Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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Monthly Archives: February 2015

What will you “give up”?

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

As I’m writing this it’s Mardi Gras, and in some parts of the world, people from some Christian traditions are discussing what they are “giving up” for Lent.

So, inspired by that and also by a post from Michelle Combs at Huffington Post, I’m going to state what I’m “giving up” for the next 40 (or more) days.

  • PERFECTION 
    Have you ever started something but couldn’t get it finished because it wasn’t “perfect?” This can happen with blog posts, artwork, graphic design, or insert your own challenge here. I am here to assure you that you can do more “skating by” in life at an 80% or 90% efficiency than you can by sitting quietly in your room WAITING for things to be 100%.
  • WORKING BACKWARDS 
    This is one of my challenges. Sometimes you have plans, goals, or projects that you have an outline for and something happens and you fall behind and you realize that you will NEVER catch up to where you were SUPPOSED to be. I’ll give an example. I have a pedometer and I have challenged myself to do 10,000 steps a day. I’ll be quite honest and say that I don’t always make it. The real problem comes if I decide that I’m going to do 70,000 steps a week. Let’s say Sunday comes and I get busy and I only make it to 7,500 steps. So that means MONDAY I have to do 10,000 steps + the 2,500 steps I’m behind from Sunday. So let’s say there’s an emergency and I have to pick up a child from school and take them to the doctor and I only make 6,000 steps. So that would mean on TUESDAY I’d have to do the 12,500 steps I was supposed to do MONDAY and then the extra 4,000 steps and … I completely throw in the towel because now I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up. I suppose there are some people out there that can work backwards and manage to make up the steps (or the time or the ….), but it’s really okay to look FORWARD and say, “Well, I fell behind and instead of trying to catch up, I’ll just move forward from here and do …”

Additionally, there is one thing I am not giving up (with an exception for emergencies).

  • SLEEP
    Girl Asleep On Her Notebook ComputerIn theory, middle-aged adults are supposed to spend 7-9 hours a night resting. I find if I don’t do that, everything else suffers. I have less focus, less energy, less patience, and I’m less healthy. At the beginning of 2015, many people I know were setting intentions with a “word of the year” and I realized I didn’t have a major insight into that. And then one day it came to me.

    REST

    Because the 1/3 of my life I’m schedule to spend rejuvenating my body and my mind is really the most important part of the day.

Is there anything you can “give up” that will improve your life?

Related articles:

Thursday Tip – App Review

English: Gmail logo

English: Gmail logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In looking through my posting history, it does seem that some of my short tip posts are in praise of certain apps. I don’t mind being the person that tries things out so my readers can find out what works.

Longtime readers might have noticed that I tend to have a pretty high rate of use of Google apps (and — HELLO — FREE!!) I use Google calendar and Google Docs and Gmail, and often I’m one of the first people to adopt anything new coming out of Google.

But one frustration I’ve had with Gmail, (not enough of a frustration to CHANGE my email but a frustration nonetheless), is the inability to schedule mail.

Boomerang for Gmail was developed by Baydin and it gives you the ability to:

  • Schedule an email
  • “Boomerang” a message for later
    (for example, “resend” you a message the day before a meeting)
  • Track Responses
  • Schedule recurring emails.
  • Request read receipts and track clicks.
  • Manage scheduled messages

This is also available for phones, but after reading the reviews (and that it slowed down mail loading), I’ve decided that I’m going to keep it on my desktop, where I do the majority of my email.

Thursday Tea Time Tip

IMG_5364People who know me, especially those who know me well, know that I’m rather a coffeeaholic*. I don’t function in the morning without my java. Usually the coffee is made (in the programmable coffeemaker) the evening before, and I’m greeted in the morning with that lovely smell of the bean. Some days it’s the only thing that gets me moving.

In order to improve both my sleep and energy levels, I need to be caffeine-free in the afternoon. Some afternoons though, I either run into a wall or get frustrated or get overwhelmed and can’t figure out what my next step should be. Often when that happens I find that my best next step is

DOING NOTHING!

More specifically, doing nothing while making myself a nice, hot cuppa.

Because sometimes (whether it’s a Thursday or a Monday or a Saturday), you can find yourself about to spin out of control; you need to just stop and get re-centered.

*Really dictionary? Coffeeaholic isn’t a word. I have to talk to the Merriam Webster people about that.

The Best Laid Plans

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The Best Laid Plans (or Drop Back Ten Yards and Punt)

“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.” Rene Descartes

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright

Many business owners have plans. You can have a business plan, you can have action steps, and you can have detailed descriptions for every aspect of your business. Sometimes, of course, things don’t go as planned. I have two examples from different business owners I know that had “glitches” in the past week and how they overcame these.

5169634I’m in a Mastermind group run by Michelle Smith at Z and B Consulting. We meet once a month for this group, and we were scheduled to meet on February 2, 2015. A few days before our scheduled meeting Michelle looked at the weather forecast and, well, the forecast didn’t look real pretty. As you can see from the attached photo (or from the photos many of my friends took out of their window over the weekend), it does look REAL PRETTY – but not very travel friendly.

Michelle, using the information she had available, decided that our monthly “meeting” would be held “virtually” using Fuze. I look forward to seeing and working with this fabulous group of people every month.

Meanwhile, in a completely different corner of the country (where snow is never an issue), another friend was preparing for a client call. This woman works with many of her clients virtually so often all she needs is a quiet place (like her home office) and a good Internet connection.

Of course, if she decides to upgrade her service (to BETTER help her fabulous clients) and there’s a “glitch” with the upgrade, this leaves no Internet connection for her client call (which she records as part of her best practices).

After discovering that the issue was with the upgrade, she managed to negotiate a free cellular Hotspot connection until the upgrade was completed on Tuesday.

We’re all going to run into glitches; let’s hope we all handle them as well as these two business women.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Wu at Amanda Wu, Photography, Copyright 2015

 RELATED ARTICLE

Yesterday I met a new person at a coaching event, and glanced at her blog. One of her articles:

Mistakes … Or Are They? Tashony Nalyse at tashonyalyse.com

I guess sometimes we all need a lesson.