The Official Well Aware Networking Group List

The Official Well Aware Networking Group List

This is an updated list of every networking group I’ve attended, & how you can join them.


For those of you who are part of the Well Aware network and are subscribed to my networking newsletter, I wanted to make it easier for you to focus on the individuals I meet with each week. As a result, I organize my summaries of all the networking groups that I end up participating in weekly, here in this living blog post.

When it comes to attending networking groups, my overall sense on what matters is coming across to others as a valuable networker. That’s what gets you to better 1-on-1’s.

With that in mind, I endeavor to share with you what value I sense from each networking group I’ve come across. This list then should serve to help you match your time and network with the groups that you can potentially provide the most value for.

On that note, let’s dive in:

Bethesda Badasses


The Bethesdas Badasses is a networking chapter (sub-group if you will) of Success Champions Networking. Success Champions is a national networking group chain run by Donnie Boivin.

Primary Geography:

This group is primarily visited by business owners from Bethesda, Maryland.

Meeting Agenda/Design:

If you’re familiar with BNI, Bethesda Badasses runs similarly – it has officers, restricted seats (meaning no 2 members are in directly competing business), and an attendance policy…

Unlike BNI however, the meeting design isn’t as rigid. The group does a great job of looking after its culture. I’ve attended twice now and have nothing but good things to say!

Cadence & Cost:

This is a paid networking group that meets weekly on Tuesdays, 8AM EST for 1 hour. The first visit is free.

Here’s a link to learn more about Bethesda Badasses

Coffee Connect Networking Group Logo

Coffee Connect


Coffee Connect is a network that was started by Rodney Chronister of Primerica. Rodney wanted to build a community where people could gather to learn and connect. As simple as that sounds, Coffee Connect has sprawled into a sizable weekly group with both new and returning business folks!

Primary Geography:

This group is primarily filled with networkers from around Cincinnati, Ohio.

Meeting Agenda/Design:

Coffee Connect meetings are centered around 1 presenter from the network. Presenters do 10 minutes of education before attendees breakout into smaller rooms to network and discuss the content shared. This is done 3 times, making it the most presenter-friendly networking meeting for time given, that I’ve seen. At the end of each month, the agenda design changes, and a recap of the month’s education is performed with all 3 presenters taking up a 10 minute slice of the meeting’s hour. 

Cadence & Cost:

This is a free networking group that meets weekly on Tuesdays, 9AM EST for 1 hour.

Here’s a link to learn more about Coffee Connect.

1 Million Cups Logo

1 Million Cups – Wilmington, NC Community 


1 Million Cups is a nationwide event of individual networks that meet around local businesses who want to share what they do.

Primary Geography:

This 1 Million Cups group consists primarily of business owners, entrepreneurs, & university/public organization employees within Wilmington, North Carolina.

Meeting Agenda/Design:

Each week, 2 presenters are given 10 minutes each to share about their business endeavors and what they need help with. Presenters often use PowerPoint to help with their presentation. Audience members will ask questions which ultimately aim to help the presenter better clarify what they need help with. Once that is done, follow up is expected amongst those who want to further connect to presenters. Before the meeting adjourns, announcements are shared among the community. 

Cadence & Cost:

This is a free networking group that meets weekly on Wednesdays, 9AM EST for 1 hour.

Here’s a link to learn more about 1 Million Cups – Wilmington.

10/27/2021 Update: I’ve been attending the Wilmington 1MC network for some time now. It’s an amazing place for entrepreneurs to connect and pitch about their companies. I’ve gotten to pitch Well Aware and Intro’d, with positive follow up from community members. The community is wonderful – everyone is there to learn, support, advise, and connect the presenters who show up. If you’re not in Wilmington, but want to attend 1MC, you can always find a location near you. But also, the Wilmington community does not care at all where you’re connecting from! If you want to present, all you have to do is apply.

Unity Business Network Logo

Unity Business Network

The Unity Business Network is a new group for me (I’ve only attended it once), so it’s a little early for me to share a complete summary. With that said, I love how international the group is in terms of participants. 


UBN is run by a well organized group of business professionals from across the globe.

Primary Geography:

At first glance, there appears to be 3 core international representations. The first and largest is Central Europe – Croatia. The second is Canada. The third is East Coast USA.

Meeting Agenda & Design:

Meetings start off with an educational component, followed by breakout rooms for networking more individually. 

Cadence & Cost:

This is a free networking group that meets monthly at 10AM EST for 2 hours.

Here is a link to learn more about the Unity Business Network.

Best of The Best Meeting Screenshot

Best of The Best (BOTB) Networking Group


Best of the Best was originally started and grown by power networker Ben Hecht. Over time, Ben needed to hand off responsibility to others as his work demanded more of his time. Jeff Harris is now the official group administrator of BOTB.

Primary Geography:

BOTB is primarily comprised of business professionals from around all of New Jersey, and Philadelphia, PE.

Meeting Agenda/Design:

BOTB provides 2 presenters per meeting with 10 minutes of time to share about their business. This has more recently become the front end of the meeting. From there, breakout groups are created with 5 minute timers and around 3-4 participants. 

Cadence & Cost:

This is a free networking group that meets Tuesdays at 2:30PM EST for 1 hour.

To learn more about BOTB, reach out to Jeff Harris.

Chuck's Roundtable Group Photo

Chuck’s Roundtable


Sometime amidst the pandemic, Chuck Goldstone brought together a group of like-minded, focused, entrepreneurs, mentors, investors in a roundtable. Chuck wanted this roundtable to be built on connection and extending reach to new people and resources through others. The group would share ideas and insights share collective knowledge and encouragement. Lo and behold, a group forms.

