time management for virtual assistants Archives - Global Alliance of Virtual Assistants (GAVA)

How to Prioritize Your VA Tasks So You Get More Done

How to Prioritize Your VA Tasks So You Get More Done

Prioritizing your task list is a good idea when you have a lot of things to get done.

What kind of system do you use to keep your VA business organized?

As a Virtual Assistant, we often have many people throwing tasks and things to do our way – and that can get out of hand very quickly.

And of course, the squeaky wheel often gets the grease – so sometimes the pushier clients try to tell us when we need to do our work.

The more organized you can be yourself, the more you can manage your own workload and prioritize your own tasks.

It is important when you are working with multiple clients that you are the one who prioritizes things, and not the clients.

Being organized takes practice and experience, and learning some techniques to do it better is always a good thing!

1. Keep a master list.

Start by writing down everything you need to get done. A master list is a really good tool to get things out of your head and help you decide what needs to be done, and when. Take your master list and break it into daily work items as necessary, but that master list is important to start with.

2. Work tidy.

Are you a piler or a filer? How do you keep things organized on your desk or computer? Working tidy is a good concept – only keep what you are working on in front of you, and put away everything else. If you don’t use paper, then think of this in terms of web browser tabs – close everything you are not using so you can concentrate on what you are doing. When you focus on just the task at hand, you will work more efficiently.

3. Always be on time.

When you are providing support for a lot of different people, you need to really use your calendar to keep things on track. Set appointments and task start times, and make sure you hold to them. Use meeting agendas to keep them running on time. When you start everything on time, that is the beginning of excellent time management.

4. Respect your stop times.

As much as start times are important, stop times are even moreso. You have to make a plan to complete a task in a certain period of time, so that you can be the most productive. If you are supposed to stop working on something in an hour so you can move along to something else, do that. Our brain can work much faster than we think – if we set an hour to get something done, we can do it. If you leave the ‘stop’ time open, you can get distracted and take longer to complete everything you do.

5. Use a prioritization matrix.

To help you decide what you should do first, or next, consider using a prioritization matrix. There are many varieties of them, so find one that works for you. A sample one could use the parameters Urgent -> Important -> Can Wait -> Doesn’t Need to Be Done. Not everything is urgent, but important things need to get done before those that can wait. When you identify the urgency of each task you can put it in your calendar to do at the right time. And definitely don’t forget to remove those things that don’t really need to be done to free up your time for the important and urgent stuff.

If you need some 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.

Just One Hour Can Make a Difference in Your VA Business

It is often said that time is a non-renewable resource, especially in your Virtual Assistant business where time is money.

If you waste an hour - whether it's an hour a day, a week or a month, you could be wasting valuable time.

Many VAs bill their clients by the hour, so it stands to reason that they are hyper-aware of time - but are still not always able to control it well.

When we don't have a lot of clients, we waste time doing research and setting up our website ... usually more time than we need to.

When we do get clients coming in, we often run from client task to client task and don't pay much attention to our own admin or marketing tasks.

What if I told you an hour can make a difference in your business?

It's true.

When you get really clear on what you need to get done - and you focus on just that, you can actually stretch that hour of time into what seems like a lot longer period of time.

Here are a few ways an hour can make a difference in your VA business:

One Hour a Day

I recently attend an event where Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Success Principles) was speaking. He shared one of his daily routines - he spends 20 minutes a day reading, 20 minutes a day meditating, and 20 minutes a day exercising. That's an hour. You may not think you have a spare hour, but if you realize that he says his best ideas come when he quiets his mind, the you realize what great advice this is. If you can find 20 minutes a day for each of these activities (and really, who can't?), you can set yourself up for Jack Canfield kind of success.

One Hour a Week

I am reading a book called Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz as part of my business book club. It is about how to put your business on autopilot (so to speak). There is a big framework, of course, but one of the most important pieces of information I have gotten from this book is to spend an hour a week 'designing' your business. That means looking at your numbers, considering your goals, and analyzing your strategies. Many VAs never do this, but it is so valuable. You want to make sure that everything you are doing is leading you towards your goals. Focusing on the design for just one hour every week is an excellent way to keep on top of your goals.

One Hour Whenever You Need It

I often tell this story about my cousin Justin. He gave me some of the best business advice I've ever heard (and he hates it when I credit him, but I do anyway). He told me once that if you feel like you are overwhelmed and too busy, take an hour and spend it in your project management system. Look for things that can be done more efficiently, delegated, removed completely, or completed quickly. When you have too much to do the sense is to run from one thing to another but it's much more effective to take another look at what you have on your list. It works, I tell ya! I do it all the time. Try it.

An hour is an important increment of time to Virtual Assistants. Many of us bill our clients hourly.

But don't forget about your own business. It's important to make sure that you are taking good care of yourself, and your plans.

Whether you take an hour right now, every day, or every week, you'll be heading in the right direction!

For more tips on time management, check out my free VA training videos on Youtube. There are more than 50 free videos there 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 a 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