3 Things to Master to be a Highly Effective Remote Partner (VA)

The webinar and blog drew from multiple data sets: Interviews from practitioners, nuggets from books written by brilliant authors and the our very own 5x5.

  • Cultivate Wins is launching a video series project to showcase remote partners (VAs) who are highly recommended by their team leaders. We interviewed these high performing remote partners (VAs) and had fun conversing about topics that matter and would be of value to the community. 
  • This also features a lot of nuggets and take aways I got from the books I will put as "must-reads," namely Start With Why (Simon Sinek), A Better Way to Live (Og Mandino), Atomic Habits (James Clear) and The One Thing (Gary Keller and Jay Papasan)
  • Lastly, serving as the foundation and center of it all will be the 5x5 - the primary principles and concepts of Cultivate Wins.


Special Thanks: 

Be Happy TC: Nicole & Shanda
Josephine Culannay
King Natividad 
Jan Flores 

Wize Wizard: Jen Stalcup
Dan Ocampo 
Shay Ricablanca 

Level - Virtual Specialist: Clint Muhlenberg 
Charity De Ocampo
Anne Guardaquiver

Kathleen Metcalf & Margareth Smith
Joyce Ulanday



3 Things to Master to be a Highly Effective Remote Partner (VA)

Important note: everyone is a work in progress, these are arts you can master. And practicing it daily gets us a step closer to be masters - it's okay to take big or small steps, as long as we are taking steps.

Let us start with the mindset that "everything is a learnable skill"


(1) The Art of Time Management & Time Blocking 

In each interview, I found out that we have different ways of doing this. Find what fits you.

  • The Dark Side of Task or To-do lists. It is important to brain dump and write what you need to do. The key is to prioritize and do a 'triage' (red, yellow, green - assign your tasks). 
  • Always ask for clarity for better communication and relationship
  • When you do your triage it is important to "know your why, your one thing'
  • Not everything you write in your list equally matters. "Success is not a game won by whoever does most". We need to be functional to be more productive. 

Suggestions (Baby Steps): Time block deep work based on your triage list, use Pomodoro Technique, form habits with prompts

"The trick to success is to choose the right habits and bring enough discipline to establish it" - until it because an automatic part of your life.


Multi-tasking vs task-shifting

  • Challenge: Do you agree that Multi-tasking is a lie?
  • Is it really attainable? That thing they call work life balance?
  • Language matters


(2) The Art of Counterbalance 

  • A balanced lifestyle is a term we widely use but it can be tricky to apply in our personal and professional life: think of a see-saw, when you balance you need to be in two places at once, which is impossible. But worry not! We have a more appropriate term for you: Counterbalance.
  • Hyper-present and freakishly focused on the task.
  • The conscious effort of balancing - a verb. 
  • Introduction of an alternative to work-life balance. The problem is that balancing all areas of your life at once keeps you from making an extraordinary commitment to anything. The key is Counterbalance.
  • Sharing time: Chrixy's my laptop is my best friend phase, I juggled a lot - A LOT - of things and 'finished' a lot. Wellspring, MA, Boyfie/family/friends, Full time jobs, Project based jobs... But I didn't really accomplish anything. I was never 💯 percent present to make my relationships deeper (my friends saw me but I felt like I was never there)... I got money - yes, but my health took a plunge and I'm still paying for it (by the way) so technically the money's a little gone-gone.
  • You need a clear why/your one thing/goal to successfully be a master of counterbalance
  • David's planking as an example. Planking is about becoming self aware as to when and where to counter balance - it's not about strength. Counterbalance starts with self-awareness. 

Suggestions (Baby Steps): Make time blocks that you will HONOR. The 30 second rule (importance of time and productivity), be a student of counterbalance (practice, practice, practice), have grace and compassion (celebrate wins).

"The magic happens at the extremes"


Forming Habits and Utilizing Willpower

  • Form habits one at a time, the goal is to make that habit reach the point of automaticity.
  • Sweet spot: 66 days (ranging 18-254 days depending on the person)
  • Willpower is a "rechargeable energy." We must use it wisely.
  • When we run out of willpower we go back to our defaults.
  • Timing is everything.


(3) The Art of Gratitude and Meditation

This was one topic all of us from the video series acknowledged we need more practice on. Gratitude is present but meditation is something we are working to incorporate in our lifestyle.

Overcoming stress and overwhelm through Gratitude and Meditation is a sure shot to a better lifestyle.

Inspired by Monkey Mind vs. Inner Teacher: Meditation and Mindfulness Practices (Real Talk with Madison Elyse ➡️ read here.


The Reality of Today:

  • We haven’t stopped to ask “what do we want”
  • Self care is not a one size fits all kind of journey. 
  • How can we facilitate this journey of everyone taking care of themselves: Self-care
  • “Fatigue is real” - Sometime at the end of the day we don’t have the energy or we are too tired to come even talk about self care


Monkey Mind vs. Inner Teacher (a.k.a. Intuition)  

  • Monkey mind is that chaotic, random, slot machine thoughts.
  • We are tired because we don’t stop (we are too busy doing everything, anything)
  • Intuition as an inner teacher: When you find silence, you give way to your inner teacher.
  • Let’s treat our mind with the same level of attention we give to our physical body.  


How can we tap into the inner teacher on command?

  • Single-Pointed Meditation (Focusing on Breath) - If you are having trouble finding peace in stillness, you can try walking meditation.. feel your breathe and feet touching the ground, every step. 
  • Movement meditation: cooking, climbing, swimming (feel the rhythm of your breath)
  • One Truly Mindful Moment Per Day - Picking a mindful meditative moment once a day where you will be truly present in the moment: brushing your teeth or washing the dishes - get super in touch with moving and being present in your body.


All of these arts are interconnected, when one is off the others are too. But as mentioned earlier, we are all a work in progress so just keep moving forward, practicing, keep on studying and being a student of these arts until it becomes automatic to us.

Assignment: Start today, don't wait for your bucket list or 2023 list, pick an art you'd commit to and why.. be a student of it. take baby steps and celebrate wins.


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