Primary Geography:

Chuck’s roundtable seems to be primarily consisted of participants from around the Greater Boston area.

Meeting Agenda/Design:

The roundtable typically starts off with a once around of every one participating giving their 60 second intro pitch. From there, the conversation opens up to anyone and everyone. Literally anyone can raise their hand and start sharing about their successes, struggles, needs, and so on. The group then has the power to respond, follow up with questions… this group has by far the most lax design structure for the hour and a half that it runs for.

Cadence & Cost:

This is a free networking group that meets Wednesdays at 1PM GMT-5 for 1.5 hours.

Here is a link to learn more about Chuck’s Roundtable.

Well Aware Logo

Well Aware Network

ATTN: The Well Aware Network is currently in hiatus until our Intro’d product is ready for launch with groups. Until then, please stay tuned.


The Well Aware Network is a networking group focused on sharing awareness around its participants’ networks.

Our network’s ultimate mission is to utilize technology like Intro’d to make networking a more effective and efficient experience.

Primary Geography:

Our network has participants from across the country – no specific geography here. Think of us as a hub to access other networking groups.

Meeting Agenda/Design:

Our meetings operate on a roundtable welcome of participants to share about themselves, but also about the people and groups they’ve met with in the past week whom they feel comfortable sharing about. Our goal with that information is to help our newest connections get closer to their desired networks.

Cadence & Cost:

This is a free networking group that meets for 1 hour.

Here is a link to learn more about WAN.

If you’re searching for more networking groups, remember that this article will be updated over time with new groups. With that, if you’re a part of the Well Aware Network and want to help promote/support networking groups you know of, let me know and we can include them here on this list!

With that, I hope this article leaves you well on your way. – CR

Insights on Executive Assistance with Debbi Shaffer

Insights on Executive Assistance with Debbi Shaffer

Hey everyone,

Welcome to another episode of the Well Aware Podcast. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about executive assistance. This is part of a series on executive assistance which includes a host of episodes all guested with people who currently provide executive assistance, or have done so in the past.

With that, I hope you enjoy the episode.

Lessons on Executive Assistance w/ Debbi Shaffer

[00:00:01] Debbi Shaffer: Hi! 

[00:00:02] Conrad Ruiz: Hi! 

[00:00:04] Debbi Shaffer: How are you? 

[00:00:06] Conrad Ruiz: I’m doing well, 

[00:00:06] Debbi Shaffer: happy Friday! Long week. 

[00:00:09] Conrad Ruiz: I know. I’m really grateful for the time though. I would love to just jump right into it if that’s okay? 

[00:00:16] Debbi Shaffer: Sure.

[00:00:16] Conrad Ruiz: Okay. We’re a time management consulting and coaching company – we obsess over the reality behind how people expect their time to be. One of the things that we’re really excited to get into is we wanted to learn about what’s going on in the world of executives and also executive assistance. 

[00:00:33] What’s your insight into the world of executive time management and what do you want to share? 

[00:00:40] Debbi Shaffer: So I moved away from corporate America through COVID. I’ve been supporting CEOs and C-suite executives in corporate for 20+ years. And I moved down to Florida three years ago and had a series of executives that were not… delightful! I took the opportunity of COVID to move into virtual assistance so I’m actually supporting the former CFO of the state of Florida, who does a lot of board work, a CEO of a major pharma, an executive chairman, and a former executive chairman of American Express. 

[00:01:18] So my value is taking anything away from them that they don’t need to do.

[00:01:25] COVID has definitely been interesting. I think it’s actually made a lot of C-suite more productive because you’ve taken the travel component out – the hours and hours spent on flights and getting to airports. Everybody that I work with has become more efficient, but also burnt out because they’re cramming so much more in because you can jump from zoom to zoom.

[00:01:50] I think it’s been a win and a lose. I think that they’re not protecting their time as much, it’s just easy to say yes to a lot of virtual zooms. One of the places where I try to tell executive assistants to be really proactive is making sure the virtual info to connect is there and that it works. And if there’s a password they need to get into it… through COVID, there was a lot of fire drills with all of the people that I support. Like “it’s time for this meeting and I can’t get in. They’re asking for a password that I don’t have”, and you’re searching through their emails… 

[00:02:30] I would like all virtual event people plan to send an email four days in advance – they can send one again an hour in advance, but for the executive assistants who have to get this stuff on the calendar, everything should arrive by Monday for that week: passwords, connection, information…

[00:02:45] Yeah, it’s been an interesting year and a half because the four that I work with have zoom fatigue and virtual fatigue. But at the same time, they’re connecting with a lot more people and actually doing a lot more professional development too, because they have time to squeeze that in.

[00:03:02] So a blessing and a curse. 

[00:03:04] Conrad Ruiz: So we like to look at this context of balance under the law of diminishing returns. There’s only so much additional time you can spend on a zoom call before that is not creating as much value as doing some other activity.

[00:03:20] Where does that conversation happen? Where does that optimization occur? How do we recognize these opportunities?

[00:03:27] Debbi Shaffer: I try to time block on the calendar, like meeting prep time and if back when they were traveling, I would put “This 30 minutes is your drive to the airport. This is your time at the airport. This is your actual flight…” so now it’s “Here’s your 20 minutes before the meeting at three o’clock to read the stuff that they sent so that you’re prepared for the meeting and it’s productive. Some people like that and some people don’t. I have one executive that just keeps scheduling over all of that stuff. They’re like, “Oh, there’s this thing here, but I don’t need to do that. So we can do this other call here.” 

