The Importance of a Tidy Home Office

Written by Dianne Westrook, Team Member at Virtual Assistance by Anita

The importance of organization cannot be overstated; it affects all areas of our life. As a Virtual Assistant, I have found that an untidy workplace can be one of the biggest pitfalls for the work at home employee, however, following a few simple steps each day will help you maintain a tidy workplace, improve your mood and increase productivity.

Begin and end each day with a clean desk. When you begin your day with a clean, tidy space it will make you feel refreshed and ready for the busy day ahead. At the end of each work day, make a point to clean off your desk and rid the area of the pile of stuff that has accumulated. Throw out, or shred, any unnecessary memos, scrap paper, and old documents that have cluttered your desk.

Utilizing the appropriate home office furniture will improve productivity by helping you stay organized:

  • Purchase a desk that has shelves or drawers, and a small file cabinet so that organization is made easier.
  • Establish stations in your workspace, so that you always know your home office supplies, tools, and resources have their place.
  • House reference material in bookcases, and establish a printing station.

Make home office supplies accessible. Keep your home office supplies at the ready, so that you can easily grab what you need when you need it. Place the most frequently used items at close range, and move other necessary, but less frequently used, items to a supply drawer or decorative storage box. If you frequently use a memo pad or a stapler, don’t keep those items in a cabinet across the room.

Create a Memo Station and reduce the mess. Hang a Multifunction Memo Board above or beside your desk where you can write to-do lists and other important notes. These boards have a cork portion, that allows you to hang memos on the board with push pins, and a dry erase portion for keeping important visual notes and for writing things down quickly without having to waste paper. Dry erase boards are also magnetic. In addition, having a memo station will cut down on missed appointments and forgotten phone numbers, because you will have a neat and organized place to store them. Another helpful tip is to keep your daily planner close to the memo station, so that if you have to quickly jot down a number on the dry erase board, you can then transfer it to your address book.

Besides keeping your work area clutter free, remember to open up the curtains and windows to let the fresh air and sunshine in. Sunlight is known to be associated with happiness, combat depression, is a natural mood enhancer and stimulator, and can be rejuvenating. In winter months, use essential oils or scented crystals to keep you productive, and you may want to consider purchasing a light box for times when sunlight may be minimal.

Begin and end each day with a clean desk and you will improve your productivity, mood and your quality of life!

Virtual Assistant travels on new adventure

Travel has always been something that I said I would do when I was older and the children were raised, but here I am journeying on a new adventure.  Snowy road This travel is as a Virtual Assistant and my path is the world wide web! Like the snowy, icy road above, it has been a slippery way, but in this New Year and with my friends, I will take flight, like the dragonfly over the Ocean!

I have been given an opportunity to travel along with other self employed, small business owners as I launch my own business!   I have told quite a few folks lately,  “I am flying on my own now.”   This is inspired by the dragonfly that I so love.

Seriously though, Here I am.  I am starting a new Virtual Assistant business with a new self hosted website – www.anitamhicks.com !  The road here has been a bit rough and I think my dragonfly’s wings are still damp!   No matter – onward!   In 2010,  Virtual Assistance by Anita will take flight and soar into business.

This flight so far has been supported and guided by my wonderful husband, Danny.  He has, out of necessity, become my web designer, my ‘how does this code work’ person, my co-pilot and my encouragement!  A big thanks to him!

It is by the blessing of my friends and their excellent advice, help and encouragement that my business, like my beautiful blue dragonfly, is flying along this new path!  Great thanks must go to Kim Wesley and Glenn Garnes.  They are my solid rock that all dragonflies must have before taking flight.   A huge thank you to my awesome friend, help and WordPress Super Woman, Michelle Mangen.   Another amazing person in the creation and design of the new website, Deneen Wilson!  A huge hug goes to her for the beautiful, blue dragonfly and for many hours of support to me!  These folks are the reason that Virtual Assistance by Anita will fly over the snowy places and into the warmth of the sun  in 2010!

There are many more folks who have reached out to me via the Internet to give me their honest input and help with regard to my business.  I really appreciate you all — Marie, Sandra, and Kathleen, are  just a few!  It is a truly amazing place here in my virtual world.

Just a few short months ago, I read the book  The Go-Giver.  The principles of giving, without expecting anything in return, are outlined in this book!  It was one of my first inspirations for becoming a Virtual Assistant.  I can see that there are people in the world who are willing to help you, just because, without expecting anything in return.   It has been my personal experience in the past month alone that dozens of folks have reached out to me.   A select few have become my close friends.

Happy 2010!  Happy New Year!  Come on over and visit me at www.anitamhicks.com!  Leave a comment,  Please !  Tell me what you think!  I love input! 🙂

Business Cards

Hiya All!

The subject of business cards has come up quite frequently in my house and with my new company.  As a new Virtual Assistant, I am working with someone who believes that business cards are important,  and my husband has decided recently that he should ‘help’ me with this.

Research started at this point – What programs do we have that could reproduce something quality?  Well – duh, without a quality printer, forget it.  Off to the web to find some resources.

We start reading articles about business cards .  They tell me what I should have on them, how they should look, and even that I should have my picture or Twitter Avatar on them.  Check this cool article out from Michelle Mangen, a Virtual Assistant in Wisconsin, as I think she has some great info.  It seems all the social media news sites have lots of tips of what to do with the creation of the card

In the end, the best and most reliable source comes to me from a referral.  Someone that I know, and trust, is recommending someone they know, and trust, to me for my business cards.  This is always the best way, I believe.

