10 Time Saving Tips from a Virtual Assistant Who Knows that Time is Precious!
When running a business time is perhaps your most precious resource. And more often than not it just seems to run away - leaving you, at the end of a day/week/month/year thinking ‘where did all the time go?’.
I’ve put together a list of my top 10 time saving tips which can help you form good habits, ensuring you make the most of the time you have and enabling you to be more productive throughout your busy working days.
1. Remove distractions
The first is perhaps the easiest. Simply remove anything that prevents you from focussing on what you should be achieving.
Turn your phone off, steer well clear of social networks, unsubscribe from mailing lists your never read so you’re not distracted by unnecessary emails. Clear your desk - I find it quite rewarding sometimes to remove everything but the bare essentials - ensuring you can focus clearly on what needs to be done.
2. Handle things once
This is a great way of ensuring things get done. When you receive an email, letter or voicemail, don’t open/listen to them until you’ve made the time to deal with them at that point, either by filing and adding to a ‘to do’ list, or by replying/resolving there and then or simply binning - depending on the importance of the item.
Don’t let things pile up around you - dealing with each task in a timely and efficient manor like this will ensure that everything gets done and you might even find your head a little clearer, without the constant thoughts about stuff left undone!
3. Set goals and make them specific
Being precise with your aims and objectives ensures you can know when a task is 100% complete. For example, ‘tidy up office’ is a bit vague - but ‘file paperwork on desk’ and ‘empty the bin’ are far more specific tasks which are clearly ‘done’ or ‘not done’.
Making lists is great too. Being able to physically cross something off a list can bring great satisfaction and spur you on to complete whatever comes next!
4. Don’t multitask
It has been pretty much proven that multitasking doesn’t save any time whatsoever. It takes time for your brain to adjust from one job to another, so trying to do more than one thing at once will actually end up taking longer than working on individual tasks.
5. Get help with administrative tasks
This is really where the help of a virtual assistant really comes into it’s own. Getting help with the mundane everyday business tasks of invoicing, letter writing, chasing payments, following up with clients and so on can free up much of your time for more vital business tasks - the things which will drive your business forwards.
6. Do the worst thing first
If there’s something on your ‘to do’ list which you’re dreading, chances are you’ll draw out the preceding tasks in order to delay having to do the thing you dislike. So, instead of avoiding it, do it first. You’ll find it’s soon done and you can get on with the more enjoyable and rewarding tasks without having the thought of tackling the worst thing hanging over your head.
7. Make good use of waiting time
We all have to wait - for transport, at the doctors, in queues etc. So, if it’s appropriate and you know you’re going to be waiting in advance, why not go prepared with something to do in that waiting time. It could simply be catching up with your social media or replying to emails, but if you can get it done whilst you would otherwise be doing nothing, that’s some time saved later on!
8. Automate as much as you can
Whether it’s paying bills, doing the shopping (online, of course!) or something else, if it can be automated, it should be!
9. Get into regular habits
If there are certain things you have to do every week, or even every day, why not set a specific time slot for them. This way you’ll know that every Monday morning is ‘catch up on email’ time and every Thursday afternoon is ‘blog writing time’ for instance. This way, you can be mentally prepared well in advance and you know that those tasks will (or at least should!) get done in the time allowed.
10. Plan as far in advance as you can
Planning can feel like a waste of time. After all, things can change, and do change so easily. But, planning in advance gives you a better overview of everything you may have to handle, ensuring you can manage your time better and fit new tasks in and around the existing ones with greater control and less uncertainty
11. So this is my ‘10% extra free’: call me!
Why not give me a call (01947 811272) and find out exactly how I can help free up your time - you’d be surprised at how effective using a Virtual Assistant can be at enabling you to focus on your key business tasks without some of the distractions and everyday business tasks getting in the way.