[00:04:03] Conrad Ruiz: Does that feedback – not to put any judgment – but does that feedback reign true? I see so much of the ideal expectations set when looking forward. And then when reality strikes, it’s yeah, I’m sorry. I just couldn’t teleport my mind from that activity to this one cause literally what the calendar suggests for in that zero minute transition.

[00:04:24] Debbi Shaffer: Yeah. I guess it really depends on the individual. I have one that’s really versed at moving and doesn’t need that. And then I have another one that if they don’t properly prep, they just get completely frustrated in the meeting and they’re like, “We need to reschedule this. I don’t have the prep time… I don’t know what we’re discussing so why are we discussing it?” 

[00:04:44] As an executive assistant, in an ideal world, no executive would ever touch their calendar themselves. They would let us do everything, that doesn’t exist anywhere. 

[00:04:54] I know one of the biggest complaints of all executive assistants I’ve ever spoken to is they can’t get time with their executive.

[00:05:01] And we say you control their calendar. How can you not get time? And they’re like I put myself on the calendar. And they push you for somebody” yeah, depends on the executive. 

[00:05:11] Like I said, I have one that can listen and read the document at the same time and she’s good. And I have another one who needs like complete quiet, who, who needs to focus on the document before they go into meeting…

[00:05:23] Conrad Ruiz: Where does the professional development on optimizing your executive assistant exist? What does that look like?

[00:05:31] Debbi Shaffer: We’re working on that on the executive assistant side! I’ve worked with office dynamics and Lucy Brazier, executive secretary magazine. And they’ve been trying for years to bring in Sherm and HR and executives into some of the training… It’s great to teach an EA how to work with an executive, but if an executive does not know how to work with an EA… 

[00:05:51] I think that one of the components that’s really hard for, and I’ve run up against this too. This is one of the reasons I left one of the jobs when I moved down here is I know it’s really hard to trust somebody right out of the gate… But if you’ve hired a high dollar professional EA who has a track record, but there are executives that have no trust in their EA. 

[00:06:14] So I prepare an executive dossier and all of my clients and all of the executives I’ve ever had. So like when I moved from a job, I turnover that binder that I have, it has every piece of information I’ve ever collected on that executive. Favorite cake to spouse’s birthday and kids’ birthdays and social security numbers, passport numbers, and frequent flyer numbers. And I’ll, I turn it over to the executive or to the next person taking the job because all of that is time and I realized how difficult it is to turn over your life to somebody.

[00:06:51] But they say that an EA salary should be based on if you can take 10% of the executive stuff off their plate, what is 10% of their salary so I try to think that you can take 20%.

[00:07:04] But yeah, so many executives don’t know how to use an EA. And so many executives don’t have trust in their EA, both from the data standpoint and the detail standpoint, it builds up over time, but my executives know that if they’ve seen me write it down, it’s going to get done. 

[00:07:27] They don’t come back: Did you do this, do this…? And communication is key cause you also have to let them know when things are done. But yeah, it’s an interesting dynamic. 

[00:07:38] We’ve been trying on the EA side for years to get more of HR and executives involved, both on what they want to see us trained on and how to use us.

[00:07:53] Lucy Brazier and F Lloyd have an organization called the World Administrator Summit that they’ve been working globally to try and do this. We’ve made progress and we’re starting to get more executives involved in it, but it’s still a long way to go. 

[00:08:10] Conrad Ruiz: Do you think it’s just, and this is what I’d recognize in a lot of my client experiences where the call to action to delegate better, smarter, faster, with all of its values, all of its rewards, for some reason, the executive is just not recognizing that value because it’s not immediate. It’s not like another meeting with another potential high value connection. It doesn’t seem to address enough of a short-term gain. Even though the long-term gain is clearly like it’s immeasurably valuable.

[00:08:44] So is it the pitch? Is it just the demonstration? What’s it going to take for that executive to go: “That’s going to be way more valuable for my next hour.” 

[00:08:54] Debbi Shaffer: It’s a lot, it’s a combination of all of it.

[00:08:56] And there’s some that will never get there. There’s just especially with advancing technology. A lot of them think “it’s just quicker for me to do it myself.” But it’s not really. Because yes, you can go ahead and book that flight and you think it’s done, but you didn’t put it on the calendar and you didn’t put all the details there.

[00:09:14] Conrad Ruiz: And you could have done something else!

[00:09:17] Debbi Shaffer: Yeah. So it only took you five minutes, but all the things that follow that five minutes to book: Getting it on the calendar or tracking the flights – make sure it’s on time. Making sure nothing gets booked in that time… 

[00:09:29] So some executives will never get there. They’ll never trust. They’ll always think that it’s better to do it themselves, but it is a pitch and it is then a proven track record of getting it done.

[00:09:41] When I worked at Jacobson I was working at board meetings, so I had all of the senior executives across all of the company. And so I’ve worked with my boss long enough that I could pretty much read his mind. And so he and the CEO walked over… my boss is going, “I need,” and he’s just making these hand gestures

[00:10:02] and I reached behind my desk and I reached for what I knew he needed. He wanted more note cards, and the CEO’s like “How? What was that?”

[00:10:12] When you worked with somebody for five years, it’s like a marriage, you finish each other’s sentences, 

[00:10:17] Conrad Ruiz: You know what to expect!

[00:10:19] Debbi Shaffer: Yeah. I knew, after taking notes, knowing what he wants and needs and what the people in the meetings with him want so it just builds and it becomes a track record. But it wouldn’t build if he didn’t let go of stuff little at a time.

[00:10:33] And I wish that we could get executives to let go of stuff a little at a time. And then on the other end of it, there’s other ones that are just “Here, take everything and run with zero direction. 

[00:10:46] You’re like, “Okay… I’m going to need a little direction!” 

