Men have a better work-life balance

According to a study by the Office for National Statistics men have got a better handle on their work-life balance than women do.

Looking just at the north west of England, it would appear that men spend seven hours more, each week, on leisure time than women do. As an average across the UK, men relax for six hours and nine minutes per day, while women are stuck with five hours and 29 minutes.

The study, which uses data from 2015, seems to suggest that men had more “free” time, because they engaged in less unpaid work than women.  For example, women were more likely to be using their non-working time dealing with children, cooking, cleaning or shopping.

Whilst this is undoubtedly true to a certain extent, I know many of my female friends who would loudly agree with that explanation, there is also another one.

Now, I’m going to stick my head above the parapet here, and may well get a ton of backlash, but so be it.  Men are far more selfish with their time than women are.

That’s certainly been my experience, and I’m not necessarily saying that they are wrong (or right, for that matter).  Men are far better at jealously guarding their hobby time, fitness time, TV time or whatever it is – whilst women, who do tend to fall in to more nurturing roles, will put everyone else’s needs first.  Facilitating other people’s enjoyment, instead of focussing on their own leisure.

Equally, and I can only speak from my own experience, men are better at asking for help, and delegating when it comes to their own businesses.  The vast majority of my clients are male.  Not because men are incapable of doing the tasks that I handle for them, but because they realise their time could be better spent elsewhere.

I’ve had conversations with numerous female business owners who admit they need help, but are too scared to let go.  They’re so used to doing it all on their own, that they can’t imagine another way.  Two years later, they’re no further on, but far more stressed out.

As women, we really need to give ourselves a break, and be mindful of the fact that Superwoman is just a myth. You’re fine as you are – you can do anything, but not everything.

As a wife of one and Mum of five, I’m still struggling to come to terms with that concept.

Freaky Halloween Offer!

Here at Time Saving Heroes we love Halloween.  In fact, it’s our second favourite day of the year (after Christmas, of course).  The crisp evenings, the spookiness, the ghouls lurking round every corner (and that’s just Lu’s kids), so much fun!

 

To celebrate we’re offering a scary reduction in our content writing service.

 

If you sign up by 31st October 2017 you can receive FOUR blogs for the price of two.  That’s a saving of £50!

 

No contracts, you don’t have to sign up to receiving more blogs – you can take your four and run (though, of course, we’d love to think you’d stick around).

 

All you have to do is call 0161 883 2024, email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or message us via our Facebook page here.

 

Then we’ll do the rest.

 

Blogs will be produced for use in November/December 2017.

Is Facebook going to be the new LinkedIn?

In case you’ve not heard, Facebook is reportedly testing out a brand new Resume/CV feature, suggesting that the social networking platform could soon be in direct competition with LinkedIn.

As things stand, you can already add your professional experience with your friends in the “Work and Education section”. However, the update which is currently being rolled out to select members, will see a revamped version of this.

Screenshots of the update suggest you will be able to include detailed summaries of your previous roles, as well as what you’re currently doing – and potentially what you’re looking for.

The good news is that this section will be separate from your personal profile, meaning only recruiters will be able to see it.  Equally, it means recruiters won’t have to sift through photos of your nights out, children or culinary masterpieces to ascertain if you’re right for the job.

We can’t help but wonder if it’s just another attempt to squeeze revenue from existing members – will you have to pay to access this function, and will recruiters have to have a separate membership to be able to access your CV’s?

There is no doubt that social recruiting is becoming a big thing, with more and more savvy recruiters thinking outside the box and talking to potential candidates away from traditional online forums.  However, the job is already hard enough without adding more potential pools to look through.

Personally, we’re more concerned that rather than differentiating, all platforms are becoming a little too same-old.  LinkedIn has already added SnapChat-style geofilters for events and conferences, and now Facebook is potentially breaking down further barriers.

As users, are we looking for a one-size fits all platform that can perform every function, or is it better to have specific channels to meet our specific needs?

 

Head over to our Facebook page and let us know what your thoughts are.

 

Three Ways to Make More Time

Ruth and I have just been to the Big Bolton Conversation, hosted by the fantastic team at theBestofBolton. I have to say, I was blown away by how well run the entire event was, and what an amazing mix of people were in the room.

As a featured supplier, Time Saving Heroes had the opportunity to have a stand in their “expo” section, which was great – as all exhibitors were B2B, and limited to one per industry.  People actually took the time to talk, and we made some fantastic connections we’ll need to touch base with later this week.

Going through the services we offer, and why we offer them, the dilemma of “too much to do, not enough time” kept coming up.  Obviously, it’s something we hear day in, day out with our existing clients, but it seemed particularly heightened today.

Many people want a quick fix, jokingly asking if we can turn their 24 hour days in to 33 hour ones instead.  Of course we can’t, but the truth is this question says a lot about our approach to managing our time.  Instead of wishing we had more, we need to be better at using what we’ve got.

