Pets and Peeps Love Music: LifeSquire June Playlists

Music can change the world. While LifeSquire may not be a world of its own, but it sure has changed us. In fact, it has even changed the people and pets around us. Yes, pets too.

Last month we posted our very first playlist, and it took off like a wildfire. We were listening to it nonstop (that's an understatement) and then the people around us couldn't help but want to know what all the fuss was about. It was like they popped their headphones in and were just as hooked as we were. This inspired more.

We had already planned the monthly playlist, but when our significant others and pets heard the first one they wanted in on the deal too. They wanted to share their love of music with us and you too, so the masterminds at LifeSquire created two playlists this month. Talk about a bonus!

We hope you have enjoyed the tunes filling our airwaves lately, and if you have any ideas on how to make our playlists even better, send them our way. We are always updating the lists, so listen often. Also, follow us on Spotify.

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, LifeSquire Digital Media Strategist

11 Things Personal Assistants Do Better

To say that you love your job and to mean it is two very different things. To be a personal assistant is to love your job. The best personal assistants absolutely love what they do. There is a thrill in providing service for others, there is pride in accomplishing multiple tasks a day, and there is a love for being a support system for others.

Being a personal assistant is a demanding job that will keep a person on their toes, but it is a crucial role to fill. There are just some things a personal assistant can do better, and we want to share those things with you.

Scheduling mavens

If there is one thing that personal assistants are professionals at, it’s time management. They not only make sure they have time to complete all of their client’s tasks each and every day, but they also schedule appointments, travel, and service appointments regularly. They can keep track of when your pet needs to see the groomer, when your child has to be picked up from school, and when your car needs maintenance. Sure, they may use planners to keep them on track, but you can’t slide an extra meeting into a busy day without them noticing. And when they see it, they will make sure you can fit that meeting into your schedule easily.

Organization masterminds

We’ve all found ourselves in a disorganized and cluttered home from time-to-time. Life gets in the way, you get super busy, and the house tends to be the first thing knocked off of the list. But for a personal assistant, organization always tops the list. You may not even realize your bookshelf is a complete mess, but your assistant will. Your assistant will come in, put their organization skills to work, and in no time it will be organized by color and probably height too. If there was a degree in home and life organization, our assistants would have it.

Continually adaptable

Change happens constantly, and we expect it. Personal assistants have to accept change in their day-to-day job. There will be days that everything will go perfect and there will be days that are a total disaster. Either way, they know how to handle the situation. They also go into every job knowing that the client’s needs are ever evolving and what they initially thought they would be doing could be instantly pushed to a later date. They love that no day is ever the same and that it will always provide a challenge. Things can change at a moment’s notice, and they are always prepared for it.  

Planning pros

No matter what you are planning, personal assistants will help you make it happen. If you are taking a huge family vacation, they will work out the details of the trip. If you are planning a birthday party or a huge gala, they will make the contacts to get everything just the way you want it. You could also call them miracle workers. They understand that it will be difficult for a client to give up the control of planning, but with the constant communication your personal assistant will provide, you will know everything is being done to your liking.

Bring smiles to faces

Personal assistants are born with a service heart and feel great satisfaction when they make their clients happy. They often go above and beyond what is required to ensure this happens regularly. Sometimes an assistant may show up with a client’s favorite treat, other times they will do a project the client didn’t expect them to do. They anticipate the wants and needs of the client so that their service is always better than anticipated.

Lifesavers

A personal assistant may be the one person that always has your back. Did you forget to order the wine for the girls’ luncheon? Your personal assistant will be there to save the day and make sure the girls don’t run out of their favorite wine. They come through for you on things you may have forgotten and often save the day.

Problem solvers

We aren’t talking about math homework when we say that assistants are problem solvers, although I’m sure helping with math homework could be worked into their schedule. Instead, personal assistants tend to make the impossible possible. They go above and beyond to make sure their client’s needs are met, and everything is done correctly. Assistants are the ones that make sure the cake gets ordered and delivered on time, they are the people who search all over town for the contractor needed to do a particular job, they are the ones that project manages your household or office. And when a problem comes up, personal assistants create a backup plan and quickly execute it. They do all of these things to keep their client’s lives as normal as possible.

