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Expert Advice From A Virtual Assistant For Managing Your Life

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How-To Manage E-mails More Effectively

Take a step back and think about how much time you spend in a day checking e-mails, trying to get in touch with people. Believe it or not, having good e-mail management skills can be equated to being productive. With the large amount of time e-mails take up in most of our lives, learning how to optimize the way you deal with e-mails can greatly influence the  way you balance between productive and free time in your day.

(Source: We Heart It)
(Source: We Heart It)

For another, being glued to your e-mail server for hours at a stretch is often a way of avoiding the fact that you have work to do by passively talking and communicating about it. It's important to not mistake laziness for productivity when you spend less time actually doing work than e-mailing about it.

Using the three simple steps below, dealing with e-mails might be less of a task and more of an accomplishment. Have any more suggestions? Be sure to share it with us in the comments section below!

Stick to a Schedule

While it might seem ridiculous to incorporate blocked time slots to check e-mail into your daily schedule, if you spend an excessive amount of time waiting for and responding to e-mails, then this might be the way to go. Think about it—very rarely do you need to respond to a note less than a few hours from when you receive it.

E-mails often contains lists of tasks you need to accomplish. They serve as a reminder of things you forgot to do or need to add onto your agenda. And more likely than not, they are a source of stress. If this is the case, reduce the burden on your day by allotting yourself only specific times when you will let yourself be bogged down by e-mails.

Reduce the burden on your day by allotting yourself only specific times when you will let yourself be bogged down by e-mails.
Reduce the burden on your day by allotting yourself only specific times when you will let yourself be bogged down by e-mails.

There are several mail servers which have options that let you choose the times in the day when you receive mails. Using these services might bring you one step closer to freeing up your day!

Work those Folders and Archives

Being disorganized reaches its peak when it comes to e-mails. Very few of us (including myself!) take the time to sort e-mails based on urgency or subject matter. Just think about the sheer amount of time it takes to dig through hundreds of e-mails to find an important message from months ago: all of which can be avoided from being organized from the start.

Be sure to check out the new Mailbox application by Orchestra, Inc. if you haven't already. This nifty application allows you to archive e-mails that you don't need in the forefront of your mailbox, push away e-mails that you don't want to deal with until a later period in time, and sort messages according to their topic. Let this application enhance your productivity and time management for the better!

Avoiding E-mails All Together

While it's easier said than done, avoiding e-mails might in fact enhance your level of productivity rather than impair it. Just think about it: how many times have you ignored an e-mail just because of the sheer number of people CC'ed on the communication? And how many times do you procrastinate on replying to a message, only to forget about it all together?

Don't be afraid to pick up your phone and make a call if needed: E-mails aren't always the most effective way to communicate.
Don't be afraid to pick up your phone and make a call if needed: E-mails aren't always the most effective way to communicate.

It's easy to loose an e-mail among the stream that comes pouring into your mailbox each day. What's worse is sending someone an important electronic message, only to wonder if they will end up seeing the message at all. Having a computer on you at all times does not mean you need to boycott other modes of communication. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and leave someone a voice call when you need to get a note across—fast.

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How-To Foster Creativity

Are you an entrepreneur? An artist? A body of constant ideas? There’s one thing that bind these all together— creativity.

For some, creativity comes easier than others. But anyone has the potential to be creative. Creativity plays a crucial role in almost any job and innovative endeavor. Learning how to focus that creativity then becomes the key.

Being creative is nothing more than learning how to think creative. And learning how to think creatively is nothing close to rocket science.

Igniting Curiosity

Don’t know how something works? How about you find out! Walking past something incomprehensible at first sight never helped anyone. New startups and great innovations were born out a craving for satisfying curiosity with tangible solutions.

Its true: the best ideas were born out of full-lit curiosity. Don’t be afraid to turn to search engines constantly. Question the smallest of phenomenon around you to find new and exciting ways to do seemingly banal things.

Creativity and innovation are about being young at heart and never given in to out dated ways of thinking about things. It’s about never ignoring something you don’t know and always yearning to learn something new.

Battling Fear

Sometimes, it not your lack of creative juices that halter inspiration, but the fear that your creativity just does not cut it. Let’s put that rumor to rest. The best ideas are those that were born out irrationality.

