Work-Life…Balance?

I’m writing this at around 11 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Because my kids return to their dad’s on Sundays, I usually celebrate Mother’s Day the day before (yesterday). The gifts are just as lovely, on another day.

But, today got me thinking about that ol’ work-life balance conundrum. After over 14 years of trying to achieve balance in my life, I came to realize a few things.

Work-life balance isn’t necessarily about equally sharing your time between work and the rest of your life. It’s more about doing things that you consider worthwhile and being present in those activities.  I know, it gets difficult when you have multiple worthy activities competing for the same time slot or for your dwindling energy reserves.

However, I think the real enemy isn’t being busy, it’s guilt. I don’t know about you folks, but I seem to be constantly  feeling like I need to apologize for who I am and the choices I make. Which is completely ridiculous and pointless!

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So choose your path, be present at every step, and stop feeling guilty about being you. I think you’ll find that work-life balance is a lot easier to achieve when you quit trying so hard.

 

 

The Great Procrastini!

Procrastination. It’s the way we all become escape artists, like the great Houdini.

mh curtainWe delay. We make excuses. We justify. We get distracted. We allow fear to dictate our lives. There are an unlimited number of ways that we can put off or avoid doing something we don’t want to do. Even this blog post is me procrastinating because I had planned to workout during this particular time slot.

I don’t know if any of you are like this too, but, I used to whine and complain that my life wasn’t how I wanted it to be. I would constantly be feeling sorry for myself, poor l’il ol’ me, and all that sort of thing. That is, until I realised that my life was the way it was because that’s how I shaped it to be.

So I stopped the pity party. Stopped playing the victim waiting to be rescued. Stopped existing with my head buried. Stopped spending so much time planning and imagining and started DOING more.

If something in our life isn’t what we want it to be we can either choose to do something to improve it or we can choose to do nothing and let it continue. Either way, it’s our choice. Waiting around, hoping it’s just going to go away, usually doesn’t work.

There are of course things that don’t serve us and we need to quit beating ourselves up about not doing them, just let them go, and move on.

But, for the things that we decide are worth fighting for, how do we reduce procrastination? The short answer, Decide to act! Keeping in mind that not everything has to be revolutionized all at once. Baby steps are perfectly acceptable and even worth celebrating; also, that set backs will happen but they are not cause to give up.

Sometimes it helps to break stuff down into bite-size pieces. I try not to plan my whole life in one shot, because it paralyses me. For example, I don’t use statements like “from now on I’m going to…” or “no more…”. Instead I say “today/this week I will…” or “for now…”. It’s less intimidating for me and easier to move forward on. One day, plus one day, plus one day…it adds up to a week. One week, plus one week, plus one week…adds up to a month, a year, a decade. Soon you find that “from now on” has been achieved one day/week/month/year at a time. As long as you’re DOING something about it, on a regular, fairly consistent,  basis.

I also noticed that it’s easier to do things if I don’t give myself the chance to think about it first. When I think about it, that opens up the opportunity to talk myself out of it. For those of you who remember “Participaction” they had a slogan that went “Don’t just think about it, do it, do it, do it!”. I would take it one step further and say that once you’ve made your plan of action, “Don’t think about it, do it, do it, do it!”. Don’t sit there moaning and groaning and dreading, just get up and do it. Start small, if you must, but start.

The other thing that helps is to reframe how you view something. It’s natural to want to avoid something negative, so, if possible put a positive spin on it. Have a visual reminder of the outcome you’re working towards. Give your “suffering” a purpose. Find a way to make it fun, if at all possible. For example, working out with a friend.

OR you can delegate the task to someone else! Pay someone like BrAVA Services to get the task done for you. Or barter with someone.

Bottom line…Decide. Do it. Don’t quit till you get there. You know the old saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have a date with a yoga mat.

Ask Not What Your Earth Can Do For You…

DSC01758Happy belated Earth Day to all!

Did everyone do something special to celebrate our beautiful planet? Me neither, nothing more than the usual anyway.

In the spirit of saving the planet, I thought I could write about ways to reduce our footprint.

Now we all know the common ones: recycle, don’t leave the water running when you brush your teeth, buy local, buy used, buy energy efficient appliances, don’t waste electricity, insulate your home, use low-flow faucets, use a programmable thermostat, and the list goes on for miles.

But, I’ve been thinking beyond that. Specifically, when it comes to how much STUFF we consume/own. We are constantly bombarded by messages of “Buy Me!”, “You’ll be better (prettier, more popular, happier, richer, etc.) if you purchase this product!”, “New and improved!”. But do we ever stop to think about whether we actually need this item, or that thing?

I’ve recently downsized and gotten rid of most of my belongings (sold, donated, recycled, or trashed). Although I didn’t live in a huge place to begin with, I was shocked to discover how much stuff I had accumulated. Stuff that was just sitting there, doing nothing but collect dust. So much “someday” stuff. Materials bought or kept that I was going to do something with…someday. Under the bathroom sink I actually found doubles and even triples of products that I had purchased, forgot I had, so purchased again. I have enough liquid hand soap to last me MONTHS! Now that I’ve moved into my new, smaller place, I’ve discovered that there is very little of it that I miss or wish I had kept. Even some of the stuff I wish I kept is stuff that would be nice, but I’m not suffering without it.

I’m all for making a house feel like a home, but there’s a fine line between decorating and accumulating clutter, and it’s a slippery slope into the world of hoarding. It’s so easy to get emotionally attached to our belongings, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff, even the irreplaceable stuff.

Many of us, in today’s society, are unhappy with one aspect of our lives or another and we often turn to material possessions to “self-medicate” or to distract us from the boredom of our busyness.

