Do you make a resolution and free year in review template

Are resolutions dead? Plus a free Year in Review template.

On New Year’s Day I was scrolling through Instagram. You can see already that people are ready to jump into their resolutions. Steven is posting about his new running gear, Gemma has posted about the number of books she wants to read this year and so on.

Scroll down to get straight to our tips on how to set achievable goals.

The Revolt on Resolutions

But I keep seeing posts that declare we should not set resolutions. That resolutions inevitably fail or asking why should we only set goals one time of year. And I get it. I really do. Especially about only being allowed to set goals once a year, it’s silly.

Some of my resolutions that quickly lost momentum in years past:

  • Losing weight
  • Keeping in touch with friends
  • Hitting huge/crazy financial goals
  • Having more patience

So last year I didn’t set any goals, I just chose a Word of the Year. I liked having one word to guide me and I have set a new word again this year. 

Return of the Resolutions

One of the things that 2020 taught me was that I need to have clear focus on my goals. I’ve also learned that there may be circumstances that occur that I could never have predicted that throw me off course, such as a global pandemic, but I need those clear goals with defined milestones to help me find the path again.

I am not saying everyone should set goals in the new year but what I think the practice has merit. For many, it’s the only time they are reminded to even have goals. I know for most of my life that was the case. But I’m more equipped than ever to reach those goals. 

So I will set them. I will measure them monthly and quarterly. I will set mini-rewards. I may redefine them. I mean, I’m an adult. I’m in charge of me (my fav affirmation). As long as I’m doing it from an honest place that moves the needle closer to things I want for my life, my Story, then that’s what I will do. 

Growth

Because I like my life. I appreciate my body and my mind. I adore my friends and family. But I want to squeeze what I can out of life. It’s not a “grass is always greener” situation. I’m not constantly unhappy and reaching for a life I will never attain. It is more that I want to continue to grow into the best version of myself (as defined by me) that I can until my flame goes out. I know setting resolutions (goals) isn’t the only way to grow but it’s one tradition I’ll embrace this year. 

Look back to move forward

To prepare myself for my resolutions and picking my WTY, I start in December/Early January by reviewing the previous year. Last year was hard so it is more important than ever to look back and record your achievements. I’m sharing my template with you below.

Year in Review

This year I performed a Year in Review. Last year was such a mess with the pandemic that I wanted to remind myself of what I had achieved. As someone who works for myself it was a great way to implement my own Performance Review. It was such an incredible exercise and really helped me see the direction I want to head towards in 2021.

Simple tricks to make them stick

There are some things you can do to give your resolutions a fighting chance.

  • Truly believe it’s possible. Visualize it. Allow yourself to believe youve already achieved it. See it. Feel the emotion of telling others you have done it. Repeat that often.
  • Don’t set too many goals
  • Write your goals down
  • Have specific due dates
  • Use an app to track your progress.
  • Attach an emotion to the goal. How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
  • Make them measurable. Think about how you will measure your success?
  • Tell someone about them
  • Have an accountability partner
  • Listen to music when working on your goal. You can even try out Officials Hype Playlist on Spotify.
  • Define short attainable milestones along the way

Are you setting resolutions this year? We’d love to hear them. Decided against it? Fab! You do you. We’d love to know how you feel in the comments below.


We want to send you a love letter

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Check out one of our previous editions here.

Goal Setting & Performance Review Course

Finally understand the difference between KPIs and OKRs to be a better advocate for your growth as an Administrative professional.

The best Black Friday specials for admins and assistants

The Best Black Friday Deals for Administrative Professionals

Here is a round up of our favorite Black Friday deals for administrative professionals. We have tried and tested items from each of the deals listed below and highly recommend them.

We know that gift-giving can be hard especially when you are buying corporate gifts, gifts for coworkers or your boss. Not to mention you can find great gifts for administrative professionals here as well.


BLACK FRIDAY EXCLUSIVE: Save 68% off The Officials HQ membership!

You won’t see this offer again any time soon. Don’t miss out on your chance to:
• Fill the gaps in your knowledge
• Attend monthly events including live coaching
• Take new courses every month
• Learn from industry leaders
• Get practical tips and tricks you can use TODAY
• Earn certificates to enhance your career growth
• Bond with our incredibly supportive community

Make it Official.
CODE: BLACKFRIDAY2020

Up to 25% off

Notebook Therapy is that warm feeling of clarity you get when you sit down with a cup of tea, your favourite pen and a brand new notebook.

We love their Korean style bullet journals, stamps and pen holders.

Expires Nov 30

Save 20%

This is a fantastic automation and CRM system for Virtual Assistants, coaches and more.

