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6-frequently-asked-questions-about-virtual-assistants

6 Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Assistants

Are you planning of hiring virtual assistants but are hesitant because you have so many questions? Here is a short list of frequently asked questions about virtual assistants.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is a person who is contracted to manage a specific set of tasks or a project and works online from a remote location. He or she is technically self- employed. You can consider a Virtual Assistant a co- entrepreneur; a proprietor of a business that offers virtual assistance service.

What Tasks Can I Delegate to a Virtual Assistant?

Gone are the days that a Virtual Assistant was limited only to administrative tasks. Of course, the VA can and will still provide the usual services such as e-mail filtering, calendar management, phone handling and appointment setting. But you can find a Virtual Assistant who can fill in the roles you want in your company. Among these skills are:

  • Social media marketing
  • Content writing
  • Website Design and Management
  • Accounting
  • Transcription services

Review your business model and determine the skills you need to cover all the key areas of operation.

Why Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant?

There are many benefits to hiring a Virtual Assistant:

  • Lower cost of business
  • Increase level of productivity
  • Introduce business flexibility
  • Reduce risk of business expansion
  • Improve quality of work
  • Improve time management
  • Build strategic business partnerships
  • Reduce stress levels

Virtual assistants are alternatively referred to as telecommuters, freelancers and home- based workers.

Statistically, it is estimated that by 2020 more than 50% of workers will be home- based. In the US, many of the largest corporations are hiring virtual assistants as part of the workforce.

Are Virtual Assistants Expensive?

No. Virtual assistants as mentioned are self- employed. You do not hire them full- time unless that is the arrangement you want. Otherwise, they are not entitled to receive government and company benefits.

As entrepreneurs, they are also responsible for their own costs of business. When you contract a Virtual Assistant, you will not significantly increase your monthly operating expenses.

Comparatively speaking, the cost of hiring a regular full time employee is equivalent to 1.5 to double his or her salary.

Where Can I Find Virtual Assistants?

You have 2 sources of virtual assistants:

  • Freelancers – These are sole proprietary virtual assistants who provide their services on online jobsites such as Elance, Guru and Freelancer.
  • Agency – There are agencies which over the years have amassed a data base of virtual assistants. You can find them online through their websites or social media.

The biggest advantage agency- based virtual assistants have over freelancers is that they have a track record. You can be more assured of the proficiency and competence of agency virtual assistants.

Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant from Another Country?

Yes. The countries which have built a strong reputation for outsourced services are the Philippines and India. Many foreign companies hire virtual assistants from these countries because of their affordable rates and high quality of work.

The Philippines is known for customer service and telemarketing while India’s forte is back office and IT.

For sure you have more questions in mind about virtual assistance. We will come out with a second list of FAQs but from what you’ve read, you should be able to validate your reason to hire a Virtual Assistant.

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3 Reasons You Should Hire a Virtual PA

A Virtual PA could be your answer to achieving balance between life and work. You’ve heard of the Virtual Assistant but what of the Virtual PA or Virtual Personal Assistant?

The Virtual PA essentially runs the same functions as the Virtual Assistant. The difference is that the word “Personal” implies assisting you in non- work related matters. A Virtual Assistant can also handle personal matters but a Virtual PA may have more experience and expertise in it.

Here are 3 reasons why you should hire a Virtual PA:

Helps Organize Your Day. The best way to wake up every morning is to feel reinvigorated; like you want to seize the day. However, what if every morning it felt like the day seized you?

You open your e-mail and there is an entirely new page of unopened communication. Your daughter reminds you of her 2pm recital at school. Your phone rings and it’s an associate reminding you of today’s meeting and that you should be ready with the best Power Point Presentation of your life.

The Power Point Presentation which you haven’t started on yet.

Days like these will become more frequent if you cannot keep your personal and professional tasks in order. A Virtual PA can help you put order amidst a chaotic schedule.

The Virtual PA can filter your email and initiate the necessary correspondence before you can sip your first cup of coffee. She will remind you of the recital while she is working on your Power Point Presentation.

Gets More Work Done. With a Virtual PA, you no longer have the world on your shoulders. You can delegate both work and personal matters to the Virtual PA so you can focus on activities that need you undivided attention.