[00:10:53] So the world is diverse. All the executives are diverse. Some of them I don’t know if you can ever get to go into training on how to effectively use this valuable tool at their disposal. 

[00:11:08] Conrad Ruiz: So we like to establish awareness as our key value. So we like to think that an executive not recognizing this opportunity is unaware of the situation. They’re leaving money on the table. They don’t recognize it. Make them aware of that situation, keenly, and then through that, you’re actually doing the things that you need to do to train with your executive assistant, to understand what they can resolve for you and meet those expectations.

[00:11:29] Highlighting from a data standpoint that this is the amount of time by the result of lack of trust, by the result of “I’m going to do it myself”, this is the amount of time they’re spending doing let’s call it $15 an hour work.

[00:11:40] They’re getting paid hundreds of dollars an hour to do all this high-level work. And here they are wasting their time playing with

[00:11:48] Debbi Shaffer: dinner reservations.

[00:11:49] Yeah. Simon Sinek says, if you don’t have an assistant, you are an assistant. 

[00:11:55] Conrad Ruiz: That’s a fantastic way to put it. 

[00:11:58] Debbi Shaffer: You’re supposed to be at 10,000 feet you’re supposed to have the great thoughts. Why get lost in the minutia of this flight has been changed from 10:15 to 10:45 – we need to adjust the meetings and everything and the cars… 

[00:12:11] Why would you want to get lost now when you have somebody to handle that? 

[00:12:15] Conrad Ruiz: Yeah. Yeah. And certainly part of it is control. Certainly part of it is just feeling like if you are capable of doing something, then you should do it. There’s some sort of a really paradoxical inadequacy mindset of if I’m not doing this, am I, is it because I’m inadequate? No, that’s nothing to do with your inadequacy. You’re more than capable. The problem is you’re too capable, if any. And that’s the reality of doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Play within your zone of genius. In line with that it feels a lot like hyping someone up, but in a way that’s pragmatic. 

[00:12:47] Debbi Shaffer: I have one executive who started off as an executive assistant. So sometimes it’s “I know that you can do this, but why?” 

[00:12:57] Give it back to me!

[00:13:03] But the problem also is, and to be honest, there are executive assistants out there who are not proactive burn me once and then I don’t trust anybody. So that’s also a problem in the industry. 

[00:13:16] There are ones who think that doing a personal task is beneath them.

[00:13:20] And so when they (executives) get an actual career EA, they don’t know what to do. 

[00:13:28] That’s why there’s like admin assistants versus executive assistants versus chief of staff. When you have an actual career executive assistant who is there to make you more productive, it’s a whole different game than an admin assistant who just calendars and does travel.

[00:13:46] My husband is an HR and he doesn’t even get it. He was writing something for the company and I said I used to do that for my boss.” And he’s “No, it was writing checks it was a check writing policy.” And I said, “No, my billion dollar global company, I had up to $50,000 authority as executive assistant, because I knew the business, I knew what he would approve. And if I was unsure, he knew I would go to him. And even my darling husband, who’s been with me my whole career, doesn’t get it.

[00:14:23] Yeah. So it’s hard if HR doesn’t understand what a true executive assistant is, then they’re not hiring the right person. And if the executive hasn’t worked with a true executive assistant, then they don’t understand the value in it. 

[00:14:41] Conrad Ruiz: Deb, do you have any big sort of last takeaway, any sort of great call to action you have for people like what’s the sort of call to awareness that you want to share? 

[00:14:49] Debbi Shaffer: To borrow from Simon Sinek, if you don’t have an assistant, if you’re not using your assistant, then you are an assistant.

[00:14:55] And that a true career executive assistant can be your most invaluable tool. They can be your right hand. They can be as productive for a CEO as a senior vice president, a CMO, a CHRO, we kind of fill all of those hats. We have our ear to the ground in the company, we can alert you of stuff ahead of time, but there has to be trust.

[00:15:22] You have to somehow learn how to utilize and trust your executive assistant and the time that it will give back to you, you’ll be amazed.

[00:15:35] Conrad Ruiz: Yeah. Thank you so much. 

[00:15:39] Debbi Shaffer: You’re welcome. Thank you for asking me. If you have any follow-up just let me know.

[00:15:49] Have you ever read the, just a short article you should look at Melba Duncan wrote in the Harvard Business Review the case for executive assistants.

[00:16:02] It’s an excellent article that would help you with the value of an EA. 

[00:16:08] Conrad Ruiz: Got it. 

[00:16:10] Debbi Shaffer: Yeah. Great article.

[00:16:16] Conrad Ruiz: Okay. Excellent. Thank you. Is there anything that you’re looking for right now? 

[00:16:22] Debbi Shaffer: Actually, so I got a full load of clients. It’s been an incredible year for me, starting my own business up. I’m actually turning clients away.

[00:16:31] Yeah it’s been incredible. I love all of the clients I’m working with, I appreciate that, but I would love to keep you in mind and if I ever don’t have a client and I need to fill a space, I’ll be sure to reach out. 

[00:16:46] Conrad Ruiz: Yay! Okay. 

[00:16:48] Debbi Shaffer: All right. Thank you. 

[00:16:50] Conrad Ruiz: Thank you, Debbi.

[00:16:50] Debbi Shaffer: Have a great weekend. 

[00:16:51] Conrad Ruiz: You too! Happy Friday! 

[00:16:53] Debbi Shaffer: You too. Bye.

Virtual Assistant Case Studies: How We’ve Bought Back Time

Virtual Assistant Case Studies: How We’ve Bought Back Time

It is strange how surprising it is for people to hand off tasks to someone else. The first surprise tends to come in the form of this question:

“So what should I even ask for you to do for me?”

