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Time Management Guide for Busy Virtual Assistants
Every employer who is looking to hire their virtual assistants see him as part of his team so that he can leverage his time on other priorities in his business. Virtual assistants should know that it’s very important for them to master the art of managing time so they won’t work themselves to death. As the old cliché goes: “Time is gold”, this is very much relevant to home-based workers like virtual assistants.
Tips to Managing your Time
Here are some important tips in effectively managing your time that will be both beneficial to the virtual assistant and the client. Efficient time management techniques are one of the important keys to be very successful in your home-based virtual assistant business. By being organized and conscientious with your time, you will be on your way to a fruitful and satisfying career as a virtual assistant. Always remember that time management is not about being busy but rather knowing how to prioritize tasks and provide the best results on time.
Which one of these do you prefer working as a virtual assistant?
Know how much time you can devote to this business.
Assess your current situation if you can work part-time or maybe full-time. It’s also very important to consider if you’re single or married with kids and with domestic responsibilities. You need to decide as well if you want this to be your main source of livelihood or just a supplement to your current income from your full-time job. If you do this as your part time job, you need a very tight grip on managing your time very well.
Keep your work environment organized
Maintain a clutter-free and organized work environment. Keep those vital paper works and file each client’s record separately. This is to ensure that you can easily retrieve your client’s data quickly when client requests for it. Here is a perfect example of a clean, organized and uncluttered work space at home:
Know which Tasks to Prioritize
It can be very daunting when you have so many tasks written in your to-do list. One way to work around with this is to highlight top three tasks that you should finish before the end of the business hour and work on the rest as soon as you’re done with them. In this way, it enables you to achieve more each day.
Use the Right Tools
To help save time in collaborating with your clients and other virtual team members, I recommend using the following tools or applications which are available free of charge or with a monthly subscription (depending on plan chosen).
As a virtual assistant, regular communication with your client is very critical in accomplishing any projects or tasks set. Skype is commonly used by anyone and not just the VAs to do real time instant messaging, file sharing, video chat, screen sharing, voice calls and conference calls (up to 10 people) to different people in different countries. What's good is that it's free to use across all types of devices (computers, netbooks, notebooks, smartphones, and tablets) and is compatible with just about every operating system (Windows, iOS, Android, etc.) there is. You also have the option to upgrade your Skype plan to call non-Skype numbers which are cheap.
To be more productive, it's advisable to use a different Skype account solely for work-related stuff so you won't be distracted by messages from friends. If instant messages is beyond few sentences long, it's best to do a video call for that.
Here's recommended book on managing your time at work:
Make internet calls for free with Skype. Sign up today and discover a whole new world of staying in touch.
Time Doctor is used primarily as virtual time tracking software which can track the attendance of a virtual team, what they're working on and how long each one spent on each tasks. Every few minutes, a screen shot of your desktop will pop out, thus eliminating the VA from being tempted to access non-work related sites during work hours. It also has an automated daily timesheet report that you can download to monitor attendance and productivity.
- Time Doctor
Time Tracking and Time Management Software that is accurate and helps you to get a lot more done each day.
Think of Dropbox as your all-around online storage facility for all your files. This time, you don't need a USB device at all. You can sync all of them from your computer to your tablet or smartphone (and other devices) and any changes made to them will be updated to all synced devices. You can easily create folders for each category and share them to clients or team members to access these file at any time. Convenient, right? Its free plan enables you to store up to 2GB worth of data and every new referral to Dropbox gets you an an additional 500MB, up to 18 GB space. I personally use this as my backup storage for all my files.
Wherever you are Put your stuff in Dropbox and get to it from your computers, phones, or tablets. Edit docs, automatically add photos, and show off videos from anywhere.
Choosing a calendar tool is a matter of personal preference really, but of all the scheduling tools I've used in my VA work, Google Calendar is my clear favorite. Well, if you're using a Gmail account, the Google Calendar is already incorporated into your Google account.
Even if you're not using Gmail, you can still use this tool to view daily, weekly, or monthly activities (like meetings), send invitations to other people and set reminders for meetings. You can easily sync this to your smartphone so you can efficiently view and edit events using your smartphone.
- Google Calendar
With Google's free online calendar, it’s easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.
Asana is a comprehensive project management tool which can help you plan, organize and collaborate projects or tasks with your team. If you're role is to to manage projects with several team members, this tool allows you to assign specific tasks to a certain members and add followers for better accountability. It's so easy to organize complicated to-do tasks, set deadlines and communicate the progress for each project with your team. It has a customized view where you can access your teammate's tasks and priorities.
Asana is a free shared task list for your team. The place to plan, organize, and stay in sync. Do great things with Asana.
For VAs who are managing their client's social media accounts, HootSuite is an ideal tool to manage all of their social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) in one go. It helps you to organize each social media accounts in specific tabs, making it easier to simultaneously monitor the feeds and follower engagement closely. With this tool, you can effectively customize and schedule posts, comments and tweets.
Using the free subscription doesn't provide an optimum report on your follower engagement but upgrading to a paid one will provide you with complete Google Analytics report and unlimited insights data.
Enhance your social media management with HootSuite, the leading social media dashboard. Manage multiple networks and profiles and measure your campaign results.
Do not procrastinate--EVER!
Some virtual assistants tend to procrastinate on their tasks since they are flexible with their time compared to office-based employees. When you're working from home, it's so easy to get distracted from your work and instead just watch TV, play with your kids (if you have one), do household chores first or talk to people on the phone.
Have some discipline and self-control by focusing on your work priorities first and finish them on timebefore you do other non-work related tasks. Maximize whatever time you have today and never put off tasks til tomorrow because tomorrow would be another day to finish on other tasks.
Always have time for breaks
Of course, it's very important to take breaks, too. Most virtual assistants like me, are flexible with our time but we can still find ourselves working longer hours. It's okay to take a break from time to time so you will be able to recover your energies for the next task. Don’t overwork yourself so hard and take breaks in between.
© 2013 Jazmine Llaguno