A Virtual PA has varied skill sets. She can manage an assortment of tasks and assure you of quality of work.

You don’t have to worry about missing payment schedules, being late for a meeting because you don’t know the short cut or not having a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town.

The Virtual PA has you covered!

Reduces Risk of Missed Opportunities. In business, sometimes you don’t have to work at creating opportunities. Sometimes it will just come to you. As the old saying goes, “If opportunity knocks, open the door.”

Or answer the e-mail which you were not able to do because you were overwhelmed by work. Or perhaps, you forgot to return the call of a prospective client because you were stressed out from all of the preparations for the family reunion.

These missed opportunities could have been career changing had you answered them. If you cannot manage your time, you will undermine the true value of your business.

A Virtual PA can get these done for you. From responding to e-mails, taking phone calls to helping you plan for the reunion; a Virtual PA will make sure you will not miss out on crucial opportunities.

The best thing about having a Virtual PA is being able to achieve life and work balance. You work hard to provide food for your loved ones but sometimes your effort takes away time spent with them which is important. A Virtual PA ensures you are able to fulfill obligations to work and family.

The Virtual PA opens up your schedule so you can realize there is more to life than just work.

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Virtual Assistant or Office Assistant? 5 Reasons Why You Should Go Virtual

Entrepreneurs could find themselves at the crossroads: “Should I hire a Virtual Assistant or an office assistant?” To the uninitiated, the Virtual Assistant is the great unknown. An office assistant is a person sharing space, breathing the same air and works in close collaboration. A Virtual Assistant works in the virtual world.

Before you cast your vote, you should do a quick comparison between the 2 options. It will be clear that contracting a Virtual Assistant is the better option.

Lower Compensation Cost – Let’s get this straight. Technically, you do not hire a Virtual Assistant. You contract a VA. The word “contract” implies a working arrangement which does not follow the statuettes of regular employment.

This is because a Virtual Assistant runs his or her own business and can handle other clients. Thus, you only pay a Virtual Assistant for the hours spent on your project.

An office assistant is a full-time employee. You have to pay complete benefits on top of the salary. It is estimated that the cost of a full-time employee is equivalent to double his or her basic salary.

Greater Productivity – A Virtual Assistant will allocate 2 to 4 hours per day per client. But you can be rest assured the VA can get a lot of work done during the 2 to 4 hours.

This is because virtual assistants are paid based on productive hour. Clients often give virtual assistants very strict deadlines which have to be complied with. There are milestones that may be required to accomplish on a certain day to ensure the project is moving forward.

Because office assistants are paid a fixed salary, employees end up paying even for unproductive time. Whenever your office assistant checks her social media, takes water cooler or bathroom breaks you are paying for those costly minutes.

Avoid Legalities – What do you do if your Virtual Assistant does not deliver as expected? Simple, you just terminate the contract and hire a new one.

What if the office assistant does not pan out? Depending on your office policy, you may have to furnish proof of incompetence through data and work statistics. Was she given due process? Did you issue warnings or reprimands for poor quality of work? Did you give her enough time to improve her performance?

Otherwise, termination could get ugly and you may have to pay a large sum of money to cover unpaid benefits.

More Flexible Options – You’re planning to set up customer support services for your business. But if you extend work hours of your staff, you will incur overtime pay, night differentials and fatigue may compromise quality of work.

Your other option is to outsource services to virtual assistants from the Philippines. You don’t incur expenses outside their standard fees. Because there is a time differential involved, they could be working at daytime which allows them to maintain quality of work.

Lower Attrition Rate – There are studies that show home-based workers are generally happier than office workers.

They are less stressed because they do not have to go through the inconvenience of the daily commute and office politics. They also end up saving more money than office workers because they have fewer expenses.

When you have happier workers, you get better production and higher quality of work.

If you are uncertain of contracting a Virtual Assistant for the first time, use the services of a virtual assistance agency. These agencies have assembled a roster of highly- qualified virtual assistants and can present ready references and recommendations from clients. Best of all, if you are not happy with the service, the agency can easily replace your VA with another one.