Our first response tends to go something like: 

“Well, what would you like to not be doing anymore?”

But that doesn’t always work.

Our clients often haven’t had the time to think about what they no longer want to do, or shouldn’t do.  They also don’t often think completely through how they’re even going to delegate a task. Moreover, they’re not yet aware what the most time-cost-effective tasks they can outsource are.

This is where we come in.

With Well Aware as a time management partner, our job is to pay close attention to the time and tasks of our clients. Through our 3rd person perspective, we spot actions our clients can delegate. From there, should the client approve, we can help delegate the task with them if not for them. This way we can then get our clients to focus on more valuable options for their time.

The following are 3 examples of tasks we’ve identified and performed for our clients. Each example covers a different focus on our clients’ time-task.

The first is a health-based task focused on our client’s nutrition.

The second is a wealth-based task focused on our client’s business development.

The third is a self-based task focused on our client’s review of their time.

Our goal in sharing these is to spark awareness of the time you can delegate to a virtual assistant. Be that with our help, or through someone else. Enjoy.

Note: Names used are different from our actual clients for privacy reasons.

Case Study #1: Delegating Meal Planning & Grocery Ordering.

Our first example brings us under the umbrella of health.

A client of ours was finding themselves despising the time it took him to decide what to eat each week. They also hated grocery shopping. Our client was willing to cook. In fact, he enjoyed time making meals, so long as they weren’t too complicated. This sparked an opportunity to delegate:

“Mark, why don’t we come up with a meal schedule for you every week?”

Mark highlighted: “Look, I don’t plan on cooking EVERY meal.”

We responded: “Not a problem. Based on your schedule, we can make sure you make enough food for leftovers.”

Mark lamented: “Okay, but then I’ll have to make sure I buy enough ingredients.”

To which we replied: “Oh no, we’ll grocery shop for you. Once you approve the meals, we’ll get the right amount of food delivered right to your door.”

It helped that Mark was already used to ordering groceries to his home. 

He’s never had someone else order those groceries for him though.

“What about security? Your VA would need my credit card to make the order, wouldn’t they?” – Mark asked.

“That’s easy to address. There’s this feature within our recommended password manager LastPass. It allows you to share necessary credit card information for specific sites only. It also autofills that information without letting the VA (in this case, April) see it or use it elsewhere. We’ll show you how to set that up. Your information is safe and always in your control.”

Mark got to experience weeks where his meals were not only planned for him, but ordered. Within that time, Mark would share which meals he enjoyed and which he didn’t. The former would end up returning to his meal schedule for future weeks. We played around with the style of showcasing each meal and ended up with a Kanban board. Within each card of the Kanban, April, Mark’s fractional VA, would include an image of the meal. As well there’d be a stripped down checklist of ingredients needed. We included a checklist for recipe instructions along with a link to the source article.

This first example highlights a nutrition-focused scenario of time-task delegated. We also make time suggestions for exercise as well as sleep. In Mark’s case, we got to talk about timing his food schedule to when it made the most sense for him to exercise. We also considered his sleep schedule which needed a change so that he could get more of his professional work taken care of in the morning. 

On that note, let’s move on to the next case study.

Case Study #2: Delegating Outreach within a Prospecting Strategy.

Our second example brings us under the umbrella topic of wealth.

Cue our client who’s job is as a fractional VP of sales – Carla knows very well how to run her own prospecting campaigns.

The problem for her was manual outreach via direct message. It didn’t make sense, for her time, to send out pre-scripted messages herself. What did make sense for her was getting cued when to step into a stage of the prospecting where the lead became warm.

This was our opportunity to help Carla map out her prospecting strategy. By this mapping, we could identify all the touch points that a VA could perform on her behalf. Then, given a positive response by a lead, the VA could notify Carla to step in. If not, the VA would provide a report of what happened with failed prospects.

We started out by diagramming the prospecting strategy. Carla sat with us over Zoom after preparing her scripts. We talked through each of the steps and their decision trees. It then became clear when the VA, Mavie, would send a message to a prospect, and on what channel(s).

From there it was a matter of giving Mavie access to those channels. Again we used LastPass to share credentials in a secure way for Carla. We kept organization of all the prospects’ information and progress via Google Drive. This was also where we housed the scripts provided by Carla. Through the Drive, Carla could make changes to scripts, add new contacts, or make comments that would guide Mavie based on her feedback.

Carla not only benefited from the virtual help for her prospecting. LastPass saved several minutes each day just by filling out passwords for her online tools.

Through her prospecting work, we also needed to organize Carla’s existing contacts. This data cleaning project served to bring all Carla’s contacts under one address book.

Now in this particular case, we also highlighted security concerns. See it turned out Carla was saving passwords to her address book for recall. IT security consulting is not our primary function, but it has played an important role for our work. That said, we explained the dangers and reiterated the value of good password management. Progress to her address book by the VA halted until she deleted all password-related data.

I digress: You can read more about how we make our clients aware of better IT choices in those case studies.

With that, this second example highlights a prospecting-focused scenario of time-task delegated. We also make time suggestions for networking as well as creating & delivering value in your business. In Carla’s case we analyzed and discussed time-cost ROI with each of her networking groups. And when it came to her creating value, we made sure she had enough time each week to deliver on her client’s needs. 

From there, let’s shift over to the last case study on reviewing one’s own time.

Case Study #3: Delegating Calendar Activity Review.

Our third and last example ends us under the umbrella of the self.

In this case, our client was actually… me! I wanted to look back on all the meetings I held this year as part of my review. This is something I like doing for clients to address their relationships. I figured it was good practice I perform it on myself.

