The stringent competition among online service providers just got meaner. More and more people have discovered the benefits of being a virtual assistant; now they’re sparkling as newbies! Even more are venturing into providing online services, much of which are about VA work, with specialization in a particular task.
Now, why am I writing this? It’s to serve as a wake-up call that if you don’t double your efforts or learn a truly important task very fast, you won’t find gigs at all!
Thankfully, there are tried-and-proven effective ideas on how to stay on top of your game. As a VA, you can stay useful to clients and not worry about long periods of not working. Here’s seven ways to be always be productive as a virtual assistant.
1. Set healthy targets. The common mistake of newbie VAs is they take on more jogs or gigs than they could handle. Don’t aim for the bucks you get after two weeks. It’s not healthy and it would drain you after a month. Instead, set health targets. For example, work for hours in the morning; work another four hours in two blocks. That way, you remain focused and energized to accomplish things. Don’t push yourself to work more than eight hours a day. It’s best to work two part-time jobs or just one full-time VA job. Otherwise, you get tired after a few hours and fail your clients so.
2. Put on extra minutes. I like to highlight getting to work before it’s time to work. Like working ahead of your boss’ expected schedule. Why? Because you’ll be prepared and relaxed with what comes ahead. This isn’t just achieved by working ahead, but it’s the same with putting in extra hours after work. You get to review your work, you have time to learn something new and get things organized for what comes later.
3. Have an organized activity list. For everyone else, it’s called the daily to-do list. As for me, I have the weekly schedule of activities where deadlines and tasks are highlighted. The routines are kept on track and they’re simple crashed out when done. When you accomplish tasks, there’s a sense of achievement as well as knowing the extra time earned. Then you could do advance work on future tasks now. You can develop your to-do list preparation here.
4. Manage your tasks wisely. A virtual assistant doesn’t have just one task. Most of the time, it’s a combination of writing, research and office administration or customer service. Make sure you don’t jump from one to the next and on to another one. Instead, classify these tasks according to urgency and amount of time they require. Do the harder tasks on your “productive hours” and save the easier routines on more relaxed moments of the work day. Also, I’d suggest using HiTask. Suggest this very simple yet efficient project management tool to your boss. It keeps both of you on track and no flurry exchange emails are needed.
5. Seek – and accept – feedback. After a few weeks of not getting feedback, I’d be in panic. Was my work good enough? Do I need to improve in some areas? Even if my clients don’t have the habit of providing feedback, I seek it. The kinder ones don’t usually voice them out and are tolerant of minor mistakes. But still, seek criticisms – and accept them as your way of growing. Whatever forms of feedback, it will help you become a better VA.
6. Don’t be distracted. The activities that don’t contribute to your growth and production are a waste of time. But these distractions that I call “hungry-blobs” are often the most attractive part of the day. Read: Facebook, Twitter, checking emails, surfing, etc. Other forms would be objects on your desk and work station that pulls your away from focus. Discipline yourself to stay away from all these distractions. That way, you can put a 100% excellent output.
7. Have a break. As my husband would say, what good is three hours of reading and writing if tomorrow you’ll get migraines! Or worse, you strain your eyes so bad you cannot work more than 2 hours a day. Give yourself a healthy break after an hour. Walk away from the PC and drink a healthy fruit juice. Or stretch your body to refrain from getting those bagging back aches. Go outside at the middle of the work day and get a breeze of fresh air. These “breaks” would re-energize you sufficiently to go on working productively. Summing all these up would be Mike Vardy’s short but perfect article. And so suitable for us, online workers!
You’re not expected to master all seven ways to become better as a virtual assistant. But by and by – and with consistency and love for yourself, you can become more productive at work. And remember, employers like that kind of a worker. Who knows, they might just hand-out productivity bonus even it it’s not in the contract, huh?
Just do your job well and take serious note of these seven ways. You’re then good to go and stay tall and proud even with the growing competition.