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Why It’s a Great Time to be a Virtual Assistant

If you have been thinking of becoming a Virtual Assistant, chances are you are not alone. Virtual assistance is no longer just a job. It is a profession. In fact, it is a career. Some virtual assistants are able to build their profession into a thriving, highly successful business.

They have amassed a large portfolio of satisfied clientele and developed associations with other good virtual assistants that starting an agency became the next logical step.

Virtual assistance could be your stepping stone to a career and an eventual enterprise. But you have to take that first step now!

The timing couldn’t be any better. Here are 6 reasons why it’s a great time to be a Virtual Assistant:

The Technology is Available to Support Virtual Assistant Work. In addition to faster computers and more advanced mobile gadgets, there are more software programs to support virtual assistance work. Programs such as Asana, SalesForce, Bitrix-24 and DropBox are effective, comprehensive and easy to learn. Then you have more communication tools such as Skype, Viber, Slack and WebEx.

Demand is High. In the United States, 37% of workforces in major companies are comprised of virtual assistants. This number is expected to increase to 50% by 2020. If large companies are benefiting from outsourcing services to virtual assistants, it will benefit small businesses as well.

The World Has Become More Mobile Dependent. 65% of online traffic now comes from mobile gadgets. In 2020, it is estimated that there will be more than 6.1 Billion smart phones operating around the world. These statistics show that consumers and businesses are transacting through the Internet more often.

Businesses will Continue to Outsource Services. Outsourcing services to virtual assistants works because of the following reasons:

  • It streamlines business costs
  • Increases productivity
  • Improves quality of work
  • Introduces flexibility to business
  • Reduces risk of business expansion

Given the turbulent global events over the last 15 years, businesses will continue to outsource services because it allows them to hedge against uncertainty.

There are Several Sources for Virtual Assistance Work. The growth of virtual assistance work has not gone unnoticed in the Internet. There are more sources of virtual assistance work today than 5 years ago. You can find virtual assistance work from the following sources:

  • Online job sites
  • Community billboards
  • Website job aggregators
  • Social media
  • Online virtual assistance agencies

The Skill Base Has Become More Diversified. Virtual assistants are no longer just limited to administrative tasks. The industry has opened up its doors to a multitude of skills such as:

  • Accounting
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO
  • Digital Marketing
  • Website Design
  • Software Application Development
  • Content Writing
  • Legal, Medical and Business Transcription
  • Market Research
  • AutoCAD

Regardless of your skill or core competency, you can readily find clients who will need your services as a Virtual Assistant.

So what are you waiting for? 2017 is just around the corner and there are opportunities for you to take. If you’ve always wanted to own a business or be your own boss, you should consider becoming a Virtual Assistant today!

the-hybrid-workplace-integrating-virtual-assistants-into-the-work-force

The Hybrid Workplace: Integrating Virtual Assistants into the Work Force

It used to be that virtual assistants were contracted by executives who needed administrative support and personal assistance services.

It used to be that virtual assistants were the cost-cutting option by small business owners who wanted to expand operations but were constrained by tight capital.

How times have changed over the last 5 years.

Today’s virtual assistants have enjoined the workplace of even the largest corporations in the world. Despite Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer’s failed telecommuter experiment, more companies have continued to integrate virtual assistants into the workplace.

The popularity of virtual assistants has spawned alternative terms such as telecommuters, freelancers and home-based workers. Essentially the meaning is the same; people contracted to perform tasks online from remote locations.

According to a 2015 study by Gallup, in the United States 37% of Americans have done home based work. This corresponds with the survey that many American companies have allocated 30% to 45% of their workforce for telecommuters or virtual assistants.

In the United Kingdom as early as 2011, 59% of companies surveyed reported that they were offering telecommuting work.

It is estimated that by 2020, more than 50% of workforces will be composed of virtual assistants or telecommuters.

Why are companies integrating virtual assistants into the office work force? Apparently there are several good reasons why it’s advantageous to have virtual assistance within a brick- and- mortar setting:

Reduce Cost of Operations – Hiring virtual assistants will lower the monthly cost of operations of a company through the following ways:

  • Lower cost of benefits; virtual assistants are not full-time employees and are not entitled to benefits.
  • No significant increase in costs of operations; virtual assistants are responsible for their own costs of business.

