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A day in the life of a virtual assistant

Maria D. a marketing and admin virtual assistant showing what VAs do

Maria Dueck Warner

August 24, 2023

Curious about the world of virtual assistants (VAs) – what they do and how their days unfold? As a virtual assistant, I can say this profession is not only challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Each day is a new adventure, filled with diverse tasks and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of clients.

From the comfort of my own home office, I get to assist entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, executives, and small business owners in managing their workload efficiently. So, whether you’re a virtual assistant in the making or someone looking to delegate tasks and streamline your operations, this may answer some of your questions about what we do each day.

Six years ago I contracted a life-changing, multi-systemic disease which left me unable to even get out of bed some days. Since I was 12 I have worked, so finding myself unable to do the Monday to Friday, 9-5 job was extremely difficult for me. A little over three years ago, my sister met Bobbie through work connections and found her inclusive business approach. She introduced me to Virtual Gurus and said it might be a good fit. Being a virtual assistant has changed my life in so many amazing ways! It’s always fun to take a peek and see how other people live and work. I’d like to share what a typical day in my life looks like.

Is there a typical day as a virtual assistant?

One of the best things about being a virtual assistant is that I can choose my day based on how I feel, what things I need to do for my health or my home, and what my clients need for that day or week. The freedom to set my schedule and own my business has been wonderful.

Planning the week

Close up of the hands of a person of colour writing on paper

At the start of the week, whether Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, I look back to the week previous to see if I need to move any requested tasks to the week ahead, for example, something that was spoken about in a meeting or an event that may need follow-up.

Communication is so vital when working as a virtual team member. We miss the subtle nuances and office buzz you pick up when immersed in a physical office environment.  Receiving clarification, agreeing on deadlines and asking detailed questions are an important part of my job.

Insider tip: Use the tools that work best for you! Whether you like a task management tool like Asana, Monday or Trello, or if you’re like me and prefer a physical day planner and notepad (raise your hand if you like pen and paper!), the important thing is to find something that works and keeps you organized.

Working with Virtual Gurus, I’m fortunate to also use Talentplace, for task management, tracking my time per task and client, communicating with my clients, creating weekly reports and more. Having a set place where I can utilize all of these pieces for each client keeps me on track.

My typical day…

  • 8:30 a.m. – Organize my priorities and check client emails
  • 9 a.m. – Focused client time
  • 11 a.m. – Break time, walk Toby
  • 11:30 a.m. – Complete a smaller task
  • 12:30 p.m. – Lunch break & small walk
  • 1 p.m. – Meetings or focused client time, when it is a nice day I work outside
  • 3 p.m. – Household chores/break time, sometimes we walk to meet my youngest after school
  • 4 p.m. – Work for another hour or two depending on the day and family activities

An in-depth look into a day in the life of a virtual assistant

A couple of months ago, our family decided to adopt a 4.5 lb, 11-week-old cocker spaniel. This has shifted how my day starts. I generally wake up between 6:30 – 7 a.m. and take him outside to do his business and his daily downward dog yoga pose (at least one of us can do yoga!). Then he demands breakfast while I say “Coffee first”! We do some more inside-outside-inside-outside games before he is ready to have a puppy nap and let me get to work. I should also mention that my youngest is on summer break, so I don’t have the additional challenge of getting her off to school, when I do the inside-outside will include this.

My workday then starts between 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., depending on the day. The first thing I do is go into each of my client email accounts to get a feel for what they need that day and check if there are any urgent requests. If something is urgent, I deal with those tasks first. The rest goes on a daily task list which I keep in my day planner. I use a fantastic one that is a woman-owned small business in Calgary called Wrinkle and Crease. It has room for daily tasks, weekly tasks, a to-do list and a notes section. Keeps me organized for the week!

Wrinkle & Crease is a local company that produces the most lovely day planners. Click here to check out their products.

Day planners by Wrinkle and Crease, a local Calgary company.

My mornings are usually when I do my focused work, or tasks which have a quick deadline. For example grant or proposal writing, month-end reconciliation, data entry or updating CRM, calendar or email management tasks, and any human resources assignments like going through resumes or writing policy and procedure manuals. I try to schedule meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as I find meetings take a different type of focus and I like to have set days for getting work completed. I also find Mondays or Fridays are difficult for recurring meetings due to long weekends and I like to keep a good structure/cadence with regular meetings. Though my main objective is to accommodate what works best for my clients and some weeks I have meetings every day.

After our morning break, complete with puppy playtime and a drink of water (stay hydrated!), we settle in for another hour of lighter work, such as checking emails, planning upcoming events or social media posts, doing some fun research, or ordering supplies. I also love to play music or a podcast during this time. I am a lifelong learner and love to listen to podcasts that help me learn something new, but sometimes I just want some Nina Simone, Billy Talent or Buffy Sainte-Marie to sing along to.

After lunch, I do creative (yet focused) client work such as web design, blog writing, arranging travel, catering orders, etc. With my illness, I find my best logical focus time is in the morning and by the afternoon, I just want to let my creative side out to play. This is often where I will work outside on warm days. I have a covered front porch that is so lovely to sit and listen to the birds or other outside noises. I also try to plan any family or medical appointments for after lunch. My workday usually wraps up between 5-6 p.m., though there are some days when I work late into the evening as with any administrative job.

Tasks a virtual assistant can do for you

This isn’t an exhaustive list; however, it is a compact list of things that I have worked on since starting my career as a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistant in a virtual meeting with their client

My business success

As a virtual assistant, I have control over my schedule and my work is structured around completing tasks efficiently, eliminating idle time or clock-watching. I am constantly engaged and I get to expand my knowledge and hone my skills every day. Also, whenever I have some spare time, I take a look through Talentplace Tools of the Trade or Upgrade U in our VA Community Hub to learn even more skills I can pass along to my clients.

Apply to become a virtual assistant with Virtual Gurus The diverse range of tasks, flexible working hours, and continuous learning opportunities make being a virtual assistant an incredibly appealing career choice. Surprisingly, one of the most fulfilling aspects of this job has been the relationships I have developed with my clients. Their satisfaction and appreciation truly make it all worthwhile. I also really love meeting and working with other virtual assistants at Virtual Gurus. It is such a welcoming community.

As a virtual assistant with Virtual Gurus, you’ll enjoy the freedom to work remotely while providing top-notch support to our clients. Earn a competitive wage and receive ongoing training, all while enjoying the flexibility and independence that comes with this opportunity. Transform your love for organization, communication, customer service, creating graphics, or whatever fuels your passions, into a fulfilling profession.

Apply now and take that exciting leap toward a rewarding future!

Book a consult to get matched with a virtual assistant from Virtual Gurus

 Hiring a virtual assistant will give you the time to focus on your business and know that you are getting the quality support you need. We’d love to chat and see what you need in an assistant. Take a look at what some of our clients are saying.

Maria Dueck Warner, a virtual assistant with Virtual Gurus.

Maria Dueck Warner

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