Digital Marketing, executive assistant, Goal Setting, small business, time management

How Time Blocking Can Grow Your Business and Cut Your Hours

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you are more than likely thinking about how you can maximize your time and still grow your business as much as possible. Time blocking is the answer in many of these instances. With this not-so-new technique, you can successfully plan every hour of your week so that nothing slips through the cracks. There are time blocking apps and weekly planners with time blocking grids. You can use your Outlook calendar or your Google calendar, no time blocking software necessary, or use intricate programs that schedule your tasks automatically. This time management method allows you to keep track of your task management and stay focused.

By setting boundaries, buffering your time, and blocking out time to work on your tasks you can retake control of your day. It’s also good to think about your obstacles so you can plan for them. Does your client always call at the same time during the week? Make a note of it on your calendar and plan for that interruption. Maybe that means you work on items that don’t require much brain power or focus because you know the client will inevitably call during this time. Notice the patterns in your day so you can make a plan.

Here are some interesting statistics on where our time goes:

  • We spend ten minutes every day searching for lost items, from books and phones to car keys and even the cars themselves. 
  • 3,680 hours or 153 days is spent searching for stuff, over our lifetimes.
  • Office workers waste an average of 30% of their workday looking for information

You have a limited supply of energy, focus and will power. And the distractions don’t help. Allowing interruptions and less important tasks to take up your time is a recipe for disaster. It takes on average 25 minutes to get back to a task after a distraction

Where do I begin? Here is a simple way to get started.

Create a new spreadsheet that has the days of the week across the top and the hours, from the time you wake up until you go to bed, down the left hand side. 

Fill in recurring events.

Fill in anything that reoccurs from day to day or week to week. These could be meetings, recurring tasks, networking events, work hours etc.  You can now fill in the blank spots with chores, you time, and hanging out with your family.

One of the easiest ways to make it feel like you have more time in your day is to group like tasks together.  Plan a specific day for errands.  Define a laundry day and a shopping day.  Don’t feel like you have to do this all on the weekends.  Laundry can be done while watching your favorite shows mid-week or you can run errands after work on your way home.

At the end of the day, if you feel stressed and feel like you do not have time for things you enjoy, time blocking may work for you. If this technique does not, a virtual assistant from Life by Design can take on any tasks you just don’t have time to do.

Digital Marketing, executive assistant, Goal Setting, virtual assistant

Virtual Assistant Must-Haves for Saving Time and Money

When you first decide to start your Virtual Assistant business there are so many questions to ask yourself, one of the biggest being “What applications can I use to maximize my functionality as well as keep things cost effective?” As you’ve probably figured out by now, there are a ton of options out there for everything from time tracking to project management and everything in between. It can seem like a daunting task to learn them all and find out which work best for your business. Luckily for you, we have narrowed down the top applications for 2021.

Top Project Management App:

  • Infinity.  Infinity is a task tracking application with a multitude of uses. As one of the more cost effective project management programs, it allows you all the functionality of the top names for a better price tag. With packages including anywhere from 1 to 30 workspaces, and anywhere from 50GB to 5000GB of storage, it is sure to fit any VA’s needs. Not only is it practical for your wallet, Infinity easily integrates with other top platforms such as Clockify and Trello. The best part about Infinity is you pay once and have access forever, no monthly or annual payments. You can check it out here. https://startinfinity.com/pricing 

Top Time Tracking App:

  • Toggl. Toggl brings time tracking to a whole new level. It is perfect for those just starting out as freelancers as well as companies with large teams. The time tracker itself is completely free to use, allows for multiple projects to be tracked simultaneously, and is very very user friendly.  The time tracker as well as report generation can be easily accessed via web browser or mobile app, and reports can be generated as a pdf or csv file based on any time period, project or client making it easy to share with your clientele. 

Top Messaging App:

  • Flock. Flock is our pick for the top messaging application for any small business. While it has a very similar structure and functionality to other messaging platforms, it is free to use for 1-20 members, making it ideal for those first starting out. This version also includes 1:1 video calling, searchable messages, 5GB of storage, and unlimited 1:1 and group messages per team. 

Top Scheduling App:

  • Acuity Scheduling. Acuity stands alone as my favorite scheduling application for every business both large and small. Starting at a very practical price for one location (and up to 36 for its top package), it works seamlessly with a multitude of other programs such as Zoom, Wix, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, etc. The only caveat is that it can take some time to learn all of the functions available to you. 

