One of the most important requirements – if not the most important one – for being an outstanding Virtual Assistant is to master time management. Knowing how to effectively manage your time, is key to increase productivity. It will ultimately improve your overall performance and if you are the ones who think “Can time management be learned?”, for us the answer is YES. With the right tools and motivation, you will nail it. In this article, we give a list of 7 tips to master time management. Using these time management techniques help us achieve goals as virtual assistants.
We know everyone is different and that is why we would like to share what has worked for us. We think the steps below will help you succeed or maybe improve your time management skills. This will result in an increase in productivity, which is basically achieving your goals. So, let us dive in.
7 Tips to help you master Time Management and help you achieve goals
We love lists! Start writing down all the activities you need to finish for this week. For this step just focus on the things you need to do. This step is what we could call a “braindump”.
If you want to go deeper, you could try organizing steps for each task when they will take more than a day so you can check your progress marking off the completed ones. This also helps you to see how time management reduces stress, motivating you to keep working hard because you feel you are accomplishing your workload.
It does not matter if your organization skills are not your strength or even if you are a big fan of lists, our bonus tip here for you is to try project management websites or apps like Trello when working on your to-do-list. It is great to organize your entire life. Reminders app on your phone could be another option but if you love visuals, Trello is the one for you.
Define a clear start and end time (or date) for each activity, based on how long you think it will take you to finish each of the tasks in the previous list. We recommend you to be realistic when establishing task time duration. Nobody knows how fast you can finish something better than you can, so give your best estimate even if it is something you have never done. Once you have established times, you can continue with the next step…
First things first. Define what you need to finish first because the deadline is closer or to continue with the next step in a project. Deadlines is the key here because someone else – your customer for example – could be waiting for you to finish some activities so he/she can continue with his/her next task. Those must be your top priority.
Now you need to distribute your to-do-list per day during the week. Based on the deadlines and priority tasks you have been working on previously, you can organize everything on your daily agenda. Remember to include breaks and me time to balance your life and be as accurate as possible.
5.- BE REALISTIC
Let me explain this with an example. If you know that “Booking flight tickets” could take you 30 minutes, then do not schedule it for 10 minutes. The last thing you want to do is to start your schedule with the wrong foot. One possible option is to think of three scenarios. First, the worst-case scenario “how long it will take to complete this task if everything goes wrong?”. Then a realistic scenario “how long it really takes to complete the task?” – This is 30 minutes from our example. Finally, the optimistic scenario “how long will it take to complete the task should all do just fine?” – This could be the 10 minutes on our example. Make a weighted average of those three numbers and the final number will give you a fair indication of how long you should book for your task.
If you just stay with the optimistic scenario, then something happens (website not working, problems with the credit card, important phone calls to attend, etc.) and you cannot finish the task, you will feel frustrated and disappointed. For that reason, we recommend you not to get frustrated
6- DON’T GET FRUSTRATED
Sometimes inevitable things show up and interrupt our fantastic planning. Just breathe and do not be disappointed for not finishing things and achieving goals when you needed. No worries, we can handle it and take us to our last (but not least) point…
7.- RESCHEDULE ASAP!
As soon as you know you won’t be able to finish something on time take five minutes during your break or when you are not tight with your time to have a look on your schedule and reorganize it a little bit to squeeze that additional time you need to finish that activity and keep working. Do not let you down for this kind of things; it happens all the time to everyone. Think about this keyword: Resilence.
Final Thoughts on time management to achieve goals:
Yes, all this might sound like a lot of work but, to be honest, it is not. It is more about practice, set up your best practices and that is all. Probably it would take you longer the first time, but then it is just an update every week. In the end, it is all done for a good purpose. Mastering time management will ultimately help you to effectively achieve goals.
My last bonus tip is enjoying the journey! Do your to-do-list while taking some snacks, or a coffee, relax in your couch with all your time management tools at your hand and let everything flows.
Time management can also be referred to as planning, and as you could see that is the key here. It may take some of your time, but it will save you more. You will see the results with your productivity increase and that is the magic! We hardly recommend you give it a go, but if after a trial period you think planning is not for you, let us know and in A3L Virtual Assistants we know the best tools to handle your to-do-list.
We are finishing this week already so use a couple of minutes of your Sunday night to try our time management recipe this week and tell us next Friday if it worked for you.
See you in a bit!