“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
Freedom. Flexibility. Time…lots of it!
There is no need to get up early to commute to work.
You even get paid for working at home at your own pace… while still in your jammies!
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Most virtual assistants will agree.
Being free from structure and office rules also means being vulnerable to distractions and temptation to putting off work later.
Virtual assistants know that this happens all the time.
Work still needs to be done, sooner or later.
Time management is vital to all virtual assistants or to a remote team.
Controlling one’s time spells the difference between success and failure.
If you want to continue to enjoy the perks of working from home and succeed as a virtual assistant, here are time management tips for you:
1. Plan and schedule ahead.
Control your time by planning and scheduling your day first.
Make a list of tasks you need to do and take note of how long each task will take.
You will know how many hours you have in the day to complete assignments.
Prioritize tasks according to y0ur schedule for the day.
2. Prioritize your tasks.
Virtual assistants take pride in being multi-taskers. This is well and good during certain periods but not daily.
It is possible that some tasks or aspects of it may not be given full attention, and this isn’t fair to the client.
The Eisenhower Urgent and Important Matrix, where tasks are categorized, is a good guide in prioritizing tasks:
- Important and urgent (should be done right away)
- Important but not urgent (no time pressure but still execute task well)
- Not important but urgent (can do task last but within agreed timeline)
- Neither important nor urgent (this task can be scheduled at any time, when there is free time)
3. Work, when you are most productive.
Know your body clock.
Perform important, urgent or complex tasks during the time when you are most productive, focused and alert.
Energy levels fluctuate all throughout the day.
Being aware of your personal body clock and deadlines contributes to better time management.
4. Get up early and condition your mind for the day.
There is always the temptation to “sleep in” especially if virtual assistants do not need to “clock in” for work.
Still, every minute counts, because these minutes turn into hours.
Strive to get ahead of the game and take control.
Get up at least an hour earlier to plan your day and condition your mind to focus and motivate yourself.
Try to do this until it becomes a habit.
No one can do this for you, except yourself.
5. Avoid distractions.
Find your designated work space at your home.
Let people know when you are working and cannot be disturbed.
Turn off social media notifications when you are working to avoid distractions, except for business purposes.
Separate your work space from your bedroom.
Work is work. Sleep is sleep.
6. Focus on one task at a time.
Switching from one task to another repeatedly leads to lack of focus and loss of time.
It takes a certain amount of time to regain focus.
Minimize or avoid multi-tasking, so you can give your 100% to complete a task.
7. Streamline workflow by grouping similar tasks or projects together.
Creating, writing, calculating, or executing tasks require different brain functions.
If you need to create or design, do similar assignments in the same time block.
Thus, all writing tasks are grouped together, math computations together and likewise for encoding or researching.
Though you can always switch from creating to writing to financial analysis to encoding and back in a time block, it confuses and tires the brain.
8. Take breaks to rest and clear your head.
It is quite normal to have your mind wander while working.
Losing a bit of focus means you probably need to take a break.
There is a way to help your brain to function well—the Pomodoro Technique-taking 5-minute breaks for every 25 minutes of working on a task.
This allows you to clear your head, rest a bit to regain energy to be able to focus on work again.
9. Stick to your work schedule.
Having a schedule helps plan your day so it is not wasted, and you know when to stop or end the day’s work.
Make sure to come up with an appropriate schedule that allows ample time to meet work requirements, personal errands, rest period and time off that works for you.
10. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is a natural process that all human beings go through to function well, feel energized, refreshed and ready for the day.
Lack of sleep may negatively affect decision making, memory and your productivity may suffer.
11. Eat a healthy diet.
Eating junk food, missing meals, drinking lots of coffee or even binge eating can wreak havoc on your body, especially if it becomes a habit.
Plan your meals well by including healthy food that can sustain energy like fruits, vegetables, fish and healthy fats.
Have a healthy snack, like an apple or a banana to help boost your energy, especially during crunch time.
12. Exercise daily to be more energized.
Sitting all day isn’t healthy. Some even feel numbness and pain.
Exercise should be part of a remote team’s daily routine.
It helps reduce stress, improve concentration, increases blood flow to the brain and makes your body healthy.
Just a 30-minute brisk walk alone, can release endorphins that makes one feel good.
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