When I first started out as virtual assistant I struggled with time management. After all, I had always been the employee, never the employer. As a business owner, I quickly realized that the buck stops with me and if I don’t keep track of things, i.e. not practicing good time management, I was cheating myself out of money. I cannot stress how important it is to properly manage your time. Here’s a few tips from my personal experiences.
Schedule Your Time: Do you have a specific schedule or scheduled time in which you get your work completed? If not, you will find yourself in your office every waking moment and spending less time with your family. Schedule your family time, break time and work time. Don’t keep the schedule in your head, but write it out and post it. Post the schedule for you AND your family to see. More importantly, stick to it (especially the scheduled family time). An additional perk to scheduling your time is that not only will you feel less guilty about family time, but also you will find yourself to be more productive during your scheduled work time. This takes time, but stick with it!
Keep Lists: Start making lists and writing things down. Yep, it actually helps. If you are like me, you tend to forget things, not because they hold little importance to you, but because they just slip your mind. Keep a small notepad in your pocket and write things down. Even at your desk…keep a list. In keeping lists you will spend less time looking for a client’s task request or trying to remember what it was you were supposed to do.
Egg Timers and MS Outlook: I recently read a post in which the author commented on using an egg timer to keep track of her time. Though I loved the idea, personally, I needed a little more something, and then it hit me like a double-whammy. Why not use what I already have?!!! With that, I started scheduling my time in MS Outlook on the calendar like you would when you have an actual face to face with a client. The most important part is to set the reminder, allow the calendar’s features to work for you like the egg timer would. Something new I started doing with MS Outlook is that when I make an ‘appointment’ on my calendar for a client, I add the details of what is needed to be done in that time period.
Working from home does not mean you have to work every available minute. Utilizing these tips, though, will help you get a handle on your schedule and, in doing so, help increase your overall productivity. Doing so will help you actually have MORE time with your family. Who knew structured time could actually give you more flexibility?