Here at Time Saving Heroes that’s what we specialise in.  Working with what you’ve already got, and making it better.  You don’t need more time, you need to be more productive with the time you have.

On the drive from Bolton back to the office I got thinking about my top tips to help people manage this, and here they are:

 

#1 – Buy it

I’m always telling my clients they can do anything, but they can’t do everything.  The simple truth is if you take everything on there’s nowhere for you to go.  There reality is there are only so many hours in a day, and no matter how long you work, you can’t do it all.

The good news though is that you can buy time.  If you look at the tasks you currently spend time on, but don’t have to be dealt with by you, find a way to outsource these.  If you spend a lot of time trying to update your website, would it make more sense to pay a web developer to do it?  What about a bookkeeper to handle your accounts?  A Virtual Assistant might have all the necessary skills you need.

Whatever it is you need doing, there is someone out there who has the right skill set to be able to help you.

 

# 2 – Find it

It might seem like a daunting task, but actually taking the time to track how you spend your days is well worth it.  Logging everything you spend your time on, from personal tasks to replying to emails, will highlight all your many obligations throughout the day.

You can then sit and look through the things that are taking up your time that you don’t think are personally worth it.  Rather than adding more things to your list, you can see this as a golden opportunity to cut out the things that aren’t working or don’t really working.  This way, you can free up some of your time to focus on other things.

 

# 3 – Create it

OK, you can’t actually create time, but you can create the illusion of more.  For example, do you find yourself writing the same sort of emails day in, day out? Do you get similar questions from customers or clients?  If so, producing a standard response that you can send out with the click of a mouse is a great way to save yourself heaps of time every single day.

Rather than spending lots of time shuffling bits of paper around, why don’t you use something like Evernote to keep everything simple and organised in one place?  That way it’s always accessible as well and you can add to it as and when needed.

Can you multitask any of your chores?  If you commute to work, can you use this time to deal with your emails, or listen to an audio version of that book you keep meaning to read?

 

 

There are lots of ways you can do more with the time that you have. Perhaps getting on with it, instead of complaining about how much you have to do would be a good first step?  #JustSaying

5 Things You Need To Do Before You Outsource Anything!

Here at Time Saving Heroes we’re clearly fans of outsourcing.  If you don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to do something, there’s no reason why someone else can’t take it off your hands, and that someone doesn’t have to be a member of staff.

 

Outsourcing specific tasks can be a great way to keep overheads down, and remove the stress of having to actually manage a workforce. However, we also know it’s now always plain sailing.  Many of our clients have come through referrals, and most have had bad experienced with Virtual Assistants in the past.

 

How then do you make sure whoever you’re outsourcing a task to (whether it’s a HR firm, VA or web designer) is actually up to the job?  Here are Lu’s top tips to minimise heartbreak down the line.

 

#1 – Google them

This one should be pretty obvious, but if you’ve been given the name of an individual or company, actually look them up.  Ideally a search will bring them up on LinkedIn, and show their website – but what else do they have going on?

 

Hare they on Trust Pilot or any other independent review site?  Do they feature in affiliated bodies or on industry sites?  Find out as much as you can from the get go.

 

#2 – Social proof

Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are great ways to find out more about a company and/or individual.  What does their LinkedIn profile say?  Do they have any recommendations or endorsements?  What’s their approach to social media like, and do they actively get involved with other people online?

 

These are all valid questions no matter what you’re hiring for, but definitely take that in to account when looking for a self-confessed social media specialist.

 

#3 – Time management

Everyone charges differently, whether it by the hour or per job.  You need to make sure you understand your partner’s pricing structure, and how that can impact you.  If they do charge by the hour, is it full or part of?  Will they keep a timesheet so you can see precisely where that time is being spent?  If you block-book time, can you be sure that time is being used, and do you have control of how it’s used?  If you have multiple projects, will they allocate time equally, or based on urgency?  Are you in danger of 20 hours being used on one thing, and having to buy more time to get the other jobs done?

 

#4 – Payment terms

This goes for everything – find out what the payment terms are!  Don’t assume it’s 30 days, even if that’s your company standard.  Equally, ask about VAT and any other charges you might be expected to pay.

 

Are phone calls free, within reason?  Or does every single bit of contact cost you money?  Make sure you know what the score is before you sign up so as to avoid any nasty shocks down the line.

 

#5 – Sign a contract

Unexpected invoices can quickly sour relationships, so it’s important everyone knows where they stand.  You might be as good as your word, but are they?  Have a contract signed at the start so there are no arguments later on as to what was expected.

 

If they don’t have a contract as standard, run a mile!

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offers a wide range of services from content writing to social media management and invoicing to document preparation.  If there’s anything you don’t have time for, Time Saving Heroes can help.

