Virtual assistants are widely reputed for their time management skills. But no matter how experienced or skilled your Virtual Assistant is, he or she can still be overwhelmed by tasks especially if your business is gaining traction. If you feel your Virtual Assistant has bitten off more than he or she can chew, have no fear! Here are 4 smart time management tips for virtual assistants:
1. Use Focus Blocks
Focus Blocks are clusters of time you set aside specifically for activities that require utmost concentration such as work or study.
While the ability to focus varies from individual to individual, studies have shown that on average, a person can only turn in 90 minutes of productive time per day. That’s only 1 accomplishment every day or 5 tasks every 5 day work week.
So why not create 90 minute focus blocks followed by 30 minutes of rest every work shift? If you work 8 hours or 480 minutes, using 90 minute focus blocks, you would get 4 things done every day or 20 tasks completed every 5 day work week!
2. Prepare the Day’s Schedule the Night Before
One of the reasons why people tend to procrastinate is because of guesswork. They have no idea of what they are supposed to do the second their shift starts.
Over the next 30 minutes, they will be reviewing the schedule in order to organize the tasks needed for the current work day. That’s 30 minutes of productivity down the drain.
A better approach would be to schedule the following day’s agenda the night before. When you are about to end your shift, take the final 30 minutes to review pending tasks and figure out which ones should be done the following day.
If it works out for US President Barack Obama why shouldn’t it work for you?
3. Prioritize Your Tasks
If you are overwhelmed by tasks the best way to organize them is to prioritize according to importance. A good way to prioritize tasks is to apply the principle of PROTI or Potential Return on Time Invested.
Put simply, PROTI helps you to sort out tasks by identifying which ones results in higher returns based on the amount of effort you put in.
Obviously you should prioritize the tasks which result in higher return. This way, your time is well spent. Even if you are a bit late on delivering the other tasks at least the important ones have already been secured.
4. Set Realistic Targets
One reason why the quality of deliverables suffers is because the Virtual Assistant focuses on quantity more.
Realistically, you cannot hope to accomplish more than 3 to 4 tasks per day. If you list down too many tasks, your focus would shift to accomplishing as many as possible without much consideration on quality of work.
This may ultimately backfire on you if the client does not feel the same way. You may end up re-doing most of the work and find yourself in a deeper back log.
Identify at least 3 primary tasks every day and rank them in order to priority. If you have time left over, repeat the process and pick out the next task in line.
Remember that as talented as your Virtual Assistant is, he or she is only human. There will be limits to what they can do. With these 4 smart time management tips, your Virtual Assistant will be back in track without missing a beat.