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Archive for the tag “organizational skills”

Try a Virtual Assistant

by Keridak Kae Silk

Virtual Assistants are usually home-based workers, who have a wide variety of expertise valuable to businesses.  In this way business can have the luxury of a secretary, a “Girl Friday”, a greeter, gate keeper, book keeper, social net-worker, techie… and on the list can go. Each VA has their own set of skills and abilities.

Owning and running any business is time consuming.   It is important to decide how best to spend your time.  Isn’t  it best spent making money, working directly with clients?  Wouldn’t you rather spend your time following your passion? If so, make a list of all the tasks that are needed to successfully run your business. Include all the tasks that you wish you had time to get to.

Perhaps, you’d like to start a blog or create a following with twitter. Perhaps, you are ready to create an event. (With all the possibilities of receiving payment, keeping track of ticket sales, marketing the event, and what if there is a chicken or fish option?) How to you find the time?

The great thing is that you don’t have to. Virtual Assistants fill the gaps and free you up to do the things that you do best.  Most businesses don’t think twice about hiring an accountant or book keeper.  Use that same freeing way of thinking for the other tasks you may have been avoiding or just haven’t had the time to get to.  Take your list and look for a VA to fill the gap.

Virtual Assistants range from the new & less experienced to those with strong, well managed, high tech skills.  Fees also have a wide range.  You need to decide your budget, the level of expertise you will need and the level of professionalism.  Is your business best served by a bargain basement VA or are you ready to work with higher end, high skilled professionals?

Once you have a list of needs; go through and rate each with how important it is to your business success.  Then go through the list again and place a star next to the things that you either love to do or feel you cannot let go of.  All the tasks that are left are possible tasks that a VA can take off your hands.

This article may be published in your blog or newsletter by including the following:

Authored by Keridak Kae Silk, MS, DTM: Virtual Freedom VA Services/Funding Success Grant Services, 866-279-8666, ,

Transform your Space, Transform your Life in 2011

A local organization expert shares some tips with Evanston Patch readers.

Many people resolve to “Get More Organized” in January. Is this one of your New Year’s resolutions year after year?

Working with my clients, I witness the struggles people have to get and stay organized. Many people just can’t do it alone and need a professional organizer to work with them. But many others just need some simple tips to jump-start the process.

In my opinion, being disorganized takes a toll on our health and well being, both at home and at the office. I believe our personal space should be a sanctuary from life’s chaos, not a repository for its artifacts.

Clearing out the physical clutter allows us to have more space, more time and more positive energy in our lives. The average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for something they know they have but can’t find. Wouldn’t you prefer to use that time for yourself and your family?

I believe disorganization comes from deferred decision-making and clutter is the physical manifestation of indecision. So be the “decider!!”

Do you keep too much paper? 80 percent of what we file is never looked at again. And we tend to wear 20 percent of the clothes in our closet. The other 80 percent just takes up space and gets dusty. 

Do your kids have too many toys and complain they can’t find anything to do? As a former teacher, I know how to help people set up their homes to maximize the educational value of toys. Toy rotation is one method. Museums rotate their collections rather than putting every item on display at the same time.  So you don’t need every toy, game, or puzzle out at the same time either.

If you resolve to start out the year getting more organized, here are some tips that may help you:

  • Start with a vision of your ideal space (home or office) Are you going for a “Zen” look? Or do you like to have things in sight that give you pleasure to look at? Use magazines to help you if you aren’t good at visualizing.
  • Be realistic: Don’t say, “I’m going to organize my entire house today.” Start one piece at a time: with one drawer or one shelf of a closet.
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes and see how you feel when it rings. Can you keep going or have you done enough for one session? This helps people who feel that it’s not worth starting if you can’t organize your whole project in one sitting!
  • Use sticky notes to sort into piles/stacks as you go along (keep, trash, recycle, donate).
  • Keep like things together and use containers to bring order to chaos. Smaller items can be put into small plastic bins, or small boxes.
  • Avoid Zig Zag organizing. This means stay on task in one room and don’t run all over the house putting stuff away in different rooms. Use your labels for that. For example, make a label that says “Put in Basement later,” or “Put in Garage later.” Then do it later, not now!
  • Use the 2-3 second rule for keeping the momentum going: If you need more than 2-3 seconds to decide on a item or piece of paper, put it in a “sort later” or “read later” pile.
  • In general, remember the simpler the system is, the better it is. Also, store items closest to their point of use.
  • Keep in mind your “public” and “private” spaces when making organizing decisions, as well as “in season” or “out of season.”
  • Keep the things around you that you like to look at and that have meaning for you.
  • Don’t hold on to things that someone else can use: Donate, donate, donate! Or use

