Most new Virtual Assistants tend to think clients are paying for the task they have assigned. Right… but wrong at the same time. In ADDITION to the tasks you are being paid to manage for the client, you are also responsible for:
Creating and keeping deadlines related to the tasks and deliverables
Delegation of related tasks, if necessary
Meeting and setting goals as they relate to your task(s)
Making big and small decisions
Managing your time (with relation to the task, your client’s timeline and yours)
Team management, if necessary
Regardless of industry, legal structure or location, one thing is true of All Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owner - we all have a to-do List that runs a mile long. Relax, it is doable. Here's how in 3 simple steps.
Document Your Processes
Whatever stage of business you are in, I cannot overstate the value of documenting your processes. Documenting your process will be a key factor in your time management strategy. It takes time in the beginning, and will need to be reevaluated and updated as you learn and grow, but start now.
So the things you need to note when starting to document them are:
the platforms you use
the software you use
the hardware you use
each step along the way
how long each step will take
the deliverables you are responsible for (and the due dates)
the delivery method
and a list of receivables you need from a client to execute this task effectively
Task Management vs Time Management
Task Management will likely be the biggest obstacle your business faces and can often lead to issues with time management, and although they sound the same they are quite different.Task Management is the process of breaking down a project into the steps (tasks) through completion - from start to finish.
Task Management Platforms
There are a never ending option of task management platforms available to you at various price points. My absolute favorite is Asana.
Asana allows you to create projects and assign tasks to each project via a task list or board. It allows you (and your client or team) to track the progress, assign due dates and more. The free plan is more than enough for beginners. It offers templates as well as tutorials. It has calendar view, board view and list view. There is an inbox, that with some configuration, can be linked with your email account so that client task requests can be automatically sent to your workspace. Although you can add images to your boards to make your workspace more visually inspired, in my opinion, Asana works well for those who prefer to work with written lists.
User Friendliness: Easy to Medium
It's very simple to go on and create a project and a list, but to get the best out of it, it will take some time. The tutorials are helpful. Trello
Similar to Asana, Trello allows you to add projects to your dashboard and allows you to add tasks to each project. Trello allows you to add due dates, upload images, add collaborators and more. In my opinion, Trello offers a more visual experience for it's users. The free version is just fine for beginners.
User Friendliness: Easy to Medium
It's very simple to go on and create a project and a list, but to get the best out of it, it will take some time and the tutorials are not the most user friendly. Yanado
I've just recently started using Yanado. Yanado allows you much of the same options as both Asana and Trello, without ever leaving your gmail account. The free version is very basic but pretty robust. It integrates with the google suite, which is a real bonus. It allows you to create templates, add collaborators, create fields, etc.
User Friendliness: Medium
It's very simple to set up and add a project or task, however, adding templates and assigning tasks to projects is not completely intuitive. Other task management platforms you may want to consider:
Time Management on the hand has everything to do with scheduling the tasks for any and all projects on any given day. Let’s say you need to create 8 images for this project every month. You’ve already established it takes about 30 minutes to create one image. So, time management would allow you to plan your tasks for the next day/week/month by time blocking tasks.
Time blocking is simply scheduling your day in blocks of time. It is extremely useful if you have several clients on your roster who require various tasks that need to be completed by a certain date.
Pro- tips: Schedule several breaks throughout the day
Don't schedule any tasks for more than 2-3 hour time blocks
This is when you batch similar tasks together. So, for example, if I'm working on content repurposing for 4 different clients, perhaps I would batch the image searching process for all of these clients into one time block. Here's how to do this, for every project in 3 simple steps:
1. Identify and LIST the tasks you plan to tackle over the next few days
Take a moment and jot down the top 10 - 15 things that are stressing you out. Get them off of your mind and put them on the list. Resist the temptation to add vague tasks or projects (which are made up of multiple tasks). Try to be specific.
So, for example, using the example above, your list may look something like this
find images on pixaby
upload images to drive/folder
transcribe audio into google docs file
2. PRIORITIZE your task list
As you move on to this step, really take some time to think about which tasks need to be done by you. Keep in mind that while your tasks need to get done, NOT ALL OF THEM NEED TO BE DONE BY YOU. Start by sorting tasks based on urgency and importance.
A = URGENT and IMPORTANT: Schedule these first
B = NOT Urgent and IMPORTANT: Schedule these next. Try to outsource some of these.
C = URGENT and Unimportant: Outsource these tasks and schedule progress update meetings with contractors/employees.
D = NOT Urgent and Unimportant: Delete these!
3. SCHEDULE your tasks
We are all allotted the same 24 hours in a day. Taking a few minutes to schedule tasks at the start of your day and again at the end of your day to schedule your tasks will undoubtedly increase efficiency and focus, helping to meet (and exceed) goals. Knowing how much time it takes to complete tasks helps with billing, scheduling tasks, work flow and more.
Utilizing Project Planning Worksheets and/or software can help organize your schedule as well as add an element of automation to your workflow, saving you time.
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