We all know the phrase “time is money” but if you’re a small business owner, like myself, I bet you think it really hits the nail on the head!
As a virtual PA with multiple clients’ workloads to juggle, effective time management is essential. I’ve worked as PA for many years and have a few favourite strategies for staying on top of everything:
- Plan ahead and prioritize. Whatever you do, don’t start your workday without a clear plan of what needs doing. Spend a bit of time the night before, or first thing in the morning to put together a prioritized to-do list. I always use the following criteria to help me:
- Important and urgent: these tasks go straight to the top of my list!
- Important but not urgent: next on the list, but I won’t stress if they don’t get done that day
- Urgent but not important: delegate if possible! If not, then I schedule in as little time as possible to get them done
- Not urgent and not important: these can wait until next week.
Complete the most important and urgent tasks first. Once they’re done, the day has already been productive!
- Once you have your prioritized to-do list – block out time in your calendar for each task.
- Then, cut out the distractions! We all do it – spend too much time on social media, online shopping or participating in the group chat! Even work emails can be a distraction. It’ll take a lot of will power, but try turning off your phone and emails in order to get things done. Rather than always being available, block out some time for responding to emails, and try to keep the online shopping for lunchtimes!
- Make waiting productive: slow train journeys, waiting rooms, wherever you are – technology makes it easy to work wherever you are. Your phone or tablet can help you stay on top of things. Make sure your devices are always sufficiently charged – this always catches me out which is why I invested in a portable mobile phone charger to use in emergency situations!
- Say no! Don’t take the juggling act too far. Only take on work that you know you have time to do well.
Last but not least: delegation. It’s one of the hardest things to do – but no matter how small your business is, you don’t have to be a one-man band. It’s important to let other people carry some of the workload. Outsourcing or delegating will relieve you of the tasks you’re better off leaving to someone else, so you can make the most of the time that you have.