We’re back with another Top 8 list to celebrate Get Ahead VA’s 8th birthday, and this time we’re talking productivity! If you’ve ever wondered how you can get more done in the day without feeling overwhelmed, here are 8 useful tips from Senior Virtual Assistant Melanie McDowell.

  1. Schedule your days

Forget about writing to-do lists – they’re always too long and you never get to the bottom of them. Instead, I prefer to schedule every day, or even better, write out my next day’s schedule the night before I go to bed. Attaching a specific time to each task helps you keep on track and avoid distraction. Don’t forget to schedule in down-time, and time for travel between locations. When you first start scheduling, you might find that you put far too much into one day, so scale it back to what you can realistically achieve. I used to beat myself up for not ticking lots of things off my list, but it’s tremendously rewarding to see what you can actually get through in a day.


Managing your accounts can be the most daunting part of running a business. Fortunately, there are lots of apps out there that can make crunching the numbers a breeze. So, to celebrate Get Ahead VA’s 8th birthday, we’re bringing you 8 apps to help you nail your business finances, as recommended by our team of virtual assistants!

  1. QuickBooks

QuickBooks is one of the most popular apps around for managing business finances. There are two versions of the app. QuickBooks Self-Employed includes everything you’ll need as a sole trader, including invoicing, mileage tracking and tax estimations. QuickBooks Small Business offers all that, as well as VAT calculation, payroll, and employee time tracking. You can even invite your accountant to collaborate on the app with you!

  1. HMRC

Did you know that the government offers an official HMRC app that covers everything to do with your tax return? You can use it to check your tax code and National Insurance number, renew your tax credits, calculate the tax you owe, and keep track of any communications you’ve had with the HMRC. Even better, the app is free!


In the month of Get Ahead VA’s 8th birthday, we’d like to celebrate by looking back at some of the lovely things our clients have said about us over the years. We pride ourselves on doing good work for all our clients, and when they’re happy we love to hear about it! So here are 8 quotes from our clients about why they love Get Ahead VA.

“Working with Get Ahead VA has been a godsend. I simply did not have the budget to hire a part-time dedicated person to focus on my social media needs, or the time to manage them. My VA designed a social media strategy for me. Social media marketing is now an effective part of our business strategy, thanks to Get Ahead VA.”
—Martha, FabLittleBag

“The great thing about Get Ahead VA is that they are an extension of your team. With the fluctuating demands on human resources which are typical of start-ups, we prefer to invest in staff who align with our core business, and outsourcing everything else is a great idea. We are making good progress and that is proof of the great partnership we have with Get Ahead VA.”


This week is National Eye Health Week, a vital campaign which aims to “promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.”

Eye health is a hugely important issue in the UK, and yet many people still don’t understand how to look after their sight. So, to celebrate this event, we’ve rounded up the latest expert advice to help you understand eye health and show you how to take care of your vision.

The realities of sight loss

For many of us, the thought of losing our sight is terrifying. In fact, research by the RNIB has found that 44% of UK adults fear losing their sight more than other health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or heart disease. However, sight loss is on the rise: in 2008 there were around 1.8 million people living with sight loss in the UK, and this number is projected to double by 2050.

So what’s behind this worrying trend? Modern lifestyles – and especially modern workplaces – are often cited as a contributing factor. Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Mr Ali Mearza says, “Looking at a screen requires your eyes to focus on something up close for long periods of time, and this can lead to eyestrain and headaches. Increased exposure to screens can contribute to the development of some eye conditions that intensify with age.”


Here at Get Ahead VA, we’re happy to let you in on some of our business secrets – the things that help our virtual assistants to be as organised and efficient as they can be. Previously we’ve told you about Get Ahead VA’s favourite apps, and today we’re back with another helping.

So without further ado, here are 5 more brilliant apps that can help you to manage your business and keep yourself informed!


Bitly is a URL-shortening app that you can install on your phone or add as an extension to your web browser. If you need to share a link with your social media followers or members of your team, just pop it into Bitly and get a shorter, more shareable version to use in its place. With this app you can also customise URLs to fit with your branding, and track the analytics for each link.


As we are celebrate our 8th year in business, we would like to share our 8 best business reads with you – kindly compiled by one of our team – Senior Virtual Assistant, Melanie McDowell.

1.  Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker.  This will shock you into getting an early night!  Full of evidence for why we should prioritise sleep, including research about the implications of sleep deprivation on our health and well-being.  Compelling and utterly terrifying reading.

2.  View From The Summit by Sir Edmund Hillary.  I find autobiographies by people I admire to be incredibly insightful and inspiring.  This is one of my favourites, being both a New Zealander and a rock climber myself.  Find someone you admire and read their story.


September means the beginning of a new school year, and all the fresh starts and good intentions that go with it. But if you’ve been ironing school uniforms and filling pencil cases recently, you might be wondering how you can harness some of that new term excitement in your working life.

If you’re feeling stressed about returning to work after a break, we’re here to help. These 5 tips will help make the ‘back to school’ for your business a breeze!