Dubsado is a business management solution designed to cut out the busywork. Build relationships, schedule appointments, and create workflows to streamline your projects from start to finish.

Expires
Dec 1

50% Off

We freaking love Blinkist for when we need to do some fast but efficient research.

Blinks are a way to read or listen to the key ideas from bestselling nonfiction titles in 15 minutes.

Plus you get full audiobooks and new Shortcasts!

Don’t blink or you’ll miss this deal!

Expires Dec 1 at midnight EST

30% off gift vouchers

clueQuest is offering 30% off all our gift vouchers. This fun escape the room provider may be London-based but they offer a Print+Play version that anyone can buy.

Great for virtual team building events. We hosted one at The Officials and had a blast.

Expires Nov 29
End of Day

Black Friday 2020 - Papier
20% Everything

One of Lauren’s personal favorites for beautiful prints, cards and personalized notebooks. They make for thoughtful gifts with a touch of lux without the heavy price tag.

Expires Nov 30

Sarris Christmas Tree Chocolate
Various Discounts

Sarris Candies is a famous chocolatier based our of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Lauren grew up with Sarris chocolate at every holiday and even had them as favors at at her wedding.

We recommend the chocolate dipper pretzels, assortment boxes, raisin clusters and seasonal treats like the tree pictured above.

Expires Nov 30 at midnight EST

Laurne Bradley on Administrator Nation Podcast

Lauren talks tech on Administrator Nation podcast

Our founder Lauren Bradley is known for her love of tech. Even in the office here at HQ she is often jabbering away about a new app that she found and can’t wait to tell the world of admins about.

So when she was approached by the team behind podcast Administrator Nation to talk about her love of tech, it was a very quick yes!

We want to hear from you
Let us know in the comments below what you thought about the podcast and how you embrace technology in your role as an administrative professional.

🎙 Stream Podcast on:

Spotify – https://spoti.fi/397oSRI
Apple Podcast – https://apple.co/2J8VShz
Stitcher – https://bit.ly/360SQEO
Tune In – http://tun.in/tkZh3y
Podchaser – https://bit.ly/2J7XTKK
Deezer – https://bit.ly/2J8O8w0
iHeartRadio – https://ihr.fm/3pWH8mP

Self-care another area to fail at

Is self-care just another area to fail at in life?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of about what I’m calling self-care shaming. I work hard. Like really $@%*?!ing hard. On top of that, every single day someone begs me to go to bed on time, finish working for the day, drink more water, eat a healthy meal, spend more quality time with my family, etc.

And of course they are all right. All of those things would be good for me. And while they mean well, the constant reminders to take care of myself can sometimes have the opposite effect. Self-care can feel like just another area where we are failing.

Sometimes balance just isn’t possible. They don’t always know, my household is a single income household at the moment. Every minute I’m not working on The Officials can make a big impact on our finances. So it’s all well and good to meditate, take long baths (my personal fav), stop at 5pm and more – it isn’t always realistic.

Plus, I hear story after story after story every week from Officials across the globe who need a push, support, advice and more and I know how much work needs doing to help them all. It fuels me.

So while I appreciate their concern, and yes I need a reminder every now and again…I suck at self-care and at not feeling guilty about it…until now.

So what do we do when we know we need self-care but real balance just isn’t in the cards at the moment? Here’s the advice I have started giving myself and others who have told me this has happened to them as well.

Self-care for those that suck at it

  1. Be thankful
    Thank the person who reminded you. I like, “I’m working on it. Thanks for the reminder.”
  2. Shake it off
    Shake off the guilt and remind yourself that you are doing your best.
  3. Accept the kindness
    Accept that the person is trying to help and only wants good things for you despite not being able to understand the complexity of your own situation.
  4. One habit is good enough
    Try to define what simple self-care looks like to you. Just one habit. For me it’s a long bath. I try to have at least 2 a week. If I get to do more, I am winning at life.
  5. Listen to your body and mind
    You know what is best for you, so listen to yourself. This past weekend my body and mind told me they could not go any further. If I tried to work any more, I was going to produce rubbish work and most likely stare at my screen for hours and have little to show for it. So I slept all day on Saturday. Like all day. And on Sunday I went with my family to the countryside for a lovely day of autumnal exploration. I started fresh this morning and have soooo many more ideas because I allowed my brain to rest. But it took me weeks and weeks to get to a point where I knew it was time to take a break and reset. Of course, I now feel super behind but I took time to prioritize and make a more realistic timetable. Slightly more realistic…why can’t it all just be done yesterday?!

Comment below if you ever feel this as well. I’d love to hear your story and know I’m not alone.

x Lauren

Originally published in The Dossier, our newsletter. To get your copy sign-up today.