Though I knew where to find the information – all on my calendar – I didn’t want to scan back from January 2021 to now the start of Q4. It didn’t make sense for my time. I also knew that at the time earlier this year, I wasn’t documenting every interaction well into my CRM…

As such, this was an opportunity to catch up with myself before I was even as organized as I’ve become today! I gave Geilord, my VA, access to my calendar (but not my whole account). I then instructed him to create an excel sheet of all invitees on my calendar. I asked for the date met, and each invitee’s email. He himself included the name of the calendar event – a small thoughtfulness I hadn’t considered – that ended up really helpful.

After reviewing his report of my interactions, I immediately started recognizing tasks. Contacts to catch up with, old projects to reflect on, strategies to revise…

And now due to the way I’ve now set up my CRM, I can have Geilord set those follow ups for me. I can also have him enter data about each of my contacts’ social media profiles, and have me follow them. Old projects and strategies are up to me to reflect on. But the actions I generate from there, I don’t also have to do! That is unless I’m looking to get my hands dirty with something new that I don’t know how to do yet – therefore, I can’t simply delegate it, as Geilord may not be able to do it well! An important principle.

With that, at this point, I’m able to create an agenda item with my advisors about what I’m seeing from this review of my time. In this practice, I aim to preach a similar call to action for you.

This third example highlights a review-focused scenario of time-task delegated. We also make time suggestions for studying as well as resting. Yes, we even have suggestions for how you can study smarter given your time. As well how you can rest smarter given the same. With that, our main principle which makes all that possible stands on this simple message:

Review your time, and focus. There’s only so much you can do in a day. 

You more than likely have tasks you can pay someone else to do. When it comes to the costs of that, you can pay as low $3 an hour for a VA. With that, you are more responsible to train and educate that VA. For $5 to $10 an hour, you will have less of that responsibility, but still have to manage the administration aka hiring & payroll.

Whereas for $12-15 an hour and above, there are plenty of agencies that will handle all things for you. That can include walking you through how to delegate. Well Aware is among these parties, and we partner with an agency to hire our VAs. And yet with that, our effort goes beyond identifying how to outsource for you.

We analyze your time in life as a whole. We are your awareness partner, highlighting opportunities that best buy back your time. If you could complete a task with even less cost through, say, automation, that’ll be our suggestion. If we should streamline a process only you can perform because of the time benefits, that’d be our focus for you.

With that, I hope the time you chose to invest in reading this found you well. If you want to open a discussion with me about your time, please feel free to schedule 30 minutes with me. Until next time, be well on your way.

– Conrad Ruiz

Founder | Well Aware

“The decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you are. You cannot hide from yourself.” – Robert Greene, Mastery


One consistent highlight I want to address is my mentioning of LastPass. LastPass is a great password management tool. That said, it’s not the only one out there. Nor is it the only one we’ve tried. For instance, we tried out OnePassword, but found the UX/UI lacking in intuitiveness. That ended up costing our clients a lot of time and frustration. We also have used Keeper as that was an IT client’s existing password management tool. I like it about as much as I would LastPass for having not gotten too involved with it – point being it’s simple and it works, and that’s what you want out of a tool like these.

All this is to say that I do have an affiliation link available to anyone who’s interested in using LastPass. Using this link gives you (and me) one free month of LastPass Premium (valued at $3). With that, I welcome you to explore LastPass without consideration to my affiliation. For your convenience if so, here’s an unaffiliated link to their site.

Again, thank you for your time. – Conrad

Ways to destress: Why is it hard to rest after a stressful workday?

Ways to destress: Why is it hard to rest after a stressful workday?

Work and rest are partners, not competitors. The better “rested” you are, the more energy and creativity you’ll bring into your work.

But why do so few of us really know how to rest and recharge at the end of the workday? 

The devil is in the details, but it’s important to define rest here. True rest – the type that makes you feel energized, inspired, and ready to take on the world – requires three key elements: relaxing your mind, body, and expectations.

However, with the overwhelmingly crazy nature of our workdays, accomplishing each of these three is a rather daunting task. And the truth is, many of us take our job stresses home without even realizing it. 

From the minute we clock out until the next morning when we punch in – when we are supposed to be resting and enjoying our non-work lives – we often let job stress seep in and take the most out of our time.

In this article, we will walk you through how you may have been unwittingly magnifying job stress and help you gain a clearer understanding of how to leave work at work. We’ll also identify quick ways to fight off stress and have a relaxing rest after a workday.  


In what ways do we take work home? 


After a long day at work, many of us find ourselves taking our job stress with us as we interact with our friends, children, or significant others. 

If we’re not careful, we inadvertently allow our work stress to become home stress…often at the expense of our relationships or our health.

Here are (often subtle) ways that we do it:

  • We think about stress during our commute. Driving home from work could be an exciting time to enjoy the freedom of being off the clock, but all too often, we choose to take it as a time to ruminate about the stresses of the day and think about our frustrations at work and everything else that’s weighing on our shoulders.

    The problem is that this can exaggerate our stress levels, making them seem higher after the commute home than they were at the end of the workday.

  • We vent about our work stress to our loved ones. Complaining about work to a loved one may feel good at the moment, but it can take a toll over time. While bottling your feelings up isn’t any good for you either, when you spend what could have been quality time with loved ones just focused on all the stresses of the day, you lose more of your day to job stress. The more time that you focus on work off of work, the less time you are being mindful and present, hence, enjoying the moment.
  • We worry about work instead of relaxing. Working in a job that requires constant troubleshooting or facing a heavy load of stress makes it difficult to shut off your “brainstorming” mind when you leave work. This is especially true for those working from home: our brains are always in the “finding solutions mode” that it can become hard for us to enjoy our personal lives.

