Being a Virtual Assistant, I hear from people all the time about how overwhelmed they are. In this day of technology and social media, it seems like information and things to do are coming at us from all angles. So how do you tune out the rest of the world to get through the things that you absolutely, positively have to get done?
It’s really important in my line of work, that I be organized, use my time wisely and stay on top of many different things for different people without getting overwhelmed. Here are my 5 top tips for getting what needs to be done accomplished without getting overwhelmed.
Have a master plan for the week. Make an overall plan for the week and from your weekly plan make a plan for each day. What absolutely has to get done and by when? For those items, make a non-negotiable appointment with yourself to get those completed.
Sure emergencies come up, but those should be the exception, not the rule. Leave some flex time during your day to handle those unexpected things.
If you find that too many “emergencies” come up, see “Learn to say no” below.
Block your tasks. This tip works in tandem with the tip above. Once you have your plan for the week, block time on your calendar to work on those items. If you need to work on your marketing plan for the next quarter, block some time off on your calendar and then don’t answer the phone or check email while you work on it.
This is how I accomplish all of the things that I have to do for my clients. If I’m working on a project for one client, I let all other calls go to voice mail and I ignore email until I’m finished. This way, I control my time, I don’t let other things control my day.
Use an egg timer. Do you find yourself getting sucked in to the Facebook black hole? You logged on to share something important with your followers and the next thing you know several hours have passed and you haven’t even posted your content yet. We’ve all been there. An egg timer, or any kind of online timer, is your best friend.
When you block your time to be social on social media, pick a max amount of time that you will spend sharing and commenting and set the timer for that amount of time. When it goes off, log off. And because you know you’re time is limited, you’ll be more focused on what you’re doing while you’re logged in.
Delegate. At some point in time, your business will grow and the amount of things that need to be done will be beyond your bandwidth. At that point, you need to start building a team and delegate those items that don’t bring in income or require your unique genius. Your focus needs to be on making money and doing those things in your business that only you can do.
Learn to say no. Many people, especially women, have a hard time saying no to other people’s requests. The truth is, we can’t give what we don’t have. If you’re depleted from giving all you’ve got to others, you won’t have enough for yourself. If you’re sick, burned out and ineffective, you won’t be able to help anyone else.
When it comes to business, you’ve got to put yourself first, and I don’t mean in an arrogant, narcissistic way. If you work out of your home and someone comes over unexpectedly, don’t answer the door. If you’ve made the decision to work on your book for half the day and someone calls unexpectedly to chat, don’t answer the phone. Make yourself and your business a priority.
What other tip would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below.