Increase Work Productivity – Research has shown that virtual assistants are more productive than office employees. Virtual assistants put in 24 more days of work versus office workers.

Office workers have been shown to average only 90 minutes of productive time per day.

A Virtual Assistant usually allocates 4 hours per client. On the average, a Virtual Assistant can complete 1 task every 90 minutes for a productivity rate of 75% versus 18% for the office worker.

Lower Attrition Rate – A study showed that home-based workers are generally happier and more productive. In another study, home-based workers were shown to be 13.5% more productive than office workers.

Happier workers are less stressed out and able to focus better on work. There are fewer distractions and concerns to worry about. Thus, companies that integrated virtual assistants into their workforce have lower levels of attrition.

Availability of Contingencies – Another advantage of integrating virtual assistants into the work place is that it gives companies contingencies in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

An example would be inclement weather in the form of snow storms, intermittent rains or flooding. It may be difficult for some employees to report for work. Having virtual assistants onboard will assure you there will be no work interruption.

Integrating virtual assistants into the workforce will continue into the near future. As long as business remains volatile and unpredictable, integrating virtual assistants will hedge companies against economically turbulent periods.

what-tasks-should-you-outsource-to-your-virtual-assistant

What Tasks Should You Outsource to Your Virtual Assistant

If you want your business to be successful, you have to increase productivity. Trying to do everything by yourself will not get it done. You have to delegate some of the responsibilities so you can focus on activities that need your undivided attention. This is the reason why more businesses are hiring virtual assistants. But what tasks should you outsource to your Virtual Assistant?

1. Organizational Tasks

This is the primary function of virtual assistance. A business needs to organize its activities in order to perform more efficiently.

Otherwise, you could end up missing important meetings, submission dates, payments and appointments which could translate to foregone revenues or impact your business negatively. Efficient organization also leads to better time management.

Organizational tasks include:

  • E-mail filtering
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment setting
  • Follow ups
  • Phone handling
  • CRM updates

2. Support Services

Every business needs people to oversee key functions in their organization in order to keep operations running smoothly. There are the support services which are often referred to as back office work.

Here are support services you may want to outsource:

  • Customer service – If you are in retail, efficient customer service can help you retain customers.
  • Accounting – You can keep track of payroll, receivables, payables, inventory management and have financial reports ready when you need them.
  • IT – Computers, networks and websites must regularly be audited as these have a huge impact on business productivity.

3. Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion play an important function in conceptualizing strategies to have your business gain traction. There are studies to be made, strategies to be designed and implemented. Marketing and promotion requires experience, time and constant management.

Among the tasks you need to outsource would be:

  • Digital marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO
  • E-mail marketing
  • Lead generation

4. Technical Work

Entrepreneurs are talented individuals but the fact remains that they do not know everything. Even if they do most of the tasks that need to be done in a business, chances are they only have working knowledge at best.

There are technical works that have to be done and implemented for a business to maintain its growth progress. An entrepreneur may know how to do these things but they will detract his or her time from functions that deserve more attention.

Depending on the nature of your business, technical work could include the following:

  • Website design and management
  • Software development
  • Graphics design
  • Business transcription
  • Market research
  • Content marketing
  • Translation services

5. Sales

Every business relies on an effective sales team to generate revenues. Sales are the life-blood of an organization. They are the front-line people whose focus must only be on pushing your products or services.

Many businesses outsource sales to virtual assistants or freelancers because of the flexible compensation structure. You can have a strictly commission or performance based system or a hybrid which combines fixed payment and a commission.

The flexibility of the payment structure allows you to hire as many sales people as you want. This is why telemarketing has remained popular all these years.  

These are just a few suggestions on the tasks you should outsource to your Virtual Assistant. There could be others; the general idea is to outsource tasks that will allow you to improve productivity without compromising your cost parameters.

how-to-integrate-virtual-assistants-into-the-work-force

How to Integrate Virtual Assistants into the Work Force

Companies such as United Health, Dell and IBM are integrating virtual assistants or telecommuters into their respective work forces. The strategy has been so successful that the number of virtual assistants as a percentage of the work force is estimated to increase from 37% in 2015 to 50% in 2020.

