Contact me for more information on how I can save you time and money!

Email me to learn more about the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant. Services I provide include writing, editing, proofreading, e-Newsletters, procedure manuals, desktop publishing, PowerPoint presentations, digital photo presentations/DVD creations, technology training, event planning, and basic organization and administrative support.

I can also provide you with one-of-a-kind gift baskets, hand-crafted cards, and hand-crafted gift items. These are the perfect way to let your clients know how important they are to your business, or to promote your business with prospective clients.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shortcuts - Introduction

Main Entry: 1short·cut
Pronunciation: 'short-"k&t also -'k&t
Function: noun
1 : a route more direct than the one ordinarily taken
2 : a method or means of doing something more directly and quickly than and often not so thoroughly as by ordinary procedure (shortcut to success)

(definition from Merriam-Webster Online)

While there are times when shortcuts are counterproductive (like a shortcut to success, as mentioned in the definition above), I absolutely adore shortcuts that promote efficiency. Anything that can help me get more done in a shorter amount of time is an incredible benefit, especially when you consider that time = money. With that in mind, I am starting a regular "column" on shortcuts. I plan to focus mostly on computer shortcuts but will throw in other types of time savers here and there.

The first shortcut is one that I learned about two years ago and now use all the time. I used it once while working on something for my husband and he looked at me like I had performed magic! (I promise you don't have to say any magic words in order for this to work.)


When you have more than one program/application running on your computer this key combination will allow you to scroll through each screen. The best way to understand how it works is to do it, so...

1. You already have one program running, because you are reading this blog. Open up two or three more programs or files.
2. While holding down the "Alt" key (located on either side of the spacebar) press the tab key once. A little screen will pop up with icons representing all of the different programs you currently have open.
3. By continually pressing the Tab key you can scroll through each program open on your computer. When you land on the program you want to see, simply release both the Alt and Tab keys.

Magic! :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

You can anything for 15 minutes

Do you have any tasks, business or personal, that you dread doing? I'll bet you do, because I have a million of them myself. The stuff that is constantly in the back of your mind (I really ought to do _____) but you procrastinate for as long as possible on doing it. Sometimes my procrastination leads to negative consequences, which leads to frustration and negative thinking.

But I've finally learned a trick to help me with these dreaded tasks: I can do anything for 15 minutes!

It's such a simple mantra, but I promise you it works. I set my trusty timer (purchased from for 15 minutes, knowing that I will stop working on that particular project when the timer goes off. There are several psychological reasons for this simple solution.

First, one of the lies I tell myself about any project is that it will take forever. (Said in a whiiiiny voice.) But the reality is, most of the time, it won't take as long as I think it will. I'm always surprised at how much I can accomplish in 15 minutes, and many times I finish the whole thing with time to spare. By setting the timer I take away the excuse that it will take forever - I'm only committing myself to 15 minutes and when that time is up I've given myself permission to stop and take a 15-minute break. Period.

Second, the hardest part of any dreaded project is getting started. I find that once I get started the project isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be, and even if I can't finish the whole thing in one 15-minute time period I see just how much can be accomplished in that amount of time. The end result is that I'm encouraged and motivated to return to the task to complete it. Many times I even turn right around and set the timer for another 15 minutes because I'm on a roll and want to finish up.

Third, I'm an efficiency minded person. And I'm also competitive. And setting the timer makes me feel like I want to beat the timer. It becomes a competition for me, where I want to see just how efficient I can be. I always feel a sense of victory if I finish up with time left on the clock and I'm motivated to keep going.

So what do you do for those really, truly ginormous tasks that you can't possibly finish in 15 minutes?? Set your timer for 5 minutes and sit down to make a list and break the big task into several smaller tasks. For instance, my craft area can get waaaay out of hand and often becomes difficult to get under control. Instead of tackling the whole thing at once I'll break the room down by sections and devote one 15-minute time period to each section.

And if 15 minutes still seems overwhelming to you, start with a 5-minute time period. Keep it simple!

For more tips on time management and on getting your house under control, visit the creator of the "you can do anything for 15 mintues" mantra at

Friday, August 17, 2007

A fresh start...

The past year has been quite an adventure for me, in more ways than one. To start with, I became a parent almost exactly one year ago, which most certainly qualifies as an adventure. And I've also embarked on an adventure of redefining my career goals and launching my own home-based business. This second venture has been full of twists and turns but hopefully the path is beginning to straighten out in front of me. When I first created this blog I thought I was headed in one direction with my business but an open door and an unexpected opportunity brought changes to my original plan. So I have decided to start again and re-create it from scratch.

About six weeks ago I decided to become a Virtual Assistant. I had no clue that VA's existed until I picked up Reader's Digest at my husband's grandpa's house on the4th of July. The idea of being a VA was mentioned in an article and I was instantly intrigued. This is exactly what I want to do. This is exactly what I've wanted to do for some time now - I just never knew it existed! I was hooked. I didn't know the ins and outs of it, but I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was the job for me!

The new direction for this site will detail the adventures of Erin Kinzel, Virtual Assistant. This will continue to include rubber stamping related adventures, which is where I started out, but will branch out to include a lot of other things. If you have somehow stumbled across this blog and want to know more about Virtual Assistants please email me at for more information.

More to come...