September  2015 | Volume 16 Issue 9


Yvonne Weld, President

Yvonne Weld

Hi IVAA Members!

This month our newsletter focuses on Organization! As a business owner organization is key and there are many aspects in our business that require organization:

  • Organizing our time
  • Organizing tasks so they don't get missed
  • Organizing our clients
  • Organizing our team members

The list goes on and on. Here are a few of my best tips that work in my own business for those unorganized few to get better organized:

Tip #1 – Clear your space - A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind!

Tip #2 – Take a lesson from Santa – make a list and check it twice!

Tip #3 – Overwhelm is organization's worst killer – don't put too much onto your plate!

There are also some other great tips shared this month by Ramona and Christine for dealing with multi-tasking and melding your business and home life together!

Happy Organizing,

Yvonne Weld
IVAA President

3 Tips to Get Your Business and Life on the Same Page
By Christine Bearse

Christine Bearse

I am going to admit something right here that many people don't know about me. I lived two separate lives for almost 3 years! When I started my business I tried to keep it completely separate from my personal life, like when you work a job. When I worked in a corporate setting I had my work calendar, my work email and my work life. Then at 5:00 I went home. At home I had my paper calendar on the refrigerator for my doctor appointments, parties and other misc. personal stuff.

And never the two shall meet… So, it was natural to think the same systems would work when I started my business. It was a business after all. I had to treat it like a business, when it was time to work; I went in my office and worked. When my kids came home, I shut off the computer and tended to my personal life. Hmmm… the funny thing is I created my business so I could have the flexibility to work from home and be available, as my children needed me. So what started to happen was I would put my school volunteering commitments on the paper calendar and forget to put them on my business calendar. I would make appointments with clients at the same time I was expected to appear for story hour. Sadly, this happened more times than I like to admit.

Tip #1 is – Accept that your personal life and business life are now one - You no longer work a "job" and you are your boss. You make the decision if you can take time off from work. But this decision should not be taken lightly, if you say, "Yes, go ahead and take the day off." You are also going to have to make up for that lost time somewhere. This could mean lost revenue or inconsistent marketing efforts. Maybe it means that you will now have to work after dinner or after the kids go to bed. As a business owner, this is your choice.

Tip #2 – Use one calendar for your WHOLE life - I am a Google Calendar user and I like that you can create separate calendars for separate "lives". I have a main appointment calendar that I live by each day now. It contains my work appointments and my personal appointments so that I no longer double book myself. I also have a few special calendars that I don't have to look at during the day like a Cub Scout calendar, a Todoist calendar, and a time-blocking calendar. These calendars can be turned on and off in my current view so I can look at them as needed. The reason I have them is to get reminders sent to my phone so I don't forget things that need to be done. When my calendar is going to affect my family or in this case my husband, my kids don't look at the calendar yet, I put the events on our paper calendar. This means when I have an evening coaching appointment or networking event, it goes on the fridge for all to see.

Tip #3 - Keep it simple – In my opinion, the biggest obstacle to getting your life and business on the same page is technology overkill. Try to keep your organization methods down to 2 at the most. If you incorporate more you will forget something along the way. I like having a failsafe built into my calendar system, for instance every Monday I look at both my Google calendar and my Paper Calendar and make sure they are in sync.

I hope this helps to make your life more organized and harmonious. The bottom line is, as a business owner who works from home, there are some obstacles that are hidden at first. Once you recognize them I am sure you will come up with a system that works for you.

To Stay Organized, Don't Multitask!
By Ramona Nichols

Ramona Nichols

The science supports it. Multitasking doesn't work. Don't believe me? Think you're the exception? Read these insightful articles on multitasking brain psychology and the benefits of time chunking.

I know there's two schools of thought on this. Which camp are you in? Let us know on the IVAA Facebook page. Personally, I planted my flag in the camp of "multitasking makes me stupid" long ago.

I can hear a lot of you screaming, "but that's counterintuative! I HAVE to multitask to get my job done." As Virtual Assistants we work on multiple projects with simultaneous deadlines. We're literally pulled in a dozen different directions on a daily basis. It's what we do. It would seem multitasking is our only option to stay on top of everything. But to keep everything organized, try time chunking and focusing on one task at a time.

To help you time chunk use the Pomodoro Technique.

It's as simple as setting a timer for 25 minutes, shutting out all distractions and going head down on one task. After you've focused for 25 minutes on that singular task, take a 5 minute break. After four 25 minute sprints, take a long 15 minute break. Simple. Nothing more, nothing less.

The beauty and added benefit of the Pomodoro Technique is that the breaks can become a source of much needed activity and short exercise spurts. I know we'll all agree that one occupational hazard of being a Virtual Assistant is sitting on our tushes way too long. You'll be surprised at how much exercise you can squeeze in your day without even trying.

The 25/5 split gives your brain a chance to energize itself for the next sprint. You really will find yourself getting more done, feeling sharper longer, and being able to organize your tasks in a systematic manner that gives you more control over your day.

Here's a list of 9 Pomodoro timers to download. I'm sure you'll find one that suits your needs. They're free. Give the technique a try. You've got nothing to lose but the stress of juggling too many things at one time.

See you on the IVAA Facebook page. Are you a multitasker or a time chunker?


Jeanne Biggerstaff

Andrea Lee headlines the Online Summit!

We are so excited to have Andrea Lee, author of We Need to Talk: Your Guide to Challenging Business Conversations, as our Keynote for this year's Online Summit! You'll gain practical insights on engaging in open dialogue in business conversations that will lead to improved health and productivity for everyone involved.

But wait, there's more! You don't want to miss this information-packed two-day summit that gives you access to some of the brightest minds in the industry. What you'll receive:

  • Access to recordings of all 18 sessions – that's less than $4 per session!
  • A Chance to Win Give Away Prizes for each session you virtually attend!
  • NETWORKING Opportunities! Get to meet likeminded VAs
  • Entry in the GRAND PRIZE DRAWING – win a ticket to the IVAA LIVE Summit being held May 2-6, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, OR a 1 year IVAA Membership (value $137)

Don't wait , Online Summit attendees who register before the early bird deadlines will be entered in a drawing to WIN one of two great gifts; save on their registration fee AND get a Virtual SWAG Bag filled with Virtual gifts! Register by midnight on September 29th and you could win Free Registration to the Online Summit!!

Early Bird pricing ends on October 1st so register now for the AFFORDABLE price of $70 (IVAA members) or $97 (Non-Members) and take advantage of learning from experts in the field and gain practical approaches to Rejuvenate, Reignite & Revitalize your business!

See you online!

Jeanne Biggerstaff
Event Director


Christine Bearse ran her own successful VA business for over 6 years before becoming a business and goal setting coach. As the Goal Whisperer, she now helps women business owners overcome the obstacles they face when trying to grow their businesses and achieve their goals. Read more about her and how she can unlock your potential at

Ramona Nichols is chief cook and bottle washer at Geek Gal Friday. She loves to bend and shape-shift websites into the sites clients dream of. Her technical crushes include HTML, CSS, Wordpress, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and Infusionsoft. Ramona is on a mission to take the mystery out of technology for underserved groups. If you've hit the wall with a technical situation, take a deep breath and give Ramona a call.

Oct. 22 - 23, 2015 IVAA Online SummitLast Chance to win a prize by registering for the Online Summit - this time you could win your registration fee back. 

President's Message
Getting Started - 3 Tips to Get Your Business and Life on the Same Page
Virtual Assistant Tech Tip - To Stay Organized, Don't Multitask!

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Managing Editor:
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Staff Writers:
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Tracey D'Aviero
Ramona Nichols

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