Being busy and working effectively are two totally different things in the world of business admin support.
A good Virtual Assistant will always be looking to work as efficiently and lean as possible; not just for their clients, but for themselves too!
Here’s a few tips from me for effective working – which might save you a few minutes during the day:
Break it down
Break big tasks down into smaller, bitesize chunks; this will allow you to focus more on the task at hand, rather than thinking ahead and getting in a muddle.
Tackle your most important tasks first. Don’t procrastinate – get them done and move on.
To-do (or not to-do…)
To-do lists work for me – at the start of each day, I’ll look through my clients and write out what I need to complete that day, and then what I’d like to do if time allows. However, don’t make a MASSIVE list – you’ll only feel disappointed when everything isn’t completed at the end of the working day. If it helps, write a weekly to-do list and then break it down into daily chunks.
To-do lists might not work for you – and that’s fine.. we’re all different eh!
Only plan to 75%
Only plan your day to 75% capacity. Why? I hear you ask.. well – inevitably, throughout the day we get thrown curve balls – which is fine. It’s what makes a VA a great VA – being able to be flexible and adapt, go with the flow and adjust as required. BUT – if you plan and fill your day to 100% capacity, where’s the wiggle room? Underestimate and over-achieve – then you’ll finish the day with a smile!
Start work with a positive attitude. A good attitude at work will help you set standards for you work, ensure that you’re taking responsibility for yourself, and make decisions easier since they’re based on your intuition.
Before you start a task, make sure you have a full understanding of what’s required. You’re better to spend an extra moment at the start to check specifics, rather than having to spend time re-doing anything towards the end.
Take a breath – step back. A simple shift in perspective can do wonders for your motivation and energy levels. Instead of thinking “aarrgghh I have so much to do today!” – Shift to “these are the tasks that I need to focus on today”.
If you’re trying to do something, and find you’re going round in circles like a pup chasing their tail, ASK! You’re likely in a bunch of VA/Admin/Business support related support groups on Facebook – so just reach out and ask. It’s what they’re there for. It’s likely someone has either already asked the question, or has done what you’re trying, and will have the answer for you.
Be strict on meeting times
If you’re having a meeting – in person, over the phone or on zoom, set yourself an agenda and a time limit – this will stop you going off course and wasting time better spent on your to-do list. Meetings are great – productive and worthwhile.. until you find yourselves chatting about last weekend and realise you’ve spent an extra half an hour that you hadn’t planned for..
Stop multi-tasking! We think it’s a good thing, but actually our brains are simply jumping from one thing to another, and we aren’t actually giving one specific thing our whole attention. Stop, breathe, focus on the one thing that needs to be done right now. Once that’s complete, move on to the next.
Prepare yourself for a calmer working day tomorrow – your future self will thank you for it. Increase your control of your working situation in advance – start by planning tomorrow the night before and sticking to your routine.
Switch off notifications – this was a game changer for me! Our phones ping ping ping all day and we just can’t help having a little peek at what that was whilst in the middle of… oh crumbs you’ve fell down an Instagram rabbit hole for 20 minutes. Turn off notifications, and set yourself a ‘power-hour’ or half an hour.. or whatever works for you. You’ll see you’ll plough through your tasks when your productivity is not being interrupted.
Engage with others
People work with people. Engage with others; whether this is at a networking event, or on one of many social media platforms – set yourself 10 minutes a day on each platform for purposeful engagement – reach out to those in your network, search up a hashtag relevant to your business – connect with others and they’ll connect with you.
And there we have it – my 13 top tips to getting you focused, efficient, and enjoying the work you do.
Remember – your talent will get your through the door, but your character will keep you in the room.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, requests for tips, or just want to reach out – I’d love to hear from you.