Then comes battling fear of failure. Innovation is not always accompanied by success, but it’s the success does not have to be your drive you innovate. Innovation is about stepping out side of the box to look for things that don’t already exist in your world and trying out new ways to do old things. And after that, innovation is sometimes about sometimes putting your creations down, realizing that its time to move on and then innovating something else.

Failing should never hinder your creative goals. In fact, after multiple tries you will surely create what you intended. Keep the juices flowing!

Read, Read and then Read Some More

Stimulating your brain is just that easy. Whether you’re a lover of fantasy or constantly crave hard facts, good reads is the proven way to get yourself thinking. Not only do they transport you to another setting, but force you to think about the institutions in the novel and question the chronology of events.

Creating a reading habit can be a challenge if reading was never in your daily agenda before. The solution is to start small. Make a resolution to read for 20 minutes every night before bed. Before you know it, you will be on you way to finishing a novel and will have kick started you creativity right along with it.

Still can’t get yourself to sit in front of a book? Faced-paced documentaries do just as well! Intellectual stimulation is just around the corner.

Aim for Difference

Why settle for the daily grind when you could be experiencing something completely new? That’s right, creativity is all about fitting new pieces into the old puzzle and looking at ways to live life a little more than you already have.

Travel. Try watching a new sport. Watch a movie in a genre you never pictured yourself enjoying. Aiming for new forms of creativity means aiming for new ways of live life. You might be surprised by how much you love something you never pictured yourself enjoying! And more than that, you might be surprised by the inspirations that follow.

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How-To Maintain Motivation

Build momentum and maintain that momentum to boost motivation
Build momentum and maintain that momentum to boost motivation

So many of us do things not out of personal pleasure or enjoyment, but because we just need to. In that case, how do we convince ourselves to successfully finish the task at hand? Moreover, how do we make ourselves put in our best effort?

Maintaining motivation is the trade to be learned. Here are some simple ways to hold up that motivation for the long-run.

Be Forward-Looking

If something is tedious and difficult to do, there's absolutely no reason why you should spend your effort thinking more about it than you need to. The key is to keep reminding yourself to look past the present, and concentrate on the future.

Whether it be fitness or work, the difficulty in completing todays task will amount to something better later on. It's all about acknowledging a trade-off. By constantly thinking about your goals and what you want your ideal future to entail, you might find it a tad bit easier to work through your task list.

Work a To-Do List

A To-Do List can be daunting, as it acts as a reminder of all the things that you need to complete through the course of your day. But, do you remember that feeling you got that day when you managed to check every last bullet off that list?

Remember that feeling.

Success is addicting. There is nothing wrong with being greedy with your potential. As long as you can maintain a sense of thirst of success, working through even the most difficult of chores becomes a way for you to get one step closer to meeting your potential.

For the Loved Ones

When things get tough and motivation falters, sometimes it gets easier to do things for others rather than to do them for yourself.

It doesn't matter who it is. All that it matters is realizing that there is a person out there that is either directly or indirectly going to benefit from you completing that one difficult task at hand. There might be someone depending on you for it. Maybe there is someone who might be pleasantly surprised by your accomplishment!

All that matters is that you finish your work with the realization that you made someone else a little bit happier.

Everything's a +

You've heard people say it before — having a positive attitude makes everything more enjoyable. It's clichéd, but nothing could be closer to the truth.

It's easier said than done. It's easy to plaster pseudo-optimism and smiles over long-withstanding bitterness. But motivation is about convincing yourself that what you're doing is worth the extra effort. And then, it's about maintaining that belief.

Build Momentum

It's like athletics. When you've built up that adrenaline rush, its hard to put down.

Sometimes going through the struggle of maintaining motivation through the initial stress pays off. Build up the momentum and let your productivity take you farther. Put yourself on  a roll so that backing off becomes the bigger challenge.

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5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

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5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

If you’re feeling overworked and finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you’re not alone. In today’s society, many of us find it more and more difficult finding balance in our daily lives. Feeling more burnout in discovering ways to devote more time to the activities and people that matter. Here are five ways to bring a little more balance to your daily routine:

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These Are Six Questions You Need To Ask Before You Delegate Work

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These Are Six Questions You Need To Ask Before You Delegate Work

These Are Six Questions You Need To Ask Before You Delegate Work. Before you go on delegating tasks, you'll need to understand that communication and managing expectations is key.  Don’t leave it up to the VA to determine what you were thinking. The more clear you are the easier it will be to explain what you want to the virtual assistant, and the better they will understand what you want.

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