Mind readers

A client could almost think their personal assistant is a mind reader. And truthfully, a good personal assistant does just that. They can anticipate the needs of their client’s without being told. Have a big trip coming up? It is likely that your personal assistant will have your luggage out, products you needs for your trip ready, and itineraries printed before you even think to do those things. That’s just one example of the many things you’re thinking, but don’t have to vocalize to your assistant. They also know how to read their client’s facial expressions. This allows them to know when the best time to approach a client is. They aren’t in the business to pester, so they have to know when the timing is right.

Knowledge seekers

With a variety of jobs comes a wealth of experience. A personal assistant craves the change, but also the knowledge they need to fulfill their tasks. Whether it is learning a new software so that they can work in their client’s office or it is learning how to trim a rose bush, personal assistants seek all of the knowledge.

Pet lovers

If you want a person that loves your pets as you do, you won’t find anyone better than your personal assistant. They are there to not only love and snuggle them but to help you take care of them. Does Fluffy need a vet appointment? Your personal assistant will make sure she is taken care of. They want your pets healthy and happy too.

The errand bosses

Whether it is making a list and heading to the grocery store, going to the post office, or returning purchased products, your personal assistant has you covered. They spend their work day doing the things you don’t have time to get done or the things you want to give up so that you will have more time with your family and friends. If you feel like your errands are overtaking your life, consider hiring an errand boss.

***

If you are looking at all of these things and thinking to yourself that you could use someone in your life that can fulfill those needs, reach out and contact LifeSquire today. We have the personal assistants that will make your life easier.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, LifeSquire Digital Media Strategist

Music Feeds Our Soul; LifeSquire’s May Playlist

LifeSquire Playlist

Recently we were sitting in our weekly staff meeting, and as the LifeSquires were packing up their things and preparing to leave for the day the topic of music came up. The personal assistants were discussing new albums that came out recently, songs that kept them motivated, and how music can calm an otherwise chaotic day.

As I was listening, I couldn’t help but think how music can turn the darkest day bright or provide motivation when you think you have lost it all. It was then that I decided to create a monthly playlist of songs that LifeSquire personal assistants jam out to while they are fulfilling their client’s needs. Below is the playlist for May. We hope you enjoy it.

Like what you heard? Follow us on Spotify (spotify:user:lifesquire) so that you never miss a playlist.

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, LifeSquire Digital Media Specialist

8 Healthy Habits for a Relaxing Life

Relaxing LIfe

Ever find yourself living a 24/7 routine? I think we all have been there. Between meetings, phone calls, deadlines, family life, friends, entertaining, ball games, and trying to get at least a few hours of sleep, there isn’t much time left for personal time. Instead of taking a little time for peace and quiet, we often find ourselves pushing forward and trying our hardest to succeed at this thing called life.

While this may seem like the plan to success, it can lead to a lot of negatives. In fact, not taking the time to relax will increase your stress levels. As your stress levels increase, your health, your behavior, and your mood can be affected.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the culprit.” 

If you let your stress go unchecked, many aspects of your life start to feel the pain. But when you are stressed, how do you fight it? The key is to relax. Here are some tips on how to improve your quality of life by relaxing:

Schedule time to relax

You add meetings and business trips to your calendar, so why not add relaxation time? If you do not add relaxation time to your schedule, it will most likely never happen. Try to schedule a few times a week for reading a book, a nice long bubble bath, gardening, watching your favorite television show, or anything else you find relaxing. While it may be difficult to add extra tasks to your schedule, you will not regret it.

Get some fresh air

Do you spend your lunch break indoors in a break room? Consider taking your lunch outdoors. The fresh air and Vitamin D will improve your mood and happiness levels. If you have extra time after your delicious meal, try adding a walk to your routine. If you tend to skip your lunch break, consider adding outdoor time after work. The fresh air and exercise will be good for you. Have a pet? Spend some quality time with them. You might be surprised how good a pet can make you feel.

