Are you a virtual assistant who works early mornings, on weekends, and late into the night? Managing your time effectively is a key, foundational skill you must have as a virtual assistant to avoid burnout, to succeed with your clients, and to produce the best work that you can for them. At Virtual Gurus, we have a team of over 100 virtual assistants (and growing quickly!) who have mastered the art of effective time management and we’re thrilled to share some of our favourite tips with you. Here are 4 ways to manage your time effectively as a virtual assistant.
Task lists are more important than you think. We might try to convince ourselves otherwise – that task lists are a waste of time. This is totally false! Pressure and an overwhelming amount of daily tasks can even make the person with the sharpest memory lose track of time while immersed in a time-consuming work assignment. It happens. Keep a daily log of all of the itty-bitty or big tasks you have on your plate for the day and put them in order of priority. Prioritizing your lists and having that visual in front of you puts all of your work into clear perspective.
If you want to have even more clarity on the tasks you have to complete, we always like to follow the rule of creating a weekly task list that breaks down each day individually. That way, if you fall behind on something you can evaluate how this will affect the rest of your work week without any big surprises come Friday afternoon, right before your weekend is about to begin.
There’s no worse feeling as a virtual assistant than getting stuck on a task that you don’t have a single clue how to approach. It’s okay! We are only human and we aren’t expected to know everything, but as virtual assistants we are expected to use the resources that we have in order to solve problems we don’t have the answers to. We know, sometimes we can be stubborn and insist on solving everything on our own. But, our clients’ time is precious and OUR time is precious, too. So, why not ask someone who has the solution or can provide you with guidance, so that you can get back on track in the quickest time possible?
If you don’t have a direct contact to approach about the issue you are facing, seek out YouTube videos and online forums – these are great resources if you are struggling to connect with someone to help you.
Create a space in your home that limits as many distractions as possible. If possible, try to get yourself a room or area of your home that is your dedicated work area. In your work space, make sure that you aren’t surrounded by any objects that could be distracting. Oftentimes when we’re feeling those lulls throughout our work day, those objects can be more tempting than we might think.
One of the biggest distractions we all face is undoubtedly our phones. If you don’t need your phone for the work you’re doing, put it far away from you and only check on it during your designated break times. As a virtual assistant many of us do rely on our phones for our work, so this may not be the most realistic tactic to keep ourselves productive – we get it. Get your mind into a conscious effort to only use your phone for work-dedicated tasks and as soon as you find yourself scrolling through your social media feed, shut it down right away, stretch your legs briefly, and refocus on your work.
As virtual assistants we are often working all sorts of schedules based on our clients’ needs and time zones. But, as virtual assistants we also have the option to create a schedule with business hours that work for our own busy lives. So, make a schedule and actually stick to it. Whether it be Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or weekends only, set a schedule that is realistic for how much work you are actually capable of doing in any given week and that creates balance in your home and personal life. When taking on a new client, always advise them of the hours you can work within. If you can’t work weekends or evenings, be transparent and let them know from the very beginning. This will also help to gain the trust and confidence of your clients.
The life of a virtual assistant can be unpredictable and chaotic – believe us, we know! With so many clients on the go, it can be difficult to manage all of your daily tasks and projects without implementing effective time management strategies right from the beginning. Set yourself up for success and for work weeks full of productivity with 4 of our favourite tips for effective time management.
What are some time management skills you rely on to keep yourself working at your very best?