Time is our most precious resource. We all know this, but yet many of us do little to maximise our time management or to learn how to be more productive.
I’m sure that you, like me, have done time management classes in the past. I’ve done them, tried out techniques but nothing really stuck with me.
My solution was to work longer hours, keep taking on more tasks, never saying no and eventually burning out. And that’s no good. It’s no good to me, my health, my family and I know as a busy business owner, it’s no good to you either.
Any time matrix will point you in the direction of 4 quadrants – do, delete, delegate or defer. I fully agree and subscribe to that, but for me what is missing is a strata of knowledge and self awareness.
Because what I have learned, over the years, is that without this knowledge and self-awareness we don’t have the CONTEXT in which to make the decisions as to whether to do, defer, delegate or delete something.
The Missing Link To Better Decisions
That knowledge is based on values, the roles we have in life and the priorities we set ourselves. All set in the context of goals, dreams and aspirations.
Part of what I work with, when I’m coaching clients, is to work out these elements. I fundamentally believe that we cannot make good decisions without answering these questions. And if we don’t have the answers to these questions, how can we possibly know how to manage our time effectively?
I realise that many people go through life aimlessly, wandering, working to someone else’s drumbeat. So let me ask you this.
What is your flame?
What is your wax?
The Burning Candle
Imagine a candle burning. The flame is all the stuff you love to do. It lights you up. You can’t wait to get to it and you get lost in your bubble of happiness when working on the these things.
On the other hand, you’ve got the wax. The stuff that you procrastinate on. The tasks you put off or don’t do, even though you know you need to and they are important.
Why not take a page and put a line through the middle. Put it somewhere that’s readily available and start making lists.
Take heed of your flames, i.e. the stuff you love to do and list these tasks and actions out on one side of the sheet.
On the other column, note down all the tasks that drain you, zap your energy and don’t fill you with joy. These are the tasks that make you procrastinate, fill you with dread and basically you’ll find anything else to do before knuckling down to do them.
There’s so much to discuss around time and how we manage it better, which I’ll delve into in future blogs and podcasts, but for now I wanted to take you on a little journey.
Enter the Virtual Assistant
This is a journey that involves having a personal assistant in your life.
What if you were to outsource these ‘wax; tasks to someone who could do them quicker, better, faster and cheaper than you?
Yes cheaper…your time is valuable and the best value and use of your time is doing the things that light you up.
Just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean you should be the person doing it.
With that in mind, I reached out to Virtual Assistant Ilaria Eugenia to get an idea of the tasks that she helps her clients with as a virtual assistant.
Different virtual assistants can specialise in different areas, so it’s important to know what tasks you want to delegate and outsource and make sure the skills align for best results.
Ilaria is a member of the Society of Virtual Assistants in Ireland (SVAI). You can click here to listen to my interview, on the NetworkMe Podcast, with Catherine Tobin who founded the SVAI and get her advice on choosing the right VA for your business needs.
To give you some examples, Ilaria can help with:
GENERAL BUSINESS TASKS
- Management of Your Email Inbox: Responding to all the emails. Implementation of a system to organise your inbox. This is the most time-consuming task, according to Ilaria. Outsourcing means that the VA
a) she flags the emails you have to respond to
b) she creates folders to organise your inbox
c) she responds on your behalf on recurrent queries (quotations, info on your services/products, reminders for appointments or expiring subscriptions…)
d) she creates templates for frequently asked questions.
2. Calendar Management: Ilaria arranges and reschedules appointments; creates and sends calendar invites with links; time blocks adequate time for travelling; organises group meetings and finds suitable dates.
3. Contracts: She drafts contracts and proposals for your clients and sending them to you signature-ready.
4. CRM System Management: Sets up clients’ accounts in the database; onboards and offboards them.
5. Invoicing & Payments: Business owners often forget to get paid. A VA can send invoices, send and set up reminders, chase payments and set up recurring payments for subscriptions.
6. File System Development: Tidying up and organising the filing system or the cloud storage (create folders, create a filing system, move the document to the related folders; list the folders with their related link for an easy solution)
7. Drafting Presentations in a professional manner; creating graphics for brochures, presentations, proposals.
8. Running Errands on behalf of the clients: finding collaborators, doing research online, setting up a referral system or a review system.
9. Helping with GDPR Compliance – deleting data and documents, complying with the legislation, following the legal guidelines or a Data Protection Officer’s guidelines.
TECHY TASKS TO STREAMLINE YOUR WORKLOAD
- Managing Client’s Database: Create CRM (customer relationship management); updating databases; select dormant clients; use CRM to implement the client’s experience, import client’s data.
2. Ezine Marketing Management: Set up mailing lists and sending out recurring emails to engage with new, old and potential clients.
3. Finding and Setting up the Best Software or Tools to streamline the workday and making it leaner, e.g. online payments, online booking systems, online appointment scheduler, online software for sharing passwords; online bookkeeping systems.
- In-person Events: venue sourcing, managing quotations for the revenue and all the supplying, helping with menu drafting, looking after the catering, decorations and flowers, sending invites, managing VIP list, collecting RSVPs, booking hotels and flights, gadgets or presents for attendees, look after all the payments for the event, create and manage the social media page for the event, post-event management: feedback, invite for next year, wrap up with the venue
- Online Events: set up online events, create and manage the social media page for the event, manage Q&A session, manage the waiting room, and follow up after the event (survey, final takeaways,…)
You can reach out to Ilaria at the following details:
You can find out more about Ilaria’s portfolio of services here. It might be a good time to book in a discovery call too!
Want More News on Productivity?
If you would like to get more ideas on productivity, you can read these blogs:
Book a Discovery Call With Me
If you’d like to book a discovery call with me to find out how we could work together, you can book a discovery call here.