If you are not working with regular routines in your VA business, and instead handling everything ‘as it comes up’, you are probably wasting time and risking burnout.
Routines are an excellent way to bring regularity into your VA business.
All business owners have lots of balls in the air, and it’s important to manage them well regularly, so none of them drop.
One of the best ways you can manage your ever-changing workload is to implement regular routines that can help you to keep on top of what needs doing, prioritize it accordingly, and get it done.
Routines improve your productivity and efficiency – and they don’t have to be boring.
First, here are some ‘don’t do this’ tips for you:
Don’t open your email first thing in the morning. Save the first hour of every day for you. Opening your email as soon as you sit down to work means that you are letting others set your priorities. Set your own priorities for the day and then tackle your email.
Don’t leave notifications open all day. There is no reason for others to interrupt your work flow when you work alone. Schedule times during the day to check in on things that you would normally get interrupted by, and keep those ‘check’ times short so you can stay on task and get your work done.
Don’t forget to take breaks. Working all the way through the day is not productive, and it’s not good for your health either. Be sure to schedule in regular breaks (they can be short!) so you can come back to your desk refreshed.
Knowing what not to do is one thing – making sure you aren’t doing it is another. Are you guilty of any of these things?
Here are 5 routines that can help you start working more efficiently today:
1. Beginning of Week Routine
At the beginning of each week, set your schedule for the coming week. What do you plan to do, and when? Using your calendar to block out time for what you need to get done is an excellent way to preserve that time before the day arrives. Book in 30 minutes to lay out your week and hold those times sacred!
2. Morning Routine
First thing each morning, set a series of things that you need to do for your business - that might be checking your bank account, or doing some business correspondence/follow up, or answering your social media messages. Book in 30 minutes every morning before you start serving others to look after your own business.
3. Midday Routine
Midway through your day, create a routine that helps you stay focused and sharp. That might be checking in on your email or social media platforms – for a scheduled amount of time (again, I suggest 30 minutes!). But maybe it’s just getting out for a quick walk, having lunch away from your desk, or reading a book. Clearing your mind of the things that you have been working on is important to come back to your desk refreshed.
4. End of Day Routine
Before you pack it up for the day, be sure to set up your task list for the next day. It is easiest to prioritize what you need to do when you are not under pressure to do everything ‘now’. By setting your priorities for the following day, you can move and shift things around so that your workflow is efficient.
5. End of Week Routine
At the end of each week, take a few moments to reflect on what you have done. Reporting and analytics are great things to do at the end of the week – they show you what is working for you, and doing this on Fridays helps you close off the week knowing just how your business is doing.
Scheduling time in your day (even just a little) every day also helps you to avoid ‘fitting in’ managing your business around your client work. You must make your own business a priority, just like your clients work.
Managing your business well means looking at it every single day – which many VAs do not do.
Putting routines in place doesn’t have to be boring – in fact all you are doing is putting a framework in place to look after very important areas in your business.
Staying organized and prioritizing what you need to get done helps you become more efficient, and more successful.
And routines are a great way to break your day into regular activities. Try one or all of these routines for yourself – you’ll look forward to it once you get it working for you!
If you need some more help getting organized or trying to manage your time better, check out my Work Smarter: Time Management for VAs program here. You will learn 10 action steps you can take now to start managing your time better. Time is money when you are a VA, so make yours work for you.
About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.