Top Video Conferencing App:

  • Zoom. I think, by now, we have all heard of and used Zoom in some fashion as it has become the premiere video conferencing app for both business and personal use. As with the other applications mentioned, it was chosen based on its functionality for both large and small businesses making it perfect for freelancers. 

Top Video Recording App:

  • Loom. As with Zoom, Loom is a video chat app. However, we love it in particular for its function as a recording app making it easy to create training videos and communicate with clients on your own time. A top criteria for this list was cost effectiveness and Loom doesn’t disappoint with its free version

As a new Virtual Assistant, we suggest sticking to necessary applications that will be utilized for your current clients along with a time tracking application such as Toggl. As you continue to learn and expand your business, you can take advantage of free trials to learn more about them and hone your skill set to maximize your potential!

Attraction Marketing, blogging, businessbuildingstrategies, executive assistant, Goal Setting, onlinemarketing, personal assistant, process management, small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

The Importance of Branding Yourself

Whether you are an entrepreneur, or someone looking to get employed by others, branding yourself is one item in your personal portfolio that can make or break you.

Why Is It Important?
Over 70% of employers say they check social media accounts to see who “you really are”. They want to see if how you present yourself online aligns with the company’s beliefs. If you’re an entrepreneur/ small business owner, many people will probably Google your name and see what populates. We’ve all “googled” someone at some point. You want people to see positive things but also relate to you as a human being.

Where Do You Start?
Branding yourself normally starts with social media. As I’ve said before, you will probably be searched at some point and the first thing that will pop up is ALL of the social media accounts with your name attached to them. Make sure you’re posting appropriate content that speaks to who you are as a person. Social media is like a peek into what you do in your free time and/or your personal accomplishments. People want to know how you are spending your time and what you have to say about it.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah has proven to be one of the best at personal branding, almost anyone in the world knows her name. With an estimated net worth over $2 billion, she (I am sure she has a social media manager) always is posting content that revolves around staying true to yourself and your passions. This kind of content brings people in and also empowers them- while benefiting her personal image and growing her following.

Outcomes of Personal Branding
Not only will you have a solid foundation of who you are as a person and your values on display for people to connect to, but also your brand will be able to evolve/adapt to the changing world. You may start a small business and the product is slowly going out of style- if you are attaching your name to that business and bringing your customers to your own personal image then they will be attached to not your business, but you. They have the potential to follow you around on your next business endeavor because people like to support like minded or positive people.


Personal branding is growing in importance now thanks to social media, and your entire life story can be just a click away. Most importantly, make sure you are portraying yourself in a connecting, encouraging, and honest way.

executive assistant, process management, small business, social media management, sop creation, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

It’s a Good Year for Better Time Management

Happy New Year! Here’s to an amazing and productive 2021!

How do we accomplish that in our business? We manage our time well.

Time management is a key skill in becoming/being successful and it includes setting aside the perfect amount of time for each and every task being thrown at you. Here are some tips to better manage your time, which will result in higher productivity in 2021. 

  1. Set Goals 
    1. A fundamental part of time management is not only setting goals for everything you need to complete, but also prioritizing them. One way would be to rank your goals by importance so you have a better idea of what you need to do first, second, third, etc.
  2. Set A Time Frame For Each Task 
    1. Try to estimate the amount of time you will be spending on each and every task so you know when and where to fit in those tasks. It’s very important to have enough time to complete each one, leaving wiggle room in case it takes longer than expected. I can’t tell you how many times I have underestimated the amount of time a task will take me and I had already waited till the last minute to complete it- that doesn’t result in a good outcome. 
  3. Reward Yourself
    1. No matter how big or small your personal reward is, you should have one. It not only gives you greater motivation to complete the task in a timely manner but also gives you something to enjoy and promotes self care. 
  4. Take Out Unnecessary Tasks
    1. Cleaning up your to-do can have a huge impact on not just your stress levels but also your productivity. Having a bunch of unnecessary and just straight up time consuming tasks on your list will only slow you down. 
  5. Give Yourself A Break 
    1. Taking breaks are known to increase productivity as long as you stick to your set break time. Think of it as a recharging period to re-center and boost motivation. Examples include working for maybe 3 hours then giving yourself a 20 minute rest. 
    2. Delegate. Give tasks that you don’t want to work on to an assistant. Hiring a virtual assistant is one way to get rid of those extra tasks and free up more of your time for the things you want to do.

Productivity and time management are serious factors when it comes to not only your mental health surrounding the areas of stress, but also important factors to putting out quality work- no matter your area of expertise. 

Here at Life by Design our team values time management and quality work. We focus on the busy work while you continue to run the business of your passion. If you want to learn more, schedule your free consultation here.