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Ingredients for Creativity and Innovation

Ingredients for Creativity and Innovation

I rather liked this article. It reminded me that I use several of these techniques but must make a habit of using them continuously to maximize my potential. As a Virtual Assistant my days are never exactly the same, so I have to work harder at making good practices into second-nature.

7 ingredients for Creativity and Innovation

by Eve Ash / Tuesday, May 10 2016

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Virtual Assistant

 

“Discovery” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi wrote, “is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought”. Very true, which is why all workplaces seeking to make their mark should provide the following necessary conditions for creativity and innovation.

Space

This means a certain amount of latitude to pursue a problem or consider alternatives. It is difficult to be innovative when someone is micromanaging you or tut-tutting about the state of your desk or personal circumstances. If a project’s outcomes aren’t pressing, or if a person really does their most inspired work alone or even at home, let them get on with it (providing of course you’ve seen that this does work for that person).

Boundaries

Workplaces invariably have rules and restrictions, so creativity must be able to be triggered within certain expectations or constraints (which is not the same as micromanaging). When there’s a deadline to meet, or a client is jumping up and down, we need people who can thrive on a slightly frenetic atmosphere and under these circumstances turn out creative solutions. But the boundaries must be clear and tangible – not shifting goalposts.

Challenge

Then there are those among us who are a little bit feisty; people who love it when a metaphorical gauntlet is thrown down. Most people love competition. Providing there’s a level playing field where the rules are clear, the incentives are there and stringent penalties exist to prevent cheats, a challenge can produce wonderful ideas and refinements on what currently exists in the marketplace.

Jolt

It’s important to give ourselves a small jolt from time to time. Everyone is apt to become a little stale, irrespective of their daily output or viability of routines. Human beings lap up interesting concepts, new ways of seeing and experiencing things, visiting places never seen – the list goes on. Find new external stimuli – go to an interesting lecture, listen to a debate, pick up a book you’ve heard about and read it to the end, find a relevant best practice article related to your work. Or go and volunteer somewhere completely different for a few days.

Stretch

Start stretching your body and honing your health and fitness in ways you’ve never tried. Even sitting straight (standing preferably) acts as a stimulant to a brain’s electric circuitry. There’s no need to become obsessive, but a few minutes of intense physical activity will cause tingling endorphins and a feeling of wellbeing, which in turn sparks fresh approaches to your life.

Mix

Once in while take people from different areas of the business and different teams and create a multidisciplinary mini-team that can brainstorm and solve issues together. Just the simple action of mixing non-traditional roles can release a whole new way of approaching tasks. Accept different approaches and find ways to BUILD on each others ideas without offence.

Special

Create special places at work to have fun and “incubate” ideas, for example, by adding whiteboards on pillars, breakout rooms with fun seating, or a games room. But ensure there are ways to record the ideas. Make sure everyone is encouraged to write down ideas, whether in groups or alone. Regularly review ideas – keep lists fresh and fun, and celebrate the implementation of new ideas.

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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Time Management

 

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Effective FB Advertising Virtual Assistant Tricks

Effective FB Advertising Virtual Assistant Tricks

This is one more of those emails I debate whether to “UNSUBSCRIBE” and Clean my Inbox of recurring emails that mostly I NOT INTERESTED in. This time – I took the time and I really enjoyed a lot of this lady’s perspective on Facebook Advertising.

Things that make you go hmmmmm… time to rearrange and keep up…

Full Article and Credit Here

February 3, 2016 — Posted By

Bigger is always better, right?

When it comes to Facebook advertising and your audience—think again!

Advertising in general is both an art and a science, and the same is absolutely true when advertising on Facebook.

This week’s Mari Minute poses the question: what is the ideal audience size for your Facebook ads?

Given that there are 1.59 billion monthly active users on Facebook, it seems almost counterintuitive to aim small, but as Facebook explains it,  “the ad in your ad set is likely to perform better if it’s displayed to the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.”

The reality is that a smaller number means you are targeting specific users to help you achieve a desired outcome, as opposed to casting a wide net and just seeing what sticks. For you as the advertiser, aiming smaller will allow you to narrow in on the exact type of customer or client that your business really wants.

Tips for Successful Audience Targeting

  1. Aim for an ideal audience size between 30,000-300,000 users.
  2. Use Interest & Behavior Targeting to narrow down the audience size.
  3. Use Detailed Targeting in the Power Editor to use Boolean search terms, like “and” “or” to reach users that, for example, like Mexican food AND Los Angeles, or Mexican food AND Los Angeles or Orange County.
  4. When building your ad, aim to get the Audience Definition meter somewhere in the middle between specific and broad.
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Time Management

 

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Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant

Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant
VAs can help unjuggle your life

VAs can help unjuggle your life

In the last 10 years people have been hearing about and experiencing virtual work at a staggering pace. After all, if productive work can be accomplished with less overhead and micromanaging; it’s a win/win for both employer and worker. A vast array of fields can benefit from virtual workers. At The Write Hand, LLC, my team and I focus on business administration, marketing, and online presence for small to medium businesses. It’s important to have a virtual team that has members with varied talents.