Integrating virtual assistants into the work force reduces costs, improves productivity and introduces greater business flexibility. Here are 5 steps to integrate virtual assistants into your work force:

Come Up with a Development Time Table. Every development plan should have a time- table which will detail all the activities that need to be undertaken to integrate virtual assistants into the work force.

For example, if you were planning to integrate virtual assistants after 6 months your time-table could be look like this:

Month 1:

  • Prepare guidelines for selecting and recruiting employees.
  • Prepare testing materials
  • Scope out potential sources for virtual assistants
  • Designate virtual assistance management team
  • Summarize and categorize all tasks and responsibilities

Month 2:

  • Start out with 2 shifts; 4 hours each per candidate.
  • Schedule weekly Process Improvement meetings for candidates.
  • Evaluate performance of all candidates.

Recruit Prospective Candidates for Virtual Team. The first step to recruiting talent for your virtual team is acquiring talent.

You should determine the sample size of talent you need to find the required number of virtual assistants. Usually the standard for qualifying talent is 20%. Lower the percentage so you can increase the size of the sample.

For example, if you need 5 virtual assistants for your team:

5 virtual assistants / 0.15 (Qualifying Rate) = 33.33

You will need to acquire a sample size of 33 candidates in order to find 5 qualified virtual assistants.

Conduct Weekly Evaluation of Virtual Team Members. When you are trying to build up a core group of virtual assistants, you must constantly monitor their performance. You can do this by adapting the following methodologies:

  • Create and implement benchmarks or metrics
  • Create a scoring and grading system that covers work accuracy, statistics and ethics or work attitude
  • Include a self- assessment test

The cumulative scores of the evaluation tests will provide the bases for selecting your core group of virtual assistants.

Start Out with a Pilot Test Group. It is always better to start out with a conservative approach and use a small group for pilot testing. You should expect that there will be problems in the initial stages.

Pilot testing will be like putting the virtual team inside a fish bowl. You can see how they work and evaluate how the systems are holding operation together. You can pinpoint weaknesses and flaws in the system and recommend improvements to fine tune the virtual team.

Slowly Expand VA Group. Once the benchmarks and metrics have shown healthier baseline numbers, you can start taking the next step of expanding the virtual assistance group.

The number of new virtual assistants will depend on the estimated increase in the volume of work and of course, your targeted ROI. After2 quarters, you should have a better idea on the number of virtual assistants you should contract until the end of the year.

As technology continues to evolve and provides businesses with the tools to make virtual assistance work more efficient, expect more work forces to integrate virtual assistants into the fold. It is a cost effective and highly efficient strategy that will help businesses maintain their bottom-line.

How to Find the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business

How to Find the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business

The virtual assistance industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the new millennium. More companies regardless of size and scale are hiring virtual assistants to help them cope with the uncertainties of business. The question is no longer “why” but “how”. Here are 6 tips to find the best Virtual Assistant for your business:

1. Ask Yourself Why You Need a Virtual Assistant

It’s one thing to “think” you need a Virtual Assistant and another to be sure you need the services of one.

Before you actively search for a Virtual Assistant, you should be convinced without a doubt the services are essential for your business.

The Virtual Assistant can take your business to the next level. But unless you are clear on why you need one, his or her services will be under-utilized.

2. Write Down the Scope of Responsibilities

Once you’ve firmed up your need for a Virtual Assistant, write down the scope of responsibilities you want him or her to do.

This will help you narrow down your search for the type of Virtual Assistant you need for your business. If you will post job openings in online job platforms, the required scope of responsibilities should be clearly stated.

3. Sign Up at Online Job Platforms

A good area to start your search is the online job platforms that have proliferated in the Internet. These online job markets give you an opportunity to find the Virtual Assistant to meet your needs.

Online job platforms act like a market place; they match clients with potential service providers. You would need a good client profile and when you post a job, the details and requirements have to be very clear.

