asana is a time and work tracking application available on web and mobile. It was created by by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-engineer Justin Rosenstein, who both worked with Facebook employees to boost productivity. It is an app I use and highly recommend. It helps me plan out a week, month or year and know which of my remote contractors has been assigned which tasks. It send automated email reminders to both you and your remote staff, which is incredibly useful. This is a great project management tool, which has a free option for up to 15 members, and paid plans for larger teams or companies.

2. Calendly

5 Ways to Boost Productivity | Roche Online Business ServicesHaving a calendar to book appointments, meetings and interviews is essential. Calendly is a great choice as integrates with numerous other calendar apps (for example Google Calendar), meaning you don’t have to juggle numerous calendar applications and run the risk of double-booking yourself. This tends not to go over too well. Calendly allows you to email a link to people for them to book a meeting at a time that is convenient to them. It also allows the owner to block out time they are unavailable. It has a free plan, with limited but usable functionality, and more options are various pricing levels should you need extra functionality.

3. Invoicing and Bookkeeping Software

Keeping track of your work and correctly invoicing are essential to boost productivity and earn a living as eating food cannot be underrated Too often people can spend too long trying to backtrack on invoices, fail to account for their time correctly, and miss time and tasks. Also not having an adequate accounting system in place will create havoc and headaches during tax season. Two popular options for small business are Freshbooks and Quickbooks. Neither are free but both have a number of options that are all very affordable, specifically their entry-level options, which are $15 and $13 respectively per month.

4. Time Management

5 Ways to Boost Productivity | Roche Online Business ServicesTake Breaks. That’s Right, It’s Not All Work, Work, Work…

While stopping work might not sound like a great idea when you’re buried in an avalanche of tasks, but plenty of research exists to say that taking brief and regular breaks helps to keep you focused. This can be especially true if you are sat staring at a computer screen all day.

Keep Meetings To A Minimum

Meetings are essential, it’s often how we get new clients, update existing ones, or hire new staff or freelancers. But to boost productivity, keep them to a minimum and keep them short and on-point. It is very easy to get sidetracked and talk at tangents. It is essential, therefore, to control your meetings, keep everyone focused on the task(s) at hand, and ensure that they result it action points.

The Myth of Multitasking

Job posts are a prime example of asking people to be able to multitask. This is not a good idea. Being able to manage deadlines and workflow is essential but focus on one task at a time. Trying to split time invariably ends up wasting time. By planning your workflows, days and weeks (with Asana, for example) it is best to prioritize tasks, allocate sufficient time to completing them and then move on to the next.

5. Hire a Virtual Assistant

You knew it was coming didn’t you?! Well, what kind of business owner would I be if I didn’t indulge in shameless self-promotion (is there any other kind?). The realities are, though, that this can save you time and energy to focus on what is really important – making money.

By hiring a Virtual Assistant to take on tasks that distract you from running your business efficiently you can boost productivity an astounding amount.

I have a number of testimonials that highlight how delegating repetitive, time consuming admin tasks, web management tasks, and social media postings can free up a lot of time.

Think of hiring a Virtual Assistant as an investment in yourself, not as an additional cost. It will be far cheaper in the long run to delegate tasks which consume your time and stop you focusing on what makes you money.

Client Case Study – Wholelicious

Client Case Study – Wholelicious

Roche Online Business Services has been working with Wholelicious for over a year. Owner + Founder Andrina Tisi started Wholelicious back in 2011 after embarking on a journey that took her from working in the tourism industry in New York, USA to Yoga teaching and holistic nutrition in Vancouver B.C. In 2013 she fully committed to her dream and left the tourism world to focus on Wholelicious. In 2014 she was called back home to Switzerland and has been building her health and wellness empire in the beautiful city of Zurich.

Andrina, tell us a little bit about Wholelicious

I teach and coach individuals and groups in Yoga, Health and Lifestyle. Wholelicious supports people to come back to their health and stay there. I incorporate different yoga and coaching principles including EFT and Essential Oils. Besides the weekly classes, I also host workshops and retreats as well as online programs.

At what point in your business did you decide to hire a Virtual Assistant?

I noticed that I kept spending a lot of time doing “back stage” tasks such as website updating, admin tasks and so on, and that my processes were not as efficient as I believed they could be. Also many technical things, like WordPress or other systems that I taught myself, started to take up too much time out of my day. I ended up working too many early mornings and late nights.

Why did you choose Roche Online Business Services?

The owner Debbie and I have been friends for quite a few years now, it was really important to me that the person who is helping me knows me, my values and my personality. Plus Debbie is a Yoga Teacher and Nutritionist herself so she knows my field. I felt that certain things didn’t need to explaining to her, she just got it.

