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Lockdown lifting life hacks – get your diary into shape with your very own virtual assistant

By Virgin TV Edit

With lockdown restrictions lifting soon and diaries filling up fast, we’ve teamed up with Celebs Go Dating’s ultra-organised Tom Read Wilson to give 20 people the chance to win the help of a virtual assistant. Tom’s assembled a top team of PAs who are ready to streamline your social calendar and keep your diary in check – whether that’s booking a restaurant or rescheduling an appointment.


Plus, you’ll receive a £100 voucher to spend on an experience or gift of your choice. If you like the sound of all that, enter the competition here


Tom also helped us create the polite decline generator which serves up a selection of excellently articulate excuses that will help you wriggle out of any unwanted plans.


The witty wordsmith has got you covered for every eventuality – check out his guide to “strategic socialising” and avoiding burnout.


1. Be selective

Indeed, you should utterly prioritise socialising with your nearest and dearest – however not every acquaintance deserves your undivided attention. Perhaps eschew the hen do of a third cousin twice removed? But drinks with your ride or die? Worth your time. Declutter your life and trim the fat.


2. Don’t be afraid of saying no

I know, I know, it's terribly difficult to say no to a three-course meal or coffee with chums, but even I have been known to say no with grace from time to time. If you’re struggling to find the words for a delicate way out of dinner, my new polite decline generator might just do the trick. It creates foolproof excuses, believable enough to get you out of any unwanted tête-à-tête.


3. Indulge in self-care

Who doesn’t love an intensely aromatic candlelit bubble bath with a chilled coupe of champagne?! Self-care should be your best friend and just as much of a priority as socialising, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you need a night off.


4. Take it slowly

There is just no need to make your diary groan under the weight of social engagements. You may fare a little better if you make plans at your own pace and focus on the ones that you will actually enjoy.


Start off gently with no more than two plans in one week, before slipping into a more vigorous routine.


5.  Get organised

Getting organised is essential. You don’t want to find yourself without a ticket to the play of the season, nor left eating at home alone due to an inability to plan ahead. Block out some time in your diary each week for life admin to ensure you can do more of what you adore.


With that in mind, I, with the help of Virgin Media, have assembled a team of wonderful virtual assistants ready to help manage your diary as we come out of lockdown. You can apply for the free service here to be in with the chance of having your very own personal planner solve all your commitment conundrums for you.


6. Don’t lose touch with nature

It probably feels like you’ve gone on more walks with friends this year than in all other years on this planet combined. You’re itching to say goodbye to the great outdoors and say hello to sticky dancefloors. May I please instead recommend that you don’t forget nature as your life becomes hectically busy again? Even if it’s just taking the chance to tend to your garden or an impromptu trip to the petting zoo. Nature is a panacea so don’t leave it behind.


7. Less is more

Even though lockdown is ending, it wouldn’t hurt to be scant with your time. Having staggered plans with close friends throughout the week will make you feel less tired, helping you ease back into the normalities of regular socialising.


A couple of power hours can leave a better lasting impression than a seven-hour dinner; enjoy the aperitif and forget the dessert wine. Don’t push yourself too hard and you’ll be sure your energy levels are always on form.


8. Don’t be a people pleaser 

Ensuring your own happiness is an absolute necessity. Don’t bow down to pressure mounted onto you by outside forces to attend every event.


Put yourself first, create your own path and don’t try to simply please others. If they are bona fide chums, they should be sympathetic to your plight.


9. Make time for your passions

Truly, even though we can all socialise again, you should still make time for your passions. Whether you’re a huge lover of Netflix, still enjoy engaging in online fitness classes or just want to lounge back with a wonderful novella, don’t forget about the things that fill and nourish your soul.


10. Minimum effort for maximum gain

Catching up in groups is a glorious way to see several friends in one go and takes less of a toll on your social calendar. Minimum effort for maximum gain, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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