It’s not necessary to do such a drastic purge, as I did. All one needs to start doing is being more mindful of what one buys and what one keeps. Is this item a want or a real need? Will I actually use it or will it remain in the “good intention” pile. Do I have room for it? Will I like it for more than five minutes? Do I need to buy this new? Do I need to have ten of something or will I have enough with two?…you get the idea.

For those who say that climate change isn’t real, I figure there’s nothing wrong with using our resources efficiently anyway. Waste is never an ideal thing, plus, being more choosy with our purchases saves us money. We could all use more of that.

So to use JFK’s quote as a template…”Ask not what your earth can do for you, but what you could do for your earth.”

Clearing the clutter, or better yet, avoiding it in the first place, is better for your mind, your energy, your wallet, and your planet. Why not give it a try!

If you need help getting started or you’re stuck, you can contact Bravaservices for ideas and suggestions.

 

Brain food

We all know that eating well is important for our overall health, but, did you know it’s also important for your work?

This weekend I was reminded how important it is for me to leave the chocolate alone and make sure to eat my veggies (boring, but important), like the beautiful salad below, made by Living Sky Café in Saskatoon.

Friday night, I completely forgot to take my son to his Taekwondo class. Saturday night I forgot to edit and post my kids’ YouTube video. I tell ya, I wasn’t earning a lot of mommy points this weekend!

Luckily my memory lapses were minor…this time. It could have easily been a forgotten assignment that a client needed. Or forgetting to make a payment on time.

IMG_1177Your brain (as the rest of your body) needs proper fuel to keep up. If you feed it crap, you get the fog and then everything suffers.

Remember what the Flight Attendants always say, place the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can help others. In other words, take care of yourself, so you have the energy and alertness to do whatchya gotta do.

It’s a lot easier to stuff some healthy foods in your face instead of facing the consequences of stupid (avoidable) mistakes.

Take care!

 

 

Together we rise.

 

spider flowersThis morning, I was once again pondering my reasons for doing this business.

The short answer is because I want to make people’s dreams come true. Whether it’s by helping them grow a business they are passionate about or by taking some of the work off their plate so they have more time to play. Either way, I get a great deal of satisfaction from being of service.

I chose being a Virtual Assistant as my way of being of service because I work better alone. However, I still like to make contributions to a team. To be a part of something outside my bubble. I want to help those who help others.

On the flip side, I also question why my clients choose me.

When it comes to getting admin. work completed, there are many options available. I know I won’t always be the right choice and that’s okay. I have no qualms about admitting that. I also know that for some, I am exactly what they were searching for. The process is similar to making a new friend. One doesn’t become friends with everyone. But, when you find the right person, the experience is enriching for both parties.

I believe what sets me apart from the pack is not simply one thing that I do better than anyone else. Instead it is my unique combination of skills, personality, experience, and my integrity. Also, the fact that I charge a fee because I need to earn a living, but I don’t work for the money. I work because I believe in what I do and I enjoy helping others.

Is BrAVA Services right for you? Let’s explore the possibility! Fill in the contact form below. No pressure, no commitment. It’s just a “Hello, nice to meet you!” We might decide not to pursue things further or it might be the start of a beautiful friendship.

 

Intro. to Brigitte

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Photo of me taken with a Snapchat filter.

I thought I’d take a moment to introduce the human behind BrAVA Services.

I know it can be scary to hand your documents or information over to a total stranger. It often helps when you have an idea of who you are dealing with.

I take my work very seriously, but, as you can see from the photo, I don’t take myself too seriously. It’s good to have fun!

So, I’ve created the video below to add some humanity to my online business; and to let you know that your documents are in good hands.

You can refer to the rest of my website if you need more information, or you can contact me directly by filling out this short form. I usually respond the same day.

BrAVA Benefits

Some people might still be wondering why they should go with a virtual assistant vs. an in-house assistant. Here are the top three reasons why a virtual assistant might be right for you.

Reason number 1: It Saves Money!

Office space, office furniture, computer, software, phone with data plan, utilities, salary, payroll deductions, benefits, etc. is all included in the package fee.

Reason number 2: You only pay for what you need!

Most offices have a sort of ebb and flow. Busier times and quieter times. However, an in-house assistant usually gets paid the same whether they are busy or not. If you bring someone in for the day, I believe the Labour laws state that you must pay for at least three hours, even if they only work one. Then there’s breaks, vacation, Stats. etc.

All of that is avoided with BrAVA Services because it’s not a exchange of time for dollars. You are paying to get the tasks done by a certain deadline, whether it takes 2 hours per day or 12; regular weekday or Statutory Holiday. You avoid all the hassle of paying by the hour.

BrAVA Services can take care of those tasks that only require a little bit of time each day, without paying for the whole day. BrAVA Services can be activated and/or deactivated with a couple emails. No need to post the job, sift through hundreds of résumés, spend hours on interviews, then all the paperwork and training time post hire. No layoff and re-hire hassles. No dealing with third-party staffing agencies. It’s direct. It’s efficient. It’s economical. It’s easy.

Reason number 3: It frees up your time!

This is probably the most important reason of all. Whether it’s to be able to accomplish other work-related tasks or to be able to spend more time with family or to be able to take some much-needed alone time; delegating tasks to a virtual assistant frees up your time to do what’s important to you.

But what about?…

I understand that a trust must be established before tasks can be delegated. I have no problem having a chat with you, over the phone or Skype or Facetime, to answer any questions you may have and to see if BrAVA Services would be right for you. The initial consultation is free with no obligations.

So contact BrAVA Services and let’s get started!