Do the bad stuff first

Create a to-do list at the beginning of your day that includes all of your responsibilities. Once you know what you have to do, start with the tasks that you are least looking forward to completing. Getting these tasks done early will ensure that your day will only improve.

Meditate

One of the best ways to clear your mind is through meditation. It allows you to improve your concentration and increase your self-awareness. Meditation will help you find your focus so that you can have a productive day.

Automate your bills

Take another task off of your to-do list by automating all of your bills. Set your utility bills, car payment, mortgage, credit cards, student loans, and any other bills you can to auto-pay. Eliminating as many tasks as possible will be a large weight off of your shoulders.

Take care of yourself

Dress well, get your hair done, and treat yourself. Doing things to take care of yourself will boost your happiness three-fold. Have you heard that saying, when you look good, you feel good? It is entirely true. So make sure you schedule those salon appointments, trips to the mall, and that pedicure you’ve been wanting.

Get a massage

When your stress levels get out of control, one of the best things you can do is get a massage. There is something about a massage parlor that is instantly relaxing. Maybe it is the music, the fresh smell, or the anticipation of the massage, but there is something to be said about the parlor. Once you get in the room and your massage starts, you will feel the tension in your body and the stress melt away.

Take up a hobby

Doing or learning something you enjoy will reduce your stress and better your mood. It also makes scheduling you time a bit easier. Pick out something you enjoy doing or want to do and find a local class. Not only will you have a great time, you will also meet new people and learn a new skill.

 ***

If you find yourself unable to schedule time to relax, it is a strong sign that you need help with your daily tasks. The good news is, we are here to help. LifeSquire personal assistants can help you get your tasks done so that you have more time for relaxing. Remember, life awaits.

Also from LIfeSquire:

 

Post written by Deaven Cavnar, LifeSquire Digital Media Strategist.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in full bloom, and if you’re anything like us, that spring fever has brought on the urge to do some serious spring cleaning!   Now is the perfect time to begin purging clothes and household items and to get organized.  Here at Lifesquire, we’ve put together a list of our favorite spring to dos:

 

Bedroom

·      Go through closets and drawers. Toss or donate out of style items or things you haven’t worn in a year or more.  My general rule for clothes is that if I need to make up an elaborate scenario in which I might need that item, I will likely never end up wearing it.

·      Toss or donate old bedding, blankets, and pillows.

·      Purge your makeup drawer.  Here’s a helpful guide to makeup shelf-life.

 

Living Room/ Study

·      Things like books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs can all be donated or sold to stores like Vintage Stock or Half Price Books

·      Schedule a carpet and upholstery cleaner

·      Test smoke detectors throughout the house and change batteries as needed

 

Kitchen

·      Go through your pantry and fridge.  Toss expired items or donate items you know your family won’t consume before their use by dates.

·      Phase out and replace chipped dishes and bowls

·      Clean the oven and the dishwasher to ensure they’re in top working order. 

 

Yard & Flowerbeds

·      Clean out flowerbeds and plant new blooms

·      Program your sprinkler system

·      Schedule a mowing service and/or dog waste scooper service

·      If you have dogs, walk your fence line to look for possible escape spots

·      Schedule pest prevention treatments

·      Schedule a pool service to get your pool ready for the summer

·      Book an AC tune up and change air filters.  Efficient systems mean savings on your electric bill this summer

·      Check weather stripping on doors and windows.  This will help keep that hot summer air out and reduce your cooling bill. 

 

 

The longer days and warmer temps are glorious, but they are also an indication that storm season is soon to follow.  After your family has made a storm plan you’ll want to be sure you have all the necessary supplies in your shelter or safe spot.  Some items you should definitely have on hand are:

·      flashlights/lanterns with spare batteries

·      water

·      blankets

·      weather radio

·      first aid kit

·      shoes

·      non-perishable food items

·      pet food / baby food if you have either in your household

And be sure to register your storm shelter with your local storm shelter registry.

 

 

Feeling overwhelmed? Give us a call!  We’d love to help you get your home Spring ready. 

