6 Ways to Manage Your Time Better Every Day as a VA
If you are a Virtual Assistant who is working early mornings, late nights, or both trying to get it all done, it’s time to look at how you manage your time every day.
As a VA, we preach to our clients the importance of not working all hours of the day. But are we taking our own advice?
How is your VA business running? Are you finding you have enough time in your day to do your client work and your business admin?
Or are you struggling every day to get it all done?
If you constantly run to keep up, or get to the end of your day and your task list is not complete, it’s time to look at a few ways you can better manage your time.
Being in business doesn’t mean you have to work all hours – we tell our clients all the time that they shouldn’t, and yet we sometimes don’t take that advice to our own hearts.
Here are 6 tips to help you become more productive (or figure out where your time is going!):
Assess your To Do List
When you start your work day, look at what it is you need to get done. How does it look? Do you immediately know that this will be a very busy day – that you might not get it all done? That’s okay if that happens occasionally, but if it’s happening every day, you need to assess what you are putting into your calendar and how you can adjust it. What you plan for the day needs to be manageable.
Work During Business Hours
When you are running a business, you have to pick and choose what to do – and your billable work should come before everything else. With no client revenue, your business will not survive. Working during business hours instead of doing the groceries or going to Johnny’s school is important. You don’t have to work 9-5 every day, but you do need to set business hours that work for you and work during them as much as possible. Trying to work around family needs will lead to burnout faster than if you just hold certain periods of time for you to be working on business.
Block Out Your Schedule
Blocking out your schedule helps you to identify what you should be doing at what time. That doesn’t mean rigid and boring routines – but it does help you stay focused and let others know when you will get to things. Put start times and stop times in your calendar, so you know when it’s time to move on to the next task. Advise you clients what your turnaround time is for their projects. Block out personal time like meals and breaks – no eating at your desk! You will get more done, and still be able to do everything you want – business and personal.
One of the biggest issues with working from home is distractions. Sometimes it’s because there are others home with us during the day, and sometimes it’s just that no one else is watching us. We can do whatever we want! If you are not being as productive as you need to be, try switching off all distractions – notifications, social media, Netflix (!) – and see just how much you can get done in a short period of time. It’s really effective – trust me!
Get Support When You Need It
If you are working all hours of every day, look at why that is. What is taking up your time? If it is billable work, it may be time to hire a sub or two to lighten your load. It’s a great to build your business and bring in even more clients, when you get a couple of people to help you with the client work. When you are working alone, you will eventually max out the amount of work you can produce for clients. If you are underwater with bookkeeping or marketing tasks, consider getting help with those. Support is something we tell our clients is essential to grow their business, and the same is true for our own.
Even if you think you know what you need to do, a checklist is an indispensable tool in our businesses. When you have a a repeatable task, set up a checklist for it so you don’t have to think about what to do next. You will free up very valuable brain space when you just need to consult a checklist to complete your tasks. And you can use a checklist when you bring in other support to help you.
When you work alone, no one is there to make sure you get everything done and don’t fall off track. You need to do it yourself.
By implementing simple things like scheduling, focus and checklists, you can help yourself get more done in a shorter period of time.
When you are starting your VA business, time management seems less important because you don’t have a full client load. As you get busier, you will need to manage many more tasks every day.
I always find myself dropping balls when I have less to do, not more. When I have lots of things to get done, I manage my time much better.
Setting up good practices now is a good habit to get into, so when you get really busy you already have great habits!
If you want more lessons on time management, check out my Productivity videos on my YouTube channel. There are more than 50 free training videos for Virtual Assistants there!