In what way do you think that having a Virtual Assistant has helped your business grow?

My new website was a major project for us. As well as implementing booking tools and streamlining processes for events and individuals.

What has been the best thing about working with Roche Online Business Services?

My experience with Roche OBS has proven that they have been the right choice for me and my business, and to be able to delegate certain things has been such a big peace of mind. Plus I 100% trust Debbie and her team.

What would you recommend to other businesses who might be looking to hire a Virtual Assistant? What should they look for? How should they prepare?

Delegating is not only easy, I am still working on that. 😉 Being clear on what you need from your VA helps and saves time. Also don’t settle for the first one, if the fit is not right, move on. You have to be comfortable putting your business into their hands. Start with a few hours / tasks and see how it goes before you give them a major project to do.

What’s your main business goal for 2018?

To grow my business in a sustainable way, meaning not doing more but doing things that work better. Less is more.

A huge thanks to Andrina for working with us and for answering our questions. We are excited to be helping her achieve her business goals this year. To find out more about Wholelicious, visit www.wholelicious.com. You should seriously consider one of her amazing Yoga + Wellness Retreats in Zurich!

Self Care for the Entrepreneur

Self Care for the Entrepreneur

As an Entrepreneur or Business Owner, it can be incredibly hard to switch off from your business. Every minute not spent on your business almost seems unproductive. But it is equally important to take care of yourself and adopt some easy self-care practices.

Self Care for the Entrepreneur

I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into the trap of constantly working and feeling guilty if I’m not working. But as I reach total burn out, I realize that if I don’t take care of myself then I can’t take care of my client’s needs.

Another issue is the financial cost of investing in self-care. I’m still in start-up mode and every penny counts. Like everyone else, my priority is to keep a roof over my head and eat. I still worry about spending money on self-care even though I completely understand how valuable it is. After speaking to other entrepreneurs about this, I decided to list a few budget-friendly ways to ensure self-care is part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle!

Fitness:

Barre

I LOVE keeping fit and am a big fan of the various Barre workouts available. Heading to a barre class is a fun yet challenging experience, but it can be quite costly. Luckily they do have online classes for $19USD per month and you can find some barre classes listed on sites such as Class Pass.

HIIT

There are also lots of free work out videos online. The current favourite is The Betty Rocker 30-Day challenge! It’s only 15 minutes per day of either an HIIT workout, strength building or yoga and it’s free! You can also sign up for the 30-day meal plan for $37USD (price may vary depending on when you are reading this). You have access to a well laid out meal plan with grocery lists, easy recipes, and a day-by-day menu.

Yoga

As a former yoga teacher, I can usually pull my own little yoga routine together but I love being guided by another teacher and there are so many free yoga videos online. One of my recent favourites is Yoga with Adriene. Adriene has many videos from beginners to flow to yoga for anxiety and stress. She even has videos that go into detail on one particular pose.The videos vary in time so you can choose according to how much time you have. Perfect for the busy entrepreneur!

Hiking

If you are lucky enough to live in a city that’s a stones through from a rainforest (like I am), then take a hike! Hiking in the great outdoors is ideal but if you can’t go that far then just go for a walk around your neighbourhood. Walking keeps you fit, clears your mind, and gets you away from your computer! And it’s free!

Wellness:

Massage

There is nothing better than going for a massage! Seriously! I do believe that finding a good Registered Massage Therapist who aligns well with your needs is of utmost importance, however, as an entrepreneur with no extended health benefits, it’s a price that can be a wee bit above the budget. Until you are making enough money, you can always check out Groupon for some massage deals or go to the closest school or college that offers massage training and sign up with one of the students!

Meditation

I do my best to take 10 – 20 minutes per day for meditation. Despite my yoga background, I still suck at meditation. As I sit there, 1000 thoughts run through my mind at what feels like light speed but I still try and when I do, my head feels clearer, I feel more relaxed and focused. It serves me and my clients because I do better work. Meditation can be done in silence or using some sort of guide. There are lots of free guided meditations online or you can use an app such as Calm. This is my favourite new meditation tool as it has lots of different guided meditations for various issues (focus, sleep, anxiety, etc.) You can get the basic app for free or upgrade to premium for as little as $4.99USD per month.

Take a Virtual Retreat

Schedule at least one day per month for a virtual retreat. A virtual retreat means no computer, phone or tablet for the full day. Take yourself completely offline. Perhaps stay at home and read a book or meditate and relax. Or head off on a hike with a friend through the park or rainforest (if you are in Vancouver) and enjoy nature.  No Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. No email or Messenger. You can of course take phone calls, or not – but make sure to let friends and family know so that they don’t worry about you!