 

Give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk

5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating

None of us are perfect, not even Time Saving Heroes.  Lu will be the first to admit she’ll put off certain tasks she just doesn’t want to do, and is a self-confessed Queen of procrastination.  The reality is, we all do it – finding a million other things to do just so we can avoid that one thing we don’t fancy doing.

 

We recognise that, and are forever kicking ourselves up the proverbial to make sure we don’t fall in to that trap.  So, here are our top 5 tips for beating the habit, and getting more proactive and being more productive.

 

# 1 – Ignore your phone

If you need to get something done, your phone is likely to become your biggest enemy.  Whether it’s a “quick” phone call, or a simple text message, the second you have that thing in your hand you have the potential to start wandering. Before you know it 20 minutes have passed and you’re still scrolling through Facebook.  Yeah, we know you never meant that to happen but yet here we are.

 

In an ideal world turn your phone off completely.  The world is not going to end in the next 10-15 minutes.  Make sure other notifications are off too, so you’re not getting Skyped or email pinging through.

 

# 2 – Protect your time

Whilst it’s easy to turn your phone off, it can be somewhat harder to manage staff or colleagues if you are in a busy office.  Someone simply popping their head through your door can lead to a good 5-10 minute distraction, not to mention the time lost trying to get your focus back again.

 

If you are busy, stand up for your time and ask them to come back later.  Put a sign on your door and make it clear you are NOT to be disturbed.  One of our clients even has specific office hours where people are free to drop in, but outside of those, his time is his own and is fiercely protected.

 

# 3 – Give yourself a break

No one can stay 100% focused for long, so make sure you give yourself regular breaks.  If you’re working on a task that’s very time intensive, step away every 30 minutes or so.  Get up, stretch your legs, have something to eat or drink.  This gives you a chance to clear your head and get some new energy, so you can go back to the task with a better perspective.  It will go smoother than if you stayed focused on it entirely.

 

# 4 – Positive procrastination

Yes, there is such a thing!  If you are determined to procrastinate, at least do something positive with it.  If you don’t want to reply to that particular email right now, clear your desk instead. Maybe you need to phone a client, but don’t want to just yet, so prepare that presentation.  Doing something is at least better than doing nothing, but accept you are only putting off the inevitable and you will have to do it eventually.

 

# 5 – Reward yourself

If you’ve managed to get through those tasks you’ve been putting off, whether it was one or 10, make sure you treat yourself in some way.  You have definitely earnt a reward, and knowing what that reward is going to be is a great way to motivate yourself.

 

 

 

Of course, another really great tip is to hire a Virtual Assistant who can take on those tasks you really don’t want to do.  To find out if Time Saving Heroes could help you and your business, give us a call on 0161 883 2024, email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or procrastinate about it for a while and we call you.

The Just To Do It List

I’m willing to bet you’ve made a fair few To Do lists in your day.  You might even be a serial list maker, relishing the opportunity to break out the coordinated stationery, and colour coding your tasks with a myriad of highlighters and gel pens.  Of course, that could just be me.

 

Now, it’s true to say that To Do lists often divide opinion. Some people think they do nothing but act as a constant reminder of how much you have to do, and how little you’re managing to achieve.  They’re a negative noose hanging round your neck.

 

Personally, I think that’s a bit extreme, but I can see the logic.  The flip side is that writing a list can, if nothing else, help you to set concrete goals and organise your thoughts, usually ensuring you don’t forget anything.  The problem is when you don’t manage the list correctly, and whilst tasks are remembered, they don’t get done.

 

The reality is there’s a degree of skill to creating an effective To Do lists, so you can ensure everything on there gets done!

 

Here are my top tips that will, hopefully, help you just To Do it.

 

# 1 Write it the night before

There is no point waiting until you get in to the office to start your to do list, get it down the night before.  That way you can start your day with clarity.  Yes, I know things can change and new stuff comes in, but at least then you will already know what you have to do that day, regardless of what else comes in.

 

#2 Prioritise

So many of our clients write massive long lists, including everything they need to do, from emptying the rubbish bin to topping up the paper in the photocopier.  A 100 item list is going to be daunting, and it’s going to be impossible to see the wood for the trees.  How can you quickly see what has to be done, and is important?  Simple, you can’t.

 

Keep your to do list short and sweet – don’t have more than three things on there that you absolutely HAVE to do today.  If you only achieve three things today, what do they categorically have to be?  Everything else is just a nice to do.  So write a “nice to do” list and keep it to one side in case you get time later.

 

# 3 First things first

When compiling your To Do list, make sure you put the items in order of importance, starting with the highest at the top.  When you come in to the office, tackle your first item before you do anything else. Don’t check your email, or answer your phone – stay focussed and get the big one out of the way.