Follow-up Fridays help you stay on top of your to do list

Follow-up Fridays: Get your to do list under control with this weekly ritual

The slump continues…I’ve spoken with several assistants this week who continue to report feeling as if they are in a bit of a slump.

Contributing factors

Weather

If you are in a hemisphere where the world where the days are growing shorter and the weather is getting wetter and colder

More overload

With recent layoffs, redundancies and furlough assistants that have remained on staff are now expected to cover more work and support more managers and executives

Pandemic Purgatory Fatigue

General anxiety of the unknown. When will we feel safe? Still figuring out the balance of home and work life? When will we go back to the office? Will they let me continue work from home? Will my partner ever wash another dish again?!

Routines + Rituals

I’m happy to report, that it seems the tide is changing as many of you have reported that you are starting to see the light. Each person I’ve spoken with seems to have a routine that they have been holding onto that helps them stay grounded and allowing them to claw their way out of their slumps.

I couldn’t agree more. That routine for me is Follow-up Fridays. I try not to take on any new work on Fridays. I use the morning to catch-up on any loose ends during the week. It’s in my calendar and I am religious about it. I usually do it while listening to a podcast.

To find out more about my Follow-up Friday routine check out our Youtube Channel.
Here are the key elements to Follow-up Fridays:⁠

  • Try not to take on any new work on a Friday⁠
  • Schedule 9-11am for follow-up in your CALENDAR⁠
  • Throughout the week put reminders in your calendar for items you need to chase⁠

For more details, watch our video, Don’t F*ck Up the Follow-up

Want to receive more tips like this?

Written by Lauren Bradley, Founder of The Officials


PS. Did you watch the video? Let us know if you’ll be incorporating it into your weekly routine in the comments below. ⤵️⁠

Event Planning and Management for Assistants

Event Planning and Management 101 Course

An event can be a powerful tool to bring people together. Being tasked with planning, implementing and managing a company event is a big responsibility.

Officials know this all too well. Admins and assistants are often tasked with planning various types of events. It could be a large annual general meeting, an internal conference, a social event, holiday party or a client event… and now we have to figure out how to do it all virtually!

On top of all of our other responsibilities, event planning and management can be daunting.

That’s why we have roped in the magnificent Lisa Boissel of Miss Jones PA to give us a crash course in event planning basics. Lisa is a pro under pressure and thrives on running the show. She walks you through planning and managing a successful event step by step and has gifted you with the same templates she uses for friction-free events.

Event Planning and Management 101

Friction free event planning from start to finish

Lisa Boissel
Managing Director at Miss Jones PA

This course is for you if you…

  • Have been tasked with hosting an event and
  • Want to know what it takes to design and manage a successful event
  • Love event planning and want access to expert tips
  • Need to transition live events to virtual events
  • Are looking to expand your skillset to be a more desirable candidate

What you will learn

  • Powerful scoping questions that will kill ambiguity so your events run smoothly from Day 1
  • Mastery of planning and implementation templates from events experts
  • Determining what success looks like for your event
  • Tools to transition events from in-person to virtual
  • Design tips and tricks for marketing your events
  • Budgeting with a buffer and what to do when budget has not yet been clarified
  • Seamless event planning through task management and timeline creation
  • Properly analyzing your success post-event and documenting lessons learned correctly

Your Instructor

Guest Instructor Lisa Boissel Miss Jones PA

Lisa Boissel

Managing Director + Events Queen
Miss Jones PA

Lisa Boissel is the Managing Director of Miss Jones PA, a global leading assistant and event planner network. She has been an event planner for over 14 years and is an expert at crafting luxury experiences.

Want Access?
Make it Official.

This Event Planning + Management 101 course bundle is part of The Officials HQ membership. The HQ platform is where you have access to The Official Slack Community, a library of courses and useful templates and resources that will take you from an assistant who is surviving to one that is thriving!

Those that make the biggest impact may be people you've never met in Lockdown

Lockdown reflections: How people you’ve never met can make the biggest impact on your life

This wasn’t the year I thought it would be.⁠

Today is my birthday and I’ve been thinking about where I was this time last year and all that has happened up to now.⁠

I was just barely a month into launching The Officials as a full training platform, hoping that my idea had legs and would help admins and assistants far and wide. I gave myself 6 months to prove the concept. ⁠

Six months in I had proven the concept. The Officials had grown 6x what it was when we started. The feedback was incredible and I knew I was helping so many across the globe. I was ready to push hard to let every admin and assistant know that there was an affordable option out there that brought them the quality training our industry is so thirsty for….then lockdown hit and the demand for affordable online training went through the roof. Now are growth is 30x what it was when we started. I am so happy that we were able to be there for those who needed to differentiate themselves, excel and frankly…distract themselves from the news of the world.⁠