Among the best platforms are Elance, Guru and Freelancer.

4. Use Social Media

People don’t just use social media to post the latest dessert they ate with their coffee. They also use it to look for work and other opportunities.

There are different focus groups that you can join in social networks such as Facebook and Google Plus. These will help you connect with people who can be potential candidates of agencies that offer you services.

But LinkedIn should be your go-to social network. This is a networking site for professionals. You can get great candidates for virtual assistants through LinkedIn.

5. Check VA Websites

The Internet is home to many Virtual Assistant websites. These are agencies that provide virtual assistants to businesses.

There are many advantages to going with an agency. First, they can present you with several candidates that could meet your requirement. Second, the virtual assistants on their roster have a proven track record. And third, the agency can easily replace the Virtual Assistant if he or she does not deliver as expected.

But always conduct due diligence before initiating talks with an Internet-based Virtual Assistant agency.

6. Get Referrals

Finally, ask your friends or associates for referrals. For sure, you can find a friend who has utilized the services of a Virtual Assistant. He or she can probably refer you to an individual or an agency that can provide quality virtual assistants.

Regardless of how and where you find your Virtual Assistant, always subject them to a thorough interview and testing. While these are not guarantees, it will definitely reduce the risks of finding one that is a poor fit for your business. Eventually, you will only know if you’ve found the best Virtual Assistant during the course of the working engagement.

should-you-become-a-virtual-assistant

Should You Become a Virtual Assistant

The job of a Virtual Assistant has evolved from being a second option to a full-blown professional career. A Virtual Assistant is no longer just a person tasked to perform secretarial or personal assistant services. The industry has opened its doors to more professions; people of varied skills and backgrounds are crossing over from the brick-and-mortar world to the virtual world. But should you become a Virtual Assistant?

It’s great to have a job. You have the means to pay off the bills and support your loved ones. But often times conditions exist which make it difficult to remain grateful and appreciative of having this opportunity.

Full Time Employees or FTEs have to deal with the regular commute to work which depending on where you are in the world could be a 2 hour drive on what would normally take 30 minutes on a holiday. FTEs also have to co-exist with the realities of office culture; the distractions of politics, lack of career paths and succession planning.

It’s no wonder many FTEs feel they are stuck in a rut or in a dead-end job. In this day and age of uncertainty, it is difficult for anyone to believe 100% that they have job security.

If you can’t control the direction where your career is going, you should find a career where you can control the direction. This means, be your own boss!

Becoming a Virtual Assistant is an easy way to have a small enterprise of your own. It does not require much capital, you can work from your home and you control your own time. But are these enough reasons to become a Virtual Assistant?

Here are 3 questions you should ask yourself before making a decision to become a Virtual Assistant:

1. Are You Ready for the Grind?

The first step is always the hardest. When becoming a Virtual Assistant the first step is finding your first client. And this can be very hard.

Some people go for 6 months without landing a client. It’s not because there’s no demand; there is, but the industry can be competitive. Many companies look for experienced virtual assistants. So to land your first client, you’ll have to compromise your rates.

When you do land your first client, the focus now shifts to proving your worth. You have to consistently deliver quality work on-time and according to standards. If you can do this, the client will extend you contract and give you more referrals.

2. Can You Work With Different People?

As a Virtual Assistant, you will have clients from different nationalities. Each client will have their own approach toward business and respective guidelines. You should have the ability to adjust with the demands of every client.

You may also work with a virtual team. Often a virtual team is composed of people from other nationalities as well. You should be able to collaborate and work with everyone on the team regardless of differences in culture and beliefs.

3. Are You Prepared to Make Sacrifices?

Perhaps the biggest surprise for those who decide to become virtual assistants is the belief that you control your own time. In theory, yes but you should be able to work with the schedule demanded by your client.

If the client requests you to work during his or her office hours for closer collaboration, you may have to sacrifice time from your family. Your sleep hours may change, so again you have to make adjustments in your schedule.

A career as a Virtual Assistant can be rewarding. It certainly has its advantages over being an FTE but just like any other job, you have to work hard and stay committed to giving your best.

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4 Smart Time Management Tips for Virtual Assistants

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.