Now that we have identified some of the common ways we take our work stress home, it’s imperative to ask ourselves…


How do we leave work at work?


Picture this: You’ve finally gotten into bed (and your back is thanking you for it), but all of a sudden your mind races with all the unfinished tasks, to-dos, and conflicts at work. You know you have to just shrug them off, but how?

It’s impossible to simply tell yourself to “just relax and sleep it off.” These are the thoughts you push aside when watching TV or eating dinner with family or friends but always seem to pop up as soon as you try to fall asleep. 

There are ways to help you detach from work the moment you clock out.

  • Tie up loose ends before you leave. Prepare yourself before leaving work. Try preparing a to-do list for yourself for when you get back the next day. 

    This allows you to leave with the comfort of knowing that things are taken care of as much as they can be until tomorrow, and it also helps you come in the next day and feel focused.

  • Create a post-work ritual. Routine tells the body what to do. This is the reason children need to have a bedtime ritual before falling asleep. We may be too old for bedtime stories, but setting up a ritual can make a huge difference in our day.

    For instance, consider your commute home as a ritual to separate work from personal time. You may make your own ritual to turn your “work brain” off too. It can be by changing clothes (even if you’re changing from one set of pajamas into another), playing specific music (to end the day), or even taking a warm shower. Try out new things and see what suits you best. If a specific routine works for you, keep doing it.

  • Enjoy your commute home. With some planning, you can make your commute home a relaxing (read: rewarding)  experience rather than just another hurdle to leap from before you can relax. If you’re into it, listen to audiobooks, either fiction (for fun) or nonfiction (in an area where you’d like to grow).

    Let your favorite Spotify playlist entertain you. Or better yet, take this time to mentally count everything you have to be grateful for. This can help you get into a more positive frame of mind and prime you to be more appreciative of the little things in life that come free of charge.


Ways To Make Your Home A Place To Relax


Your home is your haven from stress. With deliberate planning and mindset shifting, it will soon become easier to let your job stress melt away just by getting home.

  • Create a soothing home environment for yourself. Your home should feel like a retreat away from the stressors of the world. One of the best ways to have a home environment that soothes your stress rather than making you feel more tired is decluttering.

    Studies have shown that clutter has a subtle but very real effect on our stress levels. Make your bed every morning before leaving your room. Make sure the dishes are washed and laundry is put away before starting work. If you’re working from home, set up a designated work zone that’s reserved just for work and make another space to be used for relaxation (like your couch or bed).

  • Give in to small pleasures. Treat yourself by getting more of those little things in life that can draw a smile on your face. These are those “small pleasures” that instantly help lift your mood. It can be a cup of tea, watching your favorite Ted Talk, playing with your furry friend, a warm bath, or anything else that can raise your spirits.

    Go on, indulge — you deserve it.

  • Cultivate mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, can increase your ability to maintain an “at this present moment” perspective. In turn, this can help relieve post-job stress as well as build your resilience toward stress in the long run.
  • Sleep tight. There’s still no better way to recharge your energy than to get a good night’s sleep. Though this might be challenging for many of us, its benefits are enormous. Turn off your gadgets at least half an hour before bedtime and ensure that your bedroom is free from distractions that prevent you from sleeping. When you’re in bed, be there to sleep.
  • Find support. If you need to talk stressful things out before you can let go of them, it helps to have a supportive person who will make you feel heard and help you to let go of the stress. Also, if you are someone who finds it hard to organize your schedules and or stick to them (which can highly contribute to stress), find a time management partner.

    A time management and accountability partner can be someone who gently reminds you to refocus your thoughts and energy if you start getting bogged down by stressful thoughts of work.

    Ultimately, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by job stress, or you are experiencing chronic stress, consulting a professional — a counselor or mental health provider — should be your top priority.


Take a Break from Tech, Give Time to Your Passions


As reflected from the above-suggested activities, going on a mini daily tech detox may just be what you need to shed some of that work-related stress. 

Spend time on something else that can help you get your mind off of those worrisome workday woes. 

It may sound cliché, but there are still more important things in life outside of your work!

Take that long walk, return that call to your brother, book that weekend trip with your significant other, and most of all, leave that work stress at work.

Don’t worry, when you come back — it’s still there.

Have a stress-free life!

The real cost of multitasking (5 ways to rebuild your focus at work)

The real cost of multitasking (5 ways to rebuild your focus at work)


Think about the things you are doing right now. Obviously, you are reading this article, but chances are, you are also doing several things at once. 

Perhaps you’re also listening to music, DMing a friend, checking your email in another tab, or thinking about where to spend your weekend.

If you often do several things at once, you are a “multitasker.” And you probably think that you are fairly good at this balancing act. But numerous studies have shown that you may not be as effective as you think you are.

In this article, we’ll shed some light on the real cost of context switching, aka multitasking, on your productivity at work. Also, we’ll give you 5 simple ways to help rebuild your focus.


What is multitasking?


We often think of multitasking as performing more than one thing simultaneously: Watching Netflix series while scrolling through Facebook feeds, or driving while talking on the phone.

Multitasking refers to a) doing multiple things at once (like driving and talking on the phone) and b) jumping to another task without finishing the other first (like responding to emails incrementally while working on a larger project). 

But what is it that makes multitasking such a productivity killer? 

Doing multiple tasks at the same time or switching from one task to another will give you the illusion that you are accomplishing multiple things at once. But what you are really doing is quickly shifting your attention and focus from one thing to the next and jeopardizing the quality of your overall work. 


3 types of multitasking


The most common example we see on the Internet when we search multitasking is texting while driving. While this kind of double-duty (read: risky) attention split deserves a major callout and should be heavily frowned upon, this is just one of the many ways we try to force our brains in multiple directions simultaneously. 