Take Time Off!

If you don’t take time away from your work, you will burn out, your work will suffer and your clients will notice! Give them as much notice as possible when you are taking time off. I generally let clients know at the beginning of each month what my days off that month will be, and then send another reminder one week prior. I also set strong boundaries to ensure that it’s clear that I won’t be responding to text messages or emails while I’m off and that I’ll get back to them when I return. Clients who are also entrepreneurs completely understand and it’s rare that they will violate those boundaries.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

You might be at the point where you can’t do it all yourself. Well, perhaps you could but you wouldn’t have time to sleep. Hiring a contractor such as a Virtual Assistant to help out is the logical first step. You can hire a VA for the hours that you need them. As a contractor, you only need to use them as and when you need them. During busy months you can ramp up their hours, and during slow months, reduce the time you need to fit your budget. They can take on those smaller tasks at the beginning such as social media scheduling, email management, scheduling appointments, uploading blog posts, etc. But as you continue to build a relationship with them, you can give them more responsibility. It’s really up to you. Then when you take time off, you have someone to hold the fort while you are away.

What about you?

Do you have any self-care tips that you would love to share with us and the entrepreneur community? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Business is important, especially when it keeps a roof over your head and pays your bills but you can’t do that while suffering from exhaustion. Make sure to take time off to rest and look after yourself and spend time with family and friends. And when the time comes to hire a Virtual Assistant (so that you have cover when you go on vacation), contact us at Roche Online Business Services and schedule a complimentary consultation session. We’d love to help you find that work-life-balance.

The Importance of Values in Business and How to Realize Your Own

The Importance of Values in Business and How to Realize Your Own

You might be wondering why the owner of a business support agency is writing about the importance of values in business. Who the hell am I to tell you how important your values are? Well, I’m one of the lucky few who has sat down and actually thought long and hard about what my values are. And I’ve experienced how aligning my values with my lifestyle has set me on a course towards success.

What are Values?

A few years ago, I didn’t know what it meant to have ‘values’, I mean, I thought I had them, don’t we all? But if you had to ask me back then what my values actually were, I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint them. I’d maybe rhyme off some generic terms like family, honesty, kindness, etc. but I wouldn’t really know what I was talking about.

How I Discovered my Values

In May 2014, I was lucky enough to be a participant in The Minerva Foundation’s Learning to Lead BC program. I was surrounded by 50 amazing women from all over BC, ranging from 19 years old upwards. We talked about values, leadership, success, trials and tribulations, community and connection.

This was one of the most pivotal turning points in my life.

The curriculum included a session on pinpointing our values. This was the first time that I’d really sat down to consider them. As participants, we picked about 3 words that we believed to be our values. Then we had to sit in silence and ask ourselves why it was a value. What was the underlying reason? If there was a reason, then that reason was the value – not the original value that we picked. Confused yet?

Here’s an example. I first chose financial independence. So I had to think why? Why financial independence? My answer, because I want to be independent. Ok then, why do I want to be independent? Why is that important to me? My response, because I want to be free. Why be free? My response – Why the hell not??!! It just makes sense.

That’s when I realized that my value was freedom. I couldn’t explain it. It just felt right.

The Importance of Values in Business

After repeating this process, I learned that my values are Freedom, Respect/Accountability, Community, Communication, and Love. (Find out more about here). Gaining clarity around my values made me realize what was important to me in life. I started to understand why I wasn’t happy at my old job, why certain things made me unhappy and subsequently, that something needed to change (the last part wasn’t easy!). When circumstances in your life do not align with what you value then you find yourself stuck in a rut, unable to move forward. Ask yourself the following:

  • What are my values? (repeat the steps above until you have 3 – 5 values)
  • In what way does my life align with my values?
  • What can I change to align myself with what I value?
  • How do the people that I surround myself with align with my values?

Once you are clear on your values, you’ll have a tough time continuing to lead a life where you are not aligned with them.

You don’t have to make big changes right away but taking small steps to align yourself will move you towards living a happier more fulfilled life.

And who doesn’t want that? 

As the Owner of a heart-centered business, I understand the importance of values in business. At Roche Online Business Services, we only work with clients whose values align with our own. When working with them, we do our best to ensure that the work we do for them speaks to their values. Helping them live their values allows them to live more fulfilled lives where they have the opportunity to create meaningful change in the world through the work that they do.

To find out more about how we can help your business stay aligned with your values, click below to schedule your complimentary consultation.