It's Not Business, It's Personal

When people ask me what LifeSquire is, the short answer seems to only add more questions.  And as someone who has worked for the company for over a year, it's not a satisfying answer to give. How do you encompass what we do in just one or two sentences? It's almost impossible. But I'll give it a shot here in this blog. The question I get second after "What is LifeSquire?" is usually along the lines of "Why should I have LifeSquire?".

True, you could download a handful of productivity apps that, for most people, probably get the job done! And while they may make your to-do list more organized or send you haughty reminders about what’s left to do, they don’t promise that it will actually get done. The doing part still falls on your (already busy) shoulders. You can make more lists. You can make more money.  You can acquire more stuff. But you can’t make more time. Time that's needed to care for yourself, to be present with your family, to create memories; time to sit in silence with a good book.  There just isn’t an app on the market that adds extra hours to your day.

That's what makes your LifeSquire different than an app or even a call-in errand service. Do we run errands? Of course. Do we drive the kids and walk the dogs? On a daily basis! I don't need to bombard you with a list of what we do. But here's a thought: We are time benders, standing in for you during the day so that you can be present in other areas of your life that bring you joy. And there's no worry about whether or not the dry cleaning is going to get picked up. What we love to give our clients more than anything is peace of mind. Knowing that things are going to get done, and get done right.

And you're not just getting a personal assistant.  You're getting a LifeSquire, which includes all the security and comfort that comes with it.  We receive monthly training across a wide variety of topics related to client-care.  What’s more, when you hire LifeSquire, you aren’t getting just one person -  you're getting a whole team of expert caretakers with diverse skill sets and talents. Because of all the unique skills we each contribute to the team, we have yet to be given a task that can’t be handle. 

We do more than just cross things off a to-do list.  The kind of trust we build with our clients is a huge part of what sets us apart in the industry.  We take the time to learn our clients’ unique tastes and preferences.  We complete each task and project exactly to your specifications so it feels like you’re the one getting things done.  We know your favorite treat and how you take your coffee. Does an app know that Tuesdays are your busiest days and bring you your favorite Starbucks drink? If so, let me know what this magic is and how I can get it.

At the end of the day, I like to think that LifeSquire is more than just a company I work for. It's an entity that embodies support, dedication, and hard work. And it's why I do what I do for my clients!

Taking Care of You

Your relationship with yourself

sets the tone

for every other relationship you have”

-Robert Holden

Another successful Valentine’s Day is in the books.  But while you were making sure that your loved ones felt the love, did you forget to love your self, too? In theory, it seems like it should be one of the easiest things in the world to do: take care of yourself. But with family, kids, work, and everything else, how often do we actually put ourselves first? It’s time to remember how important it is to show ourselves some love, and figure out how that fits inside chaos.

Recognize Your Wins

Keeping track of your “wins” throughout the week is one way to keep a positive focus on everything you do.  Consider writing in a gratitude journal nightly, or as often as you feel up to it.  Not only is writing soothing for many people, it’s a great way to become more self-aware.  By writing down the things you are grateful for, you paint yourself a more accurate picture of what matters most and also what you can begin to remove from your life.  Journaling can be a useful tool in finding the silver lining in a crazy world.  But most importantly, it recognizes your accomplishments and strengths. Give credit where it is deserved. For a list of tips on keeping a gratitude journal check out this article or challenge yourself to this 52 Week Gratitude Challenge.

Treat Yo Self

Even if you don’t have time for a full day at the spa, you can still find ways to pamper yourself at home. Spend an afternoon trying out a DIY clay mask (this one here is amazing) or soak your feet while you catch up on your favorite shows. Also, pampering yourself doesn’t have to be all soap and lotion. Nourishing your brain is an important way to practice loving yourself, too.  Take a leisurely trip to the bookstore or check nearby community colleges for a class in a skill you’ve always wanted to learn. Just do something, anything, that brings you joy. We spend most days giving our time and energy to others – and that is a wonderful thing! But your being and self matter, too.