There are three types of multitasking:

  1. Doing two tasks concurrently. This includes talking on the phone while driving or chatting with friends on Discord during a webinar.
  2. Switching from one task to another without finishing the first one. We’ve all experienced being right in the middle of focused work, and then our email notification pops up and demands our immediate attention.
  3. Accomplishing two or more tasks in rapid succession. It may not seem like multitasking at all, but our brains need time to change gears to work efficiently.

For the record, none of these three is necessarily worse than the others — they can all reduce our efficiency and can cause mental fatigue. 

Watch out for all these types of multitasking so you can regain control of your “work brain.”


What is context switching?


The short answer is: The time it takes to switch between two or more complex activities.

Context switching happens when you’re distracted by someone or something else in the middle of an important task, or when you interrupt your own focused work to prioritize another task (task switching). 

This situation, for instance:

You’re on a Zoom call with your team. But as soon as the conversation shifts away from something you’re responsible for, you check your inbox or jump back into the document you were working on — all while trying to keep one ear on the discussion.

Or what about this:

You’re working on a challenging project that requires your utmost focus. But you know your client usually asks for an update at this time so you constantly check your Slack to make sure you don’t miss it.

In reality, it’s hardly possible for most of us to achieve deep focus while continually switching back and forth from one task to another. If you are aiming to accomplish a difficult task, you need to reach a state of flow where you give your complete attention to that single activity. 

This is why context switching impedes you from being truly efficient. It can lower your overall work quality by stopping you from reaching your optimal state of focus.  


What is the real cost of context switching?


The more tasks you tackle at once, the more context-switching productivity loss can become an issue.

Studies show that it can take more than 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted. This is because distractions actively break down your concentration.

While the direct cost of context switching — task switching, or multitasking in general — might seem negligible, its lasting effect on your focus can be overwhelming.

It will :

  • Lead to anxiety: Research shows that multitasking can drain your mind’s energy reserves, causing you to lose focus and become more prone to anxiety.
  • Inhibit your creative thinking: Once you become more anxious by trying to juggle several things at once, your ability to think “outside the box” and be creative will likewise decline.
  • Stop you from working “in the zone”: When you enter the state of flow, your mind becomes so focused on a task that your productivity skyrockets. But when you’re constantly interrupted by other tasks, your brain will not be able to enter its flow state.
  • Cause more mistakes: Multitasking can exhaust your brain as if you had a restless night’s sleep; thus making you more prone to mistakes even with simple tasks.


5 simple ways to minimize context switching and rebuild your focus


Reducing the amount of context switching in your day requires deliberate planning on how you approach your daily work. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but these 5 quick tips have been tried and tested to help rebuild focus and improve work efficiency:


1. Follow the one task approach

Choose a single task to work on and dedicate all of your attention to it. Make sure that this is the only thing you plan to accomplish in a particular time frame.

It’s also beneficial to make a to-do list that includes every single task that you have for the day. This enables you to organize and prioritize the work to focus on at any given hour. 

And while the modern workplace is making it harder to focus on one thing at a time, you can rebuild your focus muscle with these two simple habits:

  • Remove as many distractions as possible.  When it’s time for your “focus work,” put your phone in another room, close your chatbox, and block distracting websites or apps if you need to. 
  • Start small. After years of context switching, your focus muscle is probably pretty wimpy. This is why you need to start small. Set aside a short block of time — even just 5 minutes — to focus deeply. And then build from there.


2. Time block your schedule to create clearer “focus boundaries”

Time blocking is a systematic approach to managing schedules where you break your day up into “blocks” of time. 

In each block, you set a specific task to be done. This way, instead of trying to cram work into the eleventh hour or in between meetings and emails, you know exactly what needs to be done at any given time. 

Time blocking isn’t just about scheduling your most time-sensitive work; it’s about scheduling everything —from phone calls to coffee breaks — so you can focus on one thing at a time while still giving you time to stay up to date.  


3. Add in routines and rituals that remove “attention residue”

Even if you finish a task during a dedicated “chunk” of time, when it’s time to move to other tasks you’ll still be thinking about the previous one. This is what researchers refer to as “attention residue.” 

Luckily, there are a few ways to reduce, if not get rid of,  the attention residue that happens when you context switch. 

One piece of advice is: Build routines and rituals that signal to your mind when it’s time to switch gears. 

This could mean grabbing a cup of coffee, closing your laptop, stretching, or walking around the office.


4. Use regular breaks to recharge

While deep focus is a vital tool in your fight against context switching, spending too long in a focused state can actually boomerang. 

You likely can’t stay in a high-energy, high-focus state all day long, but you can help sustain your energy reserves throughout the day by taking short breaks to recharge. 

Aside from your normal lunch and coffee breaks, you can also make use of micro-breaks to get a quick hit of rest between focus sessions. 

During these short, voluntary breaks, you can do breathing exercises to combat stress, stretch, or watch a funny video to help you relax.


5. Make sure to enjoy your non-work hours

If you’re unable to disconnect at the end of the workday, you won’t be able to give your mind the rest it needs to recuperate from the stresses of the day and be able to focus deeply the day after.

So leave work at work. Spend time with your family or friends. Take a relaxing rest. 


Wrapping it up…


The modern workplace is getting even busier, and there’s no stopping it. 

But the more you let yourself fall into the illusion of “accomplishing more with multitasking,” the harder it will be for you to hit your goals and feel good about the work you do. 

It’s time to tell it how it is — multitasking is a myth.

The only way to do more in less time is to focus on one thing at a time.

Have a productive, more focused (work)life!


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