When it comes to hiring a Virtual Assistant or team of them for that matter; the hiring process is nearly the same as hiring on-site support. However, some folks aren’t sure where to start when it comes to managing a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant team. Along with some of my other tips found in Let’s Share; I offer these tips to give you a basic foundation on creating a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant.

Training

A great Virtual Assistant has many talents, so why should you hire somebody that needs training? Well, your VA may not need hand-holding or formal education but training him or her to your processes and business strategies is only wise. The great thing about a VA is that they are for the most the type of people who are quite flexible because their business is to serve many types of people and companies. Take some time to share your visions and processes. You will likely find that the training is easier than expected because of your VA’s many talents.

Patience

It will be important to have patience with yourself and your Virtual Assistant. I like to tell new clients to create a list of tasks they want to delegate, or in the case of building a website; a list of all the highlights they wanted built. Then, number them in order of importance. Start a Wise Partnership with your Virtual Assistant be delegating some of the smaller, easier tasks firsts. This accomplishes two things: 1) It gets many small details out of the way and 2) is a great way to begin to share your operations and visions with your Virtual Assistant -you learn each others’ methods.

Time-FliesDeadlines

It’s easy to put aside tasks, particularly ones that may seem pesky. As a deadline approaches you may felt in the past a great stress and regret for putting it off. Even if you don’t have all the details right away, let your Virtual Assistant know that a particular project will be coming up and due by XX date. A great VA will keep the task on a timeline or To-Do list and will gently remind you (a few times if needed), that the deadline is approaching. You may find these projects are easier managed in pieces. If on the other hand you suddenly come upon an urgent need, let your VA know immediately so they allocate the proper time for the project; after all, you are not likely their only client. It may be necessary to rearrange other priorities to accomplish the urgent need; be flexible and forth-coming. In a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant, you may wish to create a project calendar. This will ensure that each of you stays in the know and can meet deadlines with less stress.

Communication

Whether you use your Virtual Assistant for random work or for recurring tasks, neither they nor you can read minds. Your VA may be on auto-pilot for some of your recurring tasks, but it’s always good to schedule a regular meeting – perhaps by video conference or phone call. You want to ensure that your VA is upholding your vision and quality. You may often find that the collaboration will generate new ideas and ways you can further utilize your Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant.

Time is MoneyBalance

You may think that you have handed off a bunch of stuff to your Virtual Assistant and you can breathe easy and forget they are out there as long as things are getting done. NO!! Don’t ignore emails or calls from your Virtual Assistant. Remember, they are out there to keep you organized, on-task, and productive in your roles as they perform their roles. If your VA seems to be hounding you about something you just don’t want to think about right now, remember… you hired them to help you through these things. I have found it helpful to form more a kinship/friendship with my clients and to let them know, I am a great sounding-board that is removed from your every hour, every day practice. This gives them more than a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant, it gives them an “out”, a means to “vent”, and an avenue to throw out ideas and see what sticks.

A great Virtual Assistant will have not only a variety of talents but the fortitude to delicately “push” you towards the goals you set together. In creating a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant you will develop a strategy and routine that fits your both very well. After a wee bit of time you should find that your partnership comes easy, that your idea sharing is fluid, and your tasks are being accomplished seamlessly and with far reduced stress from that or ordinary office life.

 
 

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3 Lists an Entrepreneur Should Make…

I received a link to this article in my email and although there are some typos (which drives me batty); the information is great. This article plants the seed for entrepreneurs on a few lists that help keep you on task, moving toward bigger success. Naturally, I am thrilled to see the author mention how you can outsource tasks to a Virtual Assistant, such as The Write Hand, LLC. Our motto is, “Helping You Create More Time,” and don’t we all wish we had more time… I hope you find this article of interest!

The 3 Lists Every Entrepreneur Must Make – By Paula Rizzo / Entrepreneur Online Magazine

EntrepreneurStarting a company is like a dream come true: no one telling you when to go into the office, you can pick and choose meetings and there’s unlimited vacation. Sigh — the life of an entrepreneur. So flexible, so fabulous. If only it was that easy.

Those perks were likely on the “perk” side of the pro and con list you made before going into business for yourself. But the real truth is that now you’re busier than ever. You’re likely wearing the hat of HR, IT, marketing and business development teams, just to name a few.

Structure and organization are key to success as an entrepreneur. I know because without my lists I could never get anything done at home, work or play.

For those entrepreneurs needing a little help in the organization department, here are three lists you should be making:

1. To-do list
You have to have one. I structure mine with daily tasks but you may find that a weekly list works better. Another option is to organize your to-do list by project or client.

It’s easiest to plan ahead and make sure not to include too much on the list at once. Try to really be aware of what is feasible given the time frame and resources you have available. I make my to-do lists for the next day before I leave the office at night. I run through everything that is coming up and what has to be handled the next day. I include any appointments and meetings on the list as well. Then when I come in the following day, I just refer to it as my roadmap and hit the ground running.

