It’s easy to get overwhelmed as a virtual assistant when you’re juggling a bunch of clients and projects at once. Sometimes you have a to-do list a mile long and you don’t know how you’ll get to it all.
Not only that, you might have other responsibilities, like kids, which reduces your work hours. That means if you want to be productive and get things done you HAVE to be efficient.
Below I’ve gathered my top productivity tips. Try them out and see which ones work for you!
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HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER:
1) Choose a project management app and use it.
Everything in life, especially VA work, is soooo much easier when you’re organized.
Choose one and read up on how to use it. Then use it! If you find you don’t click with it, try another!
2) Know when you’re most productive and do your hardest tasks then.
I am not a morning person. At all. Mornings are not the time for me to do my hardest work, so instead, I take that time to wake up slowly, maybe do a little housework, and start off with easier tasks to give my brain a chance to warm up.
After I’m awake I like to tackle the tasks that require the most energy because by the end of the day my energy is low.
You night owls out there might relate to the need of waking up slowly, or you might be a morning person who loves jumping into the big projects early and taking it easy in the afternoon.
Pay attention to when you feel most energetic. Keep a journal of your energy levels if you need to. Experiment with your schedule until you find a workflow that feels natural and productive.
3) Do the important things early.
If you struggle to find time for things that grow your business like blogging, education, or working on a form of passive income, take some time early in your workday to work on it. That way, you’ll make progress early, which is super motivating!
Those tasks are important, but they tend to fall to the wayside because unlike client work, no one is waiting on us to finish those tasks. Knock them out early!
4) Ask questions.
If you aren’t clear on part of a client project, ask right away. That way, you won’t be waiting for an answer or trying to figure out the answer on your own. Get really clear on your tasks when you receive them, and the task will go a lot smoother.
5) Focus in short bursts.
Working from home requires a LOT of focus because there are always a million other things competing for your attention like kids, pets, chores, etc. Also, our brains can only focus for about 50 minutes before we need to take a break and do something else.
Try working for a solid 50 minutes and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Shut the office door, turn off the phone and computer notifications, and anything else you can think of to keep your attention on your work.
When the 50 minutes is over, take a 5-10 minute break to do something else, preferably something active. Get up and move around, get away from the computer for a few minutes, then sit down for another round. Take a longer break after every two or three rounds.
6) Batch it.
Ohhhhh, how I love batching. When I first learned the meaning of batching the heavens parted and angels started to sing! As you can see I geek out about productivity hacks and this is a biggie, people!
Batching is basically grouping similar tasks together.
For instance, let’s say you’re writing blog posts for your website. Instead of writing one post, formatting it on your website, creating a graphic, and publishing it, you would write 5 articles at one time then format all 5 at one time, create 5 graphics at one time and then schedule the articles to published once a week…at one time.
Batching reduces task switching, which can slow us down and make us tired and unproductive. Going from one different task to another is an energy suck. Batching keeps us focused on the same task over and over and gives our brain a little break. You can use this trick for your work, your client work, or even personal tasks like cooking.
7) Bookmark it.
Do you use your internet browser’s bookmark feature? If not, it can really save some time!
I create a bookmark folder for each client then add their website, apps, project management hub, social media sites, etc as sub-folders so that when I’m working on their business everything is quick and easy to find.
I also create bookmarks for the sites I visit most for my business.
8) Use LastPass.
If you’re logging into clients’ sites you’ll want to keep their passwords in a safe place like LastPass. Not only will their info be safe, but LastPass will make it easier (and quicker) to login to their sites (and yours too!)
It’s much better than fumbling around looking for your username and password on a piece of paper somewhere or clicking “forgot my password” again!
I hope these tips help you become more focused, organized, and happier as a VA! Working at home for yourself can be distracting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few tricks (and practice), being your own boss can be the most rewarding thing ever!