But I did not get here alone. When I think of the success The Officials has today, I think of the people. ⁠

Friends I’ve never met

The incredible friends I’ve made since March has kept me afloat. Just to name a few – Lisa Boissel Miss Jones Pa, Hana of The Office Management Group, Ebony at The Assistant’s List, Christie at Elite Assisting, Hen Barker, Laura at The Assistant’s Handbook, Anna Read at Empowered Assistants Empower AssistantsJillian Hufnagel, Ursula Kohler at Capital EA, Annie at Whole Assistant, Melissa Peoples, Nadine at Black Admin Magic, Debra Coleman, Anna Beam of The Influential Assistant podcast, Michelle Bowditch, and so many more. ⁠

Officials

So many of you have joined the platform, taken the training, supported the community and raised the bar…and continue to do so. I am so thankful for you all each and every day. I love waking up and seeing what is happening in our community, answering your questions and supporting you in any way that I can. You allow me to do this for a living and that is the best present in the world.

Marta our Strategic Business Partner

I don’t know where my business would be without @martulinavt by my side. She keeps my crazy visionary brain in check, challenges me and makes me laugh. It’s a hard job and she does it beautifully.

My Family

It’s been a crazy year but I’ve loved the time I get to spend at home with my family. I am glued to my desk quite a lot but I love when my kids are sitting near me reading, hugging me in between webinars (sometimes crashing them), and having dinner at the table almost every night together. My husband especially, who has massively supported this business venture and holds the fort down while I fight for justice in our industry from my laptop!

Followers

I don’t know where I would be without all of you. Yes there have been lots of stressful bits this year…starting a business, pandemic, elections and more. But I know “this too shall pass”. So I continue moving forward. I am thankful for the present this year has been. Thankful for you.

Our doors close tomorrow and we won’t reopen them to the public until the new year. This birthday I would love to see those that are thinking about joining the community to find the courage to speak with their bosses and ask for the training they deserve and need to be empowered to do their job to the best of their ability!

Eternally grateful,
x L.


This blog was originally written for, The Dossier, our weekly newsletter for admins and assistants.

The secret my own weddng taught me about price negotiation and sales

Let’s talk supplier negotiation: How I negotiated thousands off the price of my wedding

My own wedding taught me a HUGE lesson in negotiating with vendors and about sales in general. I even used this lesson when I would negotiate my salary with new employers.

My husband and I had an unconventional relationship. For starters, he lived in London and I lived in Pittsburgh a mere 3,700 miles away. He proposed the day before Thanksgiving (after about 1.5 years of dating) and we were married less than 3 months later. In fact I quit my job the Monday after he proposed, not to return and flew off to London with him a week later until just before our wedding when we returned to Pittsburgh to get hitched.

Short on time

We didn’t have much time to save up for a wedding but both of our parents offered to split the cost of the wedding. We had a modest budget and were able to throw a bash for 80 attendees plus use the leftover money to pay for my visa costs to come to the UK. We didn’t have much time to plan the thing either. I had a week to find a venue, dress, invitations, and more.

Because I needed to make quick decisions on budget, I felt a bit more ruthless. I could walk away from suppliers because I knew I had to find another one quickly who could do the job on budget.

Rewriting the rules

I knew nothing about weddings or what I was supposed to do. Sure I had been to many but I am pretty frugal and I wasn’t someone who would be spending extravagant amounts of someone else’s money.

But the day I bought my wedding dress changed the way I think about negotiation. I bought my wedding dress in the first shop I went into. It was the second dress I tried on. This is how that interaction went:

Me: *walks into swanky dress shop*
Shop Assistant: Hello. Do you have an appointment?
Me: Oh, ummm. No I didn’t know I needed an appointment. I’m getting married in a few weeks and I just wanted to try on some dresses while my sister was in town. We’ll go.
Shop Assistant: Wait, wait. When is the wedding?
Me: We think in about 2-3 months. I know that isn’t much time to turn around tailoring on dresses. We’ll go.
Shop Assistant: Wait, wait. Let me see if we can squeeze you in.

It’s around this time that I realized just how posh this place was. I started getting nervous.

Shop Assistant: If you can wait 15 minutes we can get you in.
Me: Umm…how much do the dresses here cost?
Shop Assistant: They typically start at $3,000 and go up from there.
Me: We should go. I’m sorry to have wasted your time. I do not have thousands for a dress.
Shop Assistant: Wait, wait. What is your budget for a dress?
Me: Well…I think about $400-$500.
Shop Assistant: What size are you?
Me: I’m a size 12.
Shop Assistant: *Disappears for a while and pops back* We have 3 sample dresses for sale in that size. If one of them suits you we can sell it to you for $500.