2. Outsource list
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I get it, control is a difficult thing to give up — especially when we’re talking about your business. You’ll do whatever it takes to make sure it’s successful. So why not give the to-do list to someone else?

Outsourcing will provide you the freedom to focus on the tasks you’re really good at — and hopefully increase your chances of making more money. So, make a list of all the mundane tasks that are necessary but that you don’t need to physically do yourself. Responsibilities like making appointments, booking travel, uploading your blog posts and maintaining your social-media platforms can easily be outsourced. Investing in the help of interns or virtual assistants will be worth the trouble, as the time you will save is staggering. Make sure to also make a list of all the projects you want to work on once you have some extra help to get the busy work off your plate.

3. To-become list
I’m a big fan of Oprah’s mantra: “You become what you believe.” Once you set an intention to do something it becomes so much easier to attain it. And taking it one step further and writing it down can really seal the deal. In fact, Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor at the Dominican University of California found that writing down goals will make you 33 percent more likely to achieve them.

This list can include anything that you want for your business and your life — daydreaming is definitely in order for this list. Think big. Even if you can’t figure out how exactly you’d achieve that goal, write it down anyway. Making a to-become list will get you motivated, hold you accountable and remind you of what’s important to you and your business. Keep this list somewhere safe and set a reminder in your phone every few months to check it out and see what you’ve become.

 
 

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Manage Time with Ten Tips that Work

Manage Time with Ten Tips that Work

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Time Management

 

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What Can I Delegate to a Virtual Assistant by The Write Hand, LLC

Using a virtual assistant can shave hours from your workweek, but knowing which tasks to delegate can be tricky. When considering a virtual assistant, I suggest that you start with a list of tasks that take away from your main business goals. What are you doing that could easily be accomplished by somebody else?

Working remotely is rapidly becoming appealing to employees and employers. Both are finding and capitalizing on the many rewards. Employees are broadening their horizons, working flexible schedules, and finding greater work/life balance; thus creating a happier and more successful employee. Employers are realizing economic savings with the reduction of overhead and better output from employees that are truly enjoying what they do. Virtual Assistants are just one category of remote workers but they sure can save you a lot of time and aggravation.

Certainly running your own business can mean burning the candle at both ends. How many times have you been so overloaded that you just didn’t know which way to go next? Wouldn’t it be great to have your own virtual assistant? Well you can!! No, I don’t mean an assistant that shows up at your door Monday through Friday from 8 to 5. I’m talking about an assistant that is ready when you are, can do a lot or a little; an assistant that you keep in your back pocket for one off tasks or maybe a steady 2-3 hours a week to free you from pesky administrative chores.

No matter if you’re running the race in corporate America or forging your own path in entrepreneurship; a quality virtual assistant can be an economical and beneficial facet of your success. Sometimes, all you need is an Ah-Ha moment to get the wheels spinning…

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in Let's Share...

 

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Pomodoro Technique for Small Business Management and more…

Time is MoneyIn operating The Write Hand, LLC, I often find that balancing my client workload and personal tasks gets tedious. As a Virtual Assistant keeping accurate time for clients is imperative because I charge on the least increment of time to save my client’s budget.

For those that have read my blog previously, you will recall my posts about time management as I am still trying to master this. I have previously used the method of Dale Carnegie but somehow I still allow myself to lose focus; or sometimes I even sit way too long and then tire myself out. So I started searching for alternative methods. I learned recently of this Pomodoro Technique and maybe, just maybe I can manage this one. I use a timer to record my per-client work so the technique herein should align well with my existing time methodology. I thought I would share this for your own benefit and maybe even hear back from folks that have successfully used the technique.

Here is the basis of the technique as described by Wikipedia…

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as “pomodori”, the plural of the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

Closely related to concepts such as timeboxing and iterative and incremental development used in software design, the method has been adopted in pair programming contexts.

  • There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:
  • Decide on the task to be done
  • Set the pomodoro timer to 25 minutes.
  • Work on the task until the timer rings.
  • Take a short 3-5 minute break.
  • After four pomodori, take a longer break of 15–30 minutes.

The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing, and visualizing are fundamental to the technique. In the planning phase tasks are prioritized by recording them in a “To-Do Today” list. This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require. As pomodori are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.

For the purposes of the technique, “pomodoro” refers to the interval of time spent working. After task completion, any time remaining in the pomodoro is devoted to overlearning. Regular breaks are taken, aiding assimilation. A short 3–5 minute rest separates consecutive pomodori. Four pomodori form a set. A longer 15–30 minute rest is taken between sets.

An essential aim of the technique is to reduce the impact of internal and external interruptions on focus and flow. A pomodoro is indivisible. When interrupted during a pomodoro either the other activity must be recorded and postponed or the pomodoro must be abandoned.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Time Management

 

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