Go Outside

There is some serious healing power in nature.  Give yourself permission to carve some time out of your week to get out and soak in that vitamin D.  Researchers have found that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.  Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotional, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.[1]

In fact, nature has such an effect on humans that just adding a single plant to your work space can have a major effect on your mood.  A study done by the Nursery & Garden Industry of Australia suggests that the simple addition of live plants to a work space can significantly boost creativity, improve air quality, and reduce anxiety[2]. So is putting a fern in your cubicle going to turn your life around 180 degrees? No – we wish it were that easy! But having love and care for yourself means doing little things that will make you happy. 

Mind Full?  Be Mindful

Meditation and deep breathing exercises are definitely not new practices to humanity.  And in our fast-paced world it’s really no surprise that meditation has seen an increase in participants seeking relief from their environments.  Meditation is believed to relieve a myriad of problems including  chronic painanxiety, stress, improve heart health, boost mood and immunity, and resolve pregnancy problems[3].  Give these meditation techniques a try at home. Don’t have time? Meditation expert Chad Foreman suggests making shower time meditation time. “A shower is also a great metaphor for washing away the past and cleansing the mind, revealing the natural purity of bare and open awareness which is always there but sometimes covered with a bit of dirt we pick up along the way[4]

But if “omming” your way to inner peace is out of your comfort zone, consider picking up an adult coloring book. They’ve become a hugely popular way to unwind.  Some experts even suggest that coloring can send your mind in to an ultra-relaxed, meditative state.  “[The] repetition, pattern, and detail, prompt positive neurological responses in participants. When you have things that you can predict will happen in a certain way, it's calming for us”[5].

You take care of some many other things for everyone else during the day, so whether it’s a shopping spree or leisurely nature walk, do something for yourself!  And if you’re struggling to find even the littlest of time, why don’t you give Lifesquire a call?  We’ll take care of all the extras so that you can take care of you.  The most important takeaway here is you matter: your mind, your body, and your state of wellness. Take care of you and be happy.

 

 

[1] https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

[2] http://www.ngia.com.au/Story?Action=View&Story_id=1686

[3] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/transcendental-meditation#1

[4] http://www.thewayofmeditation.com.au/blog/shower-meditation/

[5] https://www.colorit.com/blogs/news/85320388-amazing-benefits-of-coloring-for-adults

How LifeSquire Can Benefit You

What Is Your Time Really Worth?

Having a LifeSquire is a luxury that many people don’t think they need in their life. There’s a cultural mindset that makes it difficult to ask for help, and we end up becoming overwhelmed with the expectations of having it all. Work doesn’t just happen from nine to five. Most adults start a different kind of work when they get home: laundry, home repairs, cooking, home upkeep, and the list doubles if you have pets or children. How are you supposed to manage all of that and have time to do the enjoyable things? Life can’t be filled with tasks to be checked off a list. We need to have moments that bring us joy and laughter and peace. But that’s a nearly impossible task when almost every hour of our lives is spoken for. So we tell ourselves that we just have to stick it out for another few years. It will get better when the kids are grown or work isn’t so crazy, right? But nothing is ever guaranteed. In the end, some part of our lives suffer – be it work or home.

A survey by Care.com shows that 30% of working adults cut back on six or more hours in order to make room for familial and household responsibilities.[i] So it’s no surprise that employees struggling with work/home life balance feel less engaged within their company. But stress doesn’t just hurt your performance at work, it can be detrimental to your health, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress is a major contributing factor in anxiety disorders, insomnia, memory loss, and depression[ii]. Stress is even shown to shrink the grey matter of your prefrontal cortex – the part of your brain that regulates emotion and regulates insulin[iii]. Of course, we don’t need to tell you that stress is bad. What's important to realize is just because it's become the norm, doesn't mean it's a healthy or normal lifestyle.

You’re not alone.

A solid 30% of working adults in the U.S report experiencing high levels of stress.  And the most widely agreed on factor for that stress? You guessed it: Work-Life Balance[iv]. This stress margin is more than doubled for business owners though– with 78% reporting that they experience high levels of stress[v]. Society makes us believe that we need to have it all, and having help seems like something only celebrities and athletes do. But the truth is almost all of us can benefit from having someone to take care of the little things and be intentional about taking care of us.