Twitter – What is this creature?

Hello Again All!   Happy Almost Thanksgiving to All!

As a Virtual Assistant, I am learning very rapidly the benefits of the creature called Twitter!  This social media, micro blogging site, is becoming the place to locate the up to date, happening right at this moment, news.  It is a great place for many other things.

Perseverance – This is what I think of when I say Twitter!  I think that if I keep working at this and since I want it so badly, then I will have it!  This really translates to – I’m not going to become frustrated and I’m going to stick to it!  No matter how many things about Twitter I learn, there is always more.

Here is the link to Language on Twitter.  Yes, believe me, they have their own language.  These are Official text commands for Twitter from their site.  These are like – RT, which means to ReTweet someone’s tweet as you thought it was good!

Mari Smith, a very informative and connected Social Media networker, says “It’s a social media jungle out there!!” Of course, what she is referring to is the massive amount of different social media sites, blogs, webinars, and services.

Twitter is like that – an infinite amount of other sites, resources, helps, language etc. to accompany the site.  Twitter has so many things that help with it.  I especially like Twitbacks which allows you to customize your background.  I love this one. As it makes me look like I know what I’m doing – like I’m a Graphic Artist –  funny, I draw stick figures 🙂

Twellow, is a site for yellow pages on Twitter.  This can help businesses to be located and to locate them on Twitter.  If you’d like to schedule your tweets for when your away, go to SocialOomph and you can do that, too!

I am most excited because there are so many folks that have reached out to me.  They have found my Twitter profile and then, they offer help.  This is an amazing thing to me! It is on Twitter that I have been able to feel as if the world is a smaller place.  Plus, there is the benefit that as soon as something happens, there seems to be a Tweet on Twitter about it!  Keeping me up-to-the-moment with a ton of information!

So – what do you think about Twitter? Is it a Creature?  Or a hug-able bear?   I’d love to know your thoughts!  Yours,  Anita

My Journey

I am approaching  my 3 month anniversary now as a Virtual Assistant.  Wow!  I’ve learned such a great deal in such a short amount of time.  My journey has been exciting, rewarding, joyful, frustrating, and even at times, has reduced me to tears.  Those tears have been, for the most part, tears of joy.

I think that the most rewarding thing that has happened to me and that keeps happening to me – is that people reach out and help me.  These are people that don’t know me; have never met me; and I may never be able to give them anything in return.  But, as a Virtual Assistant, many  have helped me.  These folks just give you a bit of help that seems to make the hour you may have spent trying to figure it out worthwhile!  They make you smile for they give you hope that us humans have some great characteristics! 

Through Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  I have been blessed to have met many new friends, also.  These wonderful people have extended opportunities to me just because.  If you have not read the book, The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann, it is a must-read!  In this book, there is a concept of “stop keeping score’!  The terrific folks that I’ve met at Networking events and through  Social Media,  they certainly live up to that concept! 

I am happy to say that my journey as a Virtual Assistant is just beginning, but is showing promise and hope for the future. 

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase” Martin Luther King, Jr.  This quote is how I am feeling about the next three months of this journey

Tell me about Your Journey!  ` Anita 🙂

Facebook – Just Do It

At the end of September, 2009, I began my first profile and contact on Facebook.  After literally years of some of my closest friends, who I consider as ‘family’ encouraging me to do so, I finally Just did it!  I mean these folks are people that I greatly respect, but I continued to be ‘leary’ of Facebook.  I used excuses like ‘I don’t have time’‘I’m not sure I have enough knowledge on the computer’ and ‘Is it really safe’.  But, in the end, I began my journey on Facebook.

At first it was just a profile of me, with my favorite Eeyore on it, but soon, I realized the value of the tool that had been given to me.  I soon added my photo and updated all the information into my profile.  I am thrilled to report that almost immediately I began to connect with friends that I’d known for years, but not had time to have a regular relationship with and on Facebook, I had it again!  I also was able to reconnect my husband with a friend from his past that he had not seen in years.  I have made so many new friends, people who just want to help. 

Then, I realized the true value of Facebook as a way to help in my new business as a Virtual Assistant.  I have quickly learned to build Fan Pages, with lots of help from videos posted on YouTube, The Facebook page, and from really caring people who give you help,  just because.  Fan Pages are excellent sources of information for me and as well they are a way to market your business. 

The media networks seem to agree with me as places like YouTube, The New York Times and many others seem to print information daily on Facebook.  On a YouTube video I posted in a previous blog, A billion for a billion, there are so many raw facts to support Facebook as an asset,  such as ‘1 in 8 married couples last year in the U.S. met via social media sites’

The New York Times talks about Facebook, founded in 2004, has an estimated 200 million active users! Wow!  In this article from The New York Times about Facebook , they give some very impressive facts. 

If you search on YouTube for Facebook, you can find videos on everything from Fan Pages, Manners, a song, and even a movie about Facebook.  In Google, there are over 94,000 hits regarding information about this social media site. 

Just a few weeks ago, I even convinced my husband to create a profile.   As set in his ways as he is and concerned for the security of his children online, most especially his daughter, even he could see the value.

Therefore – This is the Question –  Why do so many of us resist this opportunity?  Why don’t we ‘Just do it’.  What is it that keeps us from having a Facebook profile or Fan Page for our Company?  Why don’t we continue to have even 15 minutes each day dedicated to connecting with others on Facebook?  Please  – Give me your thoughts and ideas ?!  – Anita