Every year we notice a slump from the beginning of December through the weekend of the Super Bowl. In December, everyone spends their money on things other than business expenses. Then, in January, everyone stops spending altogether.
We've learned over the years that December is the natural time for us to spend a week off work, analyzing the year's activities, what worked well and why, and planning for the coming year. We set business and personal goals, then follow up all year long, monthly, quarterly, and again at year end.
We've also learned that expending effort marketing in January can be a complete waste of time—if we do it wrong. January is the time to keep it very personal, stay on people's radar, share freely, to make our marketing message "We understand you're not ready right now, but when you are, we'll be ready, too, and here's why we might be a good match when it's time." (That's not as succinct as I'd like.)
It's the Tuesday after the big game, and things are going to get back to normal. That means marketing can serve not just to stay on folks' radar, but to educate and attract, moving the right people toward our offerings, turning into the fun and games of doing business. (If you're not having fun marketing your book and your business, let's talk, shall we?)
Being passionate souls, writers have a tendency to over promise, over commit and just plain try too hard.
When facing a challenging task, it's human nature to try to swallow the elephant in one gulp. Every "getting things done" specialist in the world tells us that's wrong — and yet we persist. If you want a jump start on eating the elephant, start with one tiny bite.
If you're 12 years behind on your book, it's easy to assume that it will take four hours a day for the next 10 years to catch up. And what happens is you spend four hours a day worrying about writing and zero hours a day doing it. If you missed yesterday's post on habits and rituals go back and read it. Then we'll talk about why a 5-minute timer is such a great habit-building tool.
This all-or-nothing perspective makes habit-building a real challenge. … more … "Timer (#3 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)"
One of the greatest advantages of being a virtual assistant is the freedom it gives in terms of location. You can literally sit anywhere in the world as long as you are connected and have a place to work from! But in the same way that assistants are more mobile, so are clients. Meetings are as likely to be scheduled with Cambodia as Kansas these days, and not to mention the business travel that goes with it.
With this increasing mobility also comes the increasing complexity of managing multiple time zones. Scheduling a meeting with more than two time zones can be a real pain, trying to find a time that is not in the middle of the night for anyone. Fortunately there are plenty of handy little apps to help with that, one such addition is myMeetingTime.com which makes scheduling meetings across time zones a breeze.
- Ability to add as many locations as you like
- Works with cities, countries and the most common time zone abbreviations
- Automatically recommends you the best time for your chosen locations, to adjust it you simply drag the bubbles along the time line
- Highlights if the selected time is within the "business hours" for all participants (no more call suggestions!)
- Makes it easy to share the selected time, either by copying it to an email or sharing a link to the view
How to use it
Using myMeetingTime.com is very simple:
First, set the host location by starting to type in the input boxes. The system automatically guesses which location you are trying to type so just hit "enter" when the right one shows up. Then enter all the participating locations, you can enter as many as you like. myMeetingTime will now recommend you a time that works for all the chosen participants. If you would like to adjust the suggested time, simply drag the big blue bubble along the timeline until you find a suitable time.
Once you've found a set of times you like you may either share it via email by clicking on the "Share via email" button and copy the text to your email, or you may share a link to the view, using the "Share as link" button. Sharing a link means that your recipient will see exactly the same time suggestion that you have on your screen, making it easy to communicate about. If you often need to convert times between the same time zones, you can add those times to the timeline and then create a link and bookmark that link. That way you don't have to keep entering the same locations over and over!
This information was provided by David from myMeetingTime. David came across my Twitter profile and noticed I offer a lot of good advice for virtual assistants. He wondered if his new little app for managing meetings across time zones would be valuable for my network. I asked him to provide us with more information so we could write a blog post about his app and share the link to it.
I'm excited to have such a quick, easy way to manage meeting times now. Give it a try and share your thoughts below.
Always running out of time? Perhaps it's because you're constantly checking and replying to emails. Don't let your email choke you!
If managing your email is preventing you from having good time management, take control. Set specific times during the day that you check and respond to emails. You may pick two or three times a day; perhaps at 9 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm. Choose what works best for you.
Then let clients know you check and reply to emails at those specific times. You may even create an auto reply message indicating that you've received their message and will reply at the designated time. This way your clients know you did receive the message and will get back to them in a timely manner and they won't be wondering why they didn't hear from you right away.
You will find you are much more focused, less distracted, handling email in this manner. It also will lessen the feelings of guilt you may have at checking your email constantly when you should be working on a client project.
Please share your tips for managing email and any other time management tips you use!