Virtual Assistants and Academia

I am no stranger to academia. My parents are both teachers, and both brothers are physics majors. As the lone VA in the family, I find that my skills come into play even in the Halls of Academia. Here are just a few ways that academics can benefit from VAs.

  1. Proofreading
    Proofreading is key with academia. It undermines credibility when there are errors. I’ve proofread many letters and research papers over my virtual assistance career. I confess, the papers that discuss things like bacterial treadmills are realms above me in terms of subject matter. However, I can still spot a typo! Academics can always benefit from an extra pair of eyes on documents they are creating or papers they are writing.
  2. Travel Arrangements
    Conferences are a big part of my older brother’s life. It seems that as soon as he returns from one he receives news of the next one. Travel arrangements can be a headache for anyone, but if you are in the middle of a semester (with everything that entails) the aggravation is real. Not to be forgotten is expense tracking. Compensation depends on records, so keeping those records straight is a priority.
  3. Administrative Work
    The applications of administrative work can be found in almost every field. Academia is no exception. Things that are needed are appointment scheduling (I am POSITIVE that every teacher should be provided with a personal assistant), data entry, and PowerPoints. There are other things to consider as well. Academics might have their own websites that need managing, books that need proofreading and editing, or side businesses that they are managing.

Virtual assistants have skills and technologies at their service to use in the service of others. How could you benefit?

6 Things to Remember When Proofreading

All of us proofread. We are quick to point out mistakes on social media, on street signs, and on posters. Autocorrect is either our worst enemy or our greatest ally, depending on the outcome. Here are 6 things to keep in mind the next time you are proofreading.

  1. Take Your Time
    Don’t race to get to the period. Think about what you are trying to say. Is this the best way to say it? Is the punctuation correct? Would your spelling get you an A+ if this were a test?
  2. Rewrite if Necessary
    I get it. Sometimes you don’t want to look at the words one more time. But if you know that the current edition isn’t good enough for publication, DON’T PUBLISH IT. This brings us to our next point.
  3. Take A Break
    Your brain gets tired too. It won’t work if you try to proofread when you can’t focus. Listen to yourself and take a break. Watch the bird building a nest outside your window, get some water, or take a walk. Give your brain a chance to breathe.
  4. Get Back to Work
    Finish what you are doing. You don’t want to send off something that’s half-baked. Think about the last time someone served you half-cooked food. Ew.
  5. Send It Off
    Don’t let proofreading turn into a procrastination technique. Make it as good as you possibly can, and then send it off. Mission accomplished!

Bonus Round

If you are angry, give yourself time to cool off. It is not a good idea to send off something when you have anger clouding your judgment. Use your proofreading time to see whether or not you have allowed your emotions to create a potential fiasco. If you have, rewrite!

Sometimes you need an extra set of eyes. I offer proofreading assistance for those of you who would rather focus on something more important. Go ahead and reach out for a free consultation on my contact page. Until then, apply these 6 tips for a better finished product.

Meet Your VA

My clients might conceivably like to know some things about me.  Here are some tidbits that might help others to form a picture about me in their mind:

  1. I am a Jane Austen fanatic.  I love her books and my absolute favorite is Pride and Prejudice, even though I’ve read Persuasion more often.
  2. My favorite pastime is reading, as you probably discerned from the above comment.
  3. I am a vegan.  Yes, that means no bacon and no, I don’t miss it.
  4. Both of my parents are teachers.  They cultivated in me a love of learning and hard work, which I try to apply to my virtual assisting.
  5. My favorite band is Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, one of the oldest mariachis in the world.  I have seen them in concert a few times and each time they get better.
  6. I really have been doing administrative work since I was a child.  I always was relied on to make sure my father’s home office was filed and organized.