And finally, here is a  “mind trick” to help you clarify what you really want to keep. Pretend you are moving in one week to a much smaller space, and hiring really expensive movers! This helps you to identify the relative value of your things. Remember, if everything has equal importance/value then nothing has value or importance to you.

So get rid of your clutter, free your space and enjoy an organized, healthy 2011!

 Cindy Levitt is the owner of Peace by Piece Professional Organizing and Design in Evanston. You can learn more about her business by visiting its website: and you can find her on Facebook at

Make Time to Accomplish Your Goals Now

Make Time to Accomplish Your Goals Now

Ali Brown

Have you ever had one of those days when you are busy working on your business all day, but at the end of the day you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing? You’re not alone. In today’s competitive environment, it’s not enough to be busy — you need to be productive, working toward your goals and your bottom line, or your business won’t thrive. 

Your most important skill is being able to make TIME for your money-making business visions. That’s the difference between being a “hamster on a wheel” versus finishing that information product, starting that membership program, or hosting the live event of your dreams.

So, if you need some strategies to get your day moving in the right direction, read on for a few helpful tips:

Know your most productive time. Are you the type who jumps out of bed full of energy and your highest level of creativity, or do you not hit your stride till the afternoon or evening? Know when you hit your peak and schedule your most important tasks then.

Block your time for designated tasks. Your most vital appointment to keep is with yourself. Schedule time for getting your important goals accomplished each day and don’t let another week, month, or year go by without achieving your business visions.

Delegate your distracters. That email needs answering, and you need to update your social media accounts, and that invoice needs to get sent out. Life needs attention, but delegate everything you can to your virtual assistant to clear your decks and your mind for productive work.

Create a Zen workplace. You won’t get your best work done if the TV is blaring, the phone is ringing off the hook, and a pile of overdue bills is staring you in the face. Make your workspace a place where you love to be that is tidy, comfortable, and beautiful and that promotes your creativity.

Take breaks. It’s tempting when you are under a deadline to power through your lunch and not get up from your chair. But getting up, moving around, and getting the blood flowing will help reenergize and refocus your mind. So take 10 or 15 minutes to revitalize, and then get back to it.

Fend off the time zappers. Whether it’s your smart phone alerting you to a post on your Facebook account or your friend down the street who drops by, you need to guard your productive time. Turn off the smart phone and let your friend know you’ll touch base later and get back to work.

Keep it simple. You know how you decide to recover a chair and pretty soon you’re remodeling your entire home? It’s easy to complicate things and then they become overwhelming. Keep your goals in front of you and when you go off on tangents, gently guide yourself back to the essential task at hand.

Let go of what doesn’t matter.  You can waste time obsessing about some of the little details that can be highly distracting. Step back, get some perspective, and stay focused on the big, money-making picture.

Schedule downtime. It’s tempting when your overloaded to work the weekend, but don’t do it. You need your time off to rest, recharge, and play so that you won’t get burned out. It’s amazing how much creativity emerges during these restful times. Sleep is essential as well (and recent studies reveal how important sleep is for weight loss too!).

Work on one thing at a time. In case you haven’t heard, multitasking doesn’t work. You’re less efficient at each task you try to do at the same time. Focus on your one essential objective and you’ll get it done faster and better.

© 2011 Ali International, LLC

Millionaire entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD and articles at

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