SOLD!

Conviction is key

That day changed the way I thought about negotiation forever. I knew that amount was all I had to spend on my dress. The shop assistant knew it too, she could sense my conviction. I believe if I had said my budget was only $400, I would have likely only paid that for my dress. Baby steps.

Now, I had met a few florists before going to the dress shop. They all asked what I envisioned for my wedding. I told them all I loved peonies and wanted them everywhere. I showed them Pinterest photos and magazine clippings. All of them quoted me several thousand. If you know me…I ain’t spending thousands on some petals. Over and over, shops kept asking me the same questions and quoting me the same prices.

Managing Expectations

After the wedding dress incident, I went to one final florist. This time I did not start off by discussing my dream flowers. I started by telling her that my budget for flowers was $600, that I had been to several shops who had quoted my several thousand and had only asked me what I wanted for my dream wedding. No one had asked me how much money I had to spend. In fact, they all let me walk out without asking me.

My florist was lovely, we did discuss my vision for the day and she told me which flowers would be easiest to source (in February in Pittsburgh ❄️) and for a reasonable price. We chose hydrangeas that were a better match for my budget but had the same appeal. She was so helpful and I’ve recommended her ever since because she did a gorgeous job on budget.

Powerful lessons

The powerful lessons I learned from these experiences were…

  • Work with helpful vendors you can trust to give you honest feedback
  • Do your research and set budgets for each area of your event. Use that number to negotiate your price
  • If you truly believe in your price, so will your vendor.

Tried and tested

These lessons were even more poignant when we purchased our first home. We had put in an offer on a house that needed a LOT of work. We had put in a lower offer knowing we would have to use the remaining money we had to replace all of the floors.

When the offer was bounced back to us to bid higher without any guidelines, we went up by $10k but no higher. I told the agent that we could not afford to go higher while standing next to my husband who knew full well we had another $10k we could have offered. He started to say we could go higher, but I shot him a deadly look. Can you tell I didn’t trust this agent?

I repeated that we really had no room to bid higher if we were to fully repair the house. I knew that I had to really believe in what I was telling the agent, that if I believed she would believe as well. Yes, we could have gone up but we would have struggled to afford the near-complete remodel we needed to do on the house to make it liveable.

She was convinced, though she had encouraged us to offer a bit more. But my conviction led to her conviction which led to our offer being accepted.

Because of that lesson, I bought a house for a very reasonable price, fixed it up and was able to sell it for a profit a few years later when we moved back to London.

Three steps for negotiation

  1. Set your desired figures ahead of time. Now what you want and what you will accept. Do your research. Make sure that number is solid and not a hugely unfair or unrealistic figure.
  2. Convince yourself that your desired number is the only number you will accept. Which means deciding that you are willing to walk away in that moment.
  3. Throughout the discussion be confident but friendly and likeable. You and the supplier (or future employer if you are job hunting) are a team. This isn’t a “you vs me” situation, it is just a discussion to solidify you both being on the same team.
  4. Be prepared to walk away. Seriously. You can always wait a day and say you crunched some numbers and can accept a deal at a new amount. However, if you came up with the right figure in the first place then you won’t need to go back because you will find a better fit for both of you elsewhere.

I hope this story will give you the confidence to be a better negotiator, especially when speaking with suppliers for any events you have planned.


Event Planning and Management 101 Course for Admins and Assistants

This course is for you if…

  • Have been tasked with hosting an event and
  • Want to know what it takes to design and manage a successful event
  • Love event planning and want access to expert tips
  • Need to transition live events to virtual events
  • Are looking to expand your skillset to be a more desirable candidate

During the course you will master

  • Powerful scoping questions that will kill ambiguity so your events run smoothly from Day 1
  • Mastery of planning and implementation templates from events experts
  • Determining what success looks like for your event
  • Tools to transition events from in-person to virtual
  • Design tips and tricks for marketing your events
  • Budgeting with a buffer and what to do when budget has not yet been clarified
  • Seamless event planning through task management and timeline creation
  • Properly analyzing your success post-event and documenting lessons learned correctly

And if that wasn’t enough, you will also become part of our amazing Officials Community with whom to build your support team.

Make it Official.

The Event Planning and Management 101 course bundle is part of The Officials HQ membership. The HQ platform is where you will have access to The Official active Slack Community, a library of courses and useful templates and resources that will take you from an assistant who is surviving to thriving!