What does having a Lifesquire really save you?

Well, in short, we give you your time back. And does having more YOU time really make you a better worker?  Can having less housework actually make you more productive? A 2015 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women spend an average of 2.6 hours EVERY DAY on household tasks (and men are close behind with 2.1 hours each day).  That’s nearly 20 hours a week spent walking the dog, folding laundry, or picking up groceries.  What are those hours worth to you, your family, and your employer? We’d say it’s pretty priceless, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. We offer free consultations to our clients. This is a time for us to come and talk with you and find out your needs. Our goal is truly to simplify our client's lives and be a blessing to them, in any way we can.

 

 

[i] http://workplace.care.com/betterbenefits

[ii] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987   

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22218286

[iv] http://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2014/09/11/workplace-stress-leads-to-less-productive-employees/ - 71ea38c05bb2 

[v] http://www.denverpost.com/2012/12/16/small-business-owners-coping-with-greater-stress/

LifeSquire Holiday Traditions

For the last post of the 2016 holiday season, we wanted to do something special. As much fun as the baking and shopping and wrapping can be, one of parts we truly love about Christmas are the traditions. Some seem to be pretty common - anyone ever do the matching pajamas? But some of them are unique to a family or group of friends. We asked our staff tell share one of their favorite Christmas traditions, be it old or new. Maybe it will inspire you, or maybe it will just bring a little warmth to your heart. We want to wish the merriest of Christmases to you and your family! And we hope you enjoy reading about some of our special moments.

Liz

My family has always opened gifts on Christmas Eve and watched A Christmas Story. Then we opened stockings on Christmas morning. It's a tradition that I have now carried over into my marriage.

Ally

Every Christmas Eve in my dad's family we order a ton of cheap burritos from Taco Bueno and eat chips with a special dipping sauce my grandpa makes. 

Jae

For the last several years I've been having Christmas Eve dinner with my brother, Jordan, and his girlfriend, Lily. We make mulled wine, build a fire and play games.

Christina

Ever since I can remember, when Christmas morning came, my siblings and I would have to complete a series of games and puzzles before we could open our presents. Sometimes they were riddles, charades, a short scavenger hunt... basically anything to get all us kids laughing and working together. My mom still makes us do it even though we're all grown! It's my favorite part of Christmas morning.

Katie

I love to bake for my family and friends!

Lizzie

My brother and I convince my parents every year that we should open our presents on Christmas Eve because "the fun is basically over." It works every time.

Caitlyn

Every year my mom would let us open one present on Christmas Eve after we got home from family Christmas parties. That present would ALWAYS be new pajamas so we looked cute in pictures Christmas morning.

Allison

We would get together with all our extended family and eat a huge dinner and play cards and board games afterwords. Then we would all go to the movies the day after Christmas!

 

pexels-photo-263877.jpeg

5 Mason Jar Gifts to Give

If you're like us, whenever Christmas comes around you have the best intentions to give thoughtful, handmade gifts to your friends and family. You spend hours on Pinterest, Instagram, and Etsy to get inspiration. You find the perfect gifts. Maybe you even buy all the supplies. But then days come and go, and it all sits on the table. Taunting you. And before you know it, it's New Years Eve and you didn't get those gifts out. Hey, we've all been there! But we've found these amazing mason jar gifts that are a) easy to make, b) very cute and c) include ingredients to make some really delicious food. Read on to give a great gift.

Fudgy Brownie

Who could honestly say not to rich, chocolatey brownies? Get the recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Forget the Tollhouse break and bake cookie dough. This is the good stuff - homemade without the hassle! Get the recipe here.

S'mores Cookies

Bring the comfort of a campfire to your kitchen. Get the recipe here.

Double Chocolate Toffee Cookie

I don't know if words can describe how good these cookies are gunna be when they are cooked. Not to mention, the smell will be heavenly. Give the gift here.

Chocolate Banana Bread

These are probably the easiest gifts you could ever give, and they'll make a great snack come Christmas morning! Get the recipe here.