Having a career as a Virtual Assistant comes with a lot of benefits. One of the biggest perks we hear most often is the joy of a flexible schedule. While flexibility is indeed a highlight in our profession, time can also be the most mismanaged asset we have.
Without clarity of how to best manage time, many Virtual Assistants will suffer burnout because the responsibilities, both personal and professional, will lose its formidable appeal and lead to exhaustion.
In this article, we’re going to share three time management tricks every Virtual Assistant should know.
Know When You Work Best
Are you a morning person? Perhaps you’ve heard throughout your life that “the early bird gets the worm.” If this sentence pains you with guilt because waking up at 5:00am isn’t sustainable, don’t let it.
The truth is, we all have our sweet spots. Those times during the day when you crank out your best work. Whether it’s 5:00am or 5:00pm, know when you’re at your peak level and create your schedule around that time. Some of us are not wired to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and that’s okay! Trivinia Barber, founder of Priority VA has this to say about her peak performance time “I do my best writing work in bed, at 7pm. Forcing myself to write at 9:00am is torture, so I had to create a system that worked for me to do activities when my brain was wired to work efficiently.”
Creating a schedule that allows you to work when you’re most productive will completely change how you show up for your clients and will give you a stronger sense of accomplishment when you’re consistently working when you’re most alert rather than showing up blurry-eyed and half asleep because someone on the internet said you should.
Block and Tackle
There are days as a Virtual Assistant when you feel like a pinball machine, bouncing from one task to another. This is a dangerous pattern to fall into because rather than being productive, you end up with unfinished tasks and nothing to show for your efforts.
Blocking time on your calendar will radically change the way you approach your day. Here’s how block and tackle works…
Chances are, you don’t work for one client but rather several clients, all the while trying to market your own business. In order to avoid the bouncing from one activity to the next, batch your days into themes and keep like activities on the same day.
- Marketing Monday
- Whether it’s marking your own business or marketing for your client(s), reserve Monday for marketing management.
- Meeting Tuesday
- Save Tuesdays for your weekly client meetings and necessary calls you need to conduct your business or on behalf of the companies you contract with.
- Project Wednesday
- Block time on Wednesday to work on projects you’re currently managing.
- Content Thursday
- Go somewhere creative and crank out the necessary content to keep up with your content calendar.
- Follow-Up Friday
- Friday should be your day to send weekly updates to your client(s) and retrieve updates on projects and meetings from earlier in the week so you’re able to know what to expect for the upcoming week.
Your themed days may look different than this example, but the idea is the same. Regardless of how you choose to structure your days, creating a schedule that’s consistent with your workflow will create efficiency in how you show up each week. Once you’ve blocked your calendar, tackle the projects with fervor.
Set “Office Hours”
This is by far the hardest and most necessary for every Virtual Assistant. Setting office hours will help preserve your sanity and keep burnout at bay. With the luxury of a flexible schedule also comes the tendency to check “one more email.” Famous last words, right?!
Once you’ve established when you work best and have created a block and tackle schedule, make your clients aware of the set office hours. Communicating that you’re available from 9:00am to 5:00pm EST will allow your clients to know when you’re available and when you’re offline.
Do your best to stay true to the office hours you’ve created. Not out of disservice to your clients, but rather as an opportunity to rest and replenish your energy so that when you’re online, you’re fully charged.
The saying is true, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you’re trying to be a superhero and solve problems for everyone and not taking time for yourself, eventually, you’ll experience fatigue that will be reflected in your work.
Knowing how to establish boundaries and being intentional with your time will not only help you keep your sanity, but make you an even more efficient Virtual Assistant.