If you are a busy entrepreneur, finding time to complete all your tasks can be difficult. You may also find that some of your tasks require more attention than others, and there are always new projects that must be completed. Adding a virtual assistant (VA) can help you manage all of these matters; however, only if the two of you have a working schedule in place.
What is working schedule?
This is a plan that outlines the times when an individual or group of individuals will be working, including the working schedule hours they will be available for work and when they will take breaks or perform other activities. Working schedules can be created for various purposes, including managing employees’ time, ensuring adequate staffing levels, and improving productivity.
Plus, these schedules can be created for various time frames, including daily, weekly, or monthly. Working schedules can be structured in multiple ways, including setting work hours, rotating shifts, or showing flexible schedules. Also working schedules can also include time for specific tasks, such as meetings, training sessions, or breaks. Working schedules can be created for individuals, teams, or entire organizations. Such schedules are often used in conjunction with time and attendance tracking systems, thus monitoring attendance and ensuring compliance with company policies.
By having a clear and organized working schedule, individuals and organizations can improve their productivity and efficiency, reduce stress and confusion, and provide a clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities.
Define your working schedule clearly
Having a clear vision of what you want from your virtual assistant − and knowing how much time they’ll have available each week − will make it much easier for both parties to understand what’s expected from each other. Here are some tips for setting up an effective working schedule with your virtual assistant:
Define what you need
To enable yourself to define what you need, you must consider various factors. This is to make sure that your schedule is both suitable and effective. Therefore, consider these points:
Set your priorities
To assist you in better allocating your time and resources, you must decide which tasks are most critical, assigning your time to these.
- First, prioritize your tasks according to importance. For example, if two different projects must be completed simultaneously, but one is more urgent than the other (e.g., an article due tomorrow vs. an article due next week), you should complete the more urgent project first. This will benefit your business more than completing the less urgent project simultaneously (unless other reasons doing so would help you).
- Second, perhaps even more critical − prioritize according to urgency: if something must be done quickly, but not necessarily right away, put it higher on your list so as not to forget about it while working on other matters!
Have realistic expectations − time is limited
To avoid being overwhelmed and, worse, overcommitted (which can lead to quality issues), you must work out how much time, realistically, is needed to complete a task.
Consider your mental and physical needs
An average person can only be productive for four hours a day. There are ways of stimulating the brain to be effective for more hours a day; however, that would involve proper energy management. The key, thus, is to allocate time for self-care, exercise, and rest. Applying such measures will make you and your virtual assistant more productive, and you will have a better work schedule.
You must remember that even if you have a solid working schedule, this may need to change due to various factors, such as personal commitments, emergencies, etc.
Have a routine
Having a routine can assist you in extending your energy and giving yourself a better quality of life and work. Moreover, you will ultimately achieve more from your working schedule.
Research your VA’s previous experience and credentials
Before you begin to work with a virtual assistant, it’s essential to do your research. You want to learn as much about their experience and credentials as possible.
Having references from previous clients who have worked with the virtual assistant in question is also helpful. This will give you an idea of what they’re like to work with and how they handle various situations.
You should look into whether or not this person is a member of any professional associations (such as the International Association for Time Management) or whether they hold certifications related to their industry (such as Project Management Professional). If they do, ask them what makes those certifications unique compared to others in the field.
Finally, ensure that your virtual assistant has the special skills or expertise relevant to your project before signing them up!
It is most important when hiring a virtual assistant to set clear boundaries. You’ll want to ensure that they understand precisely what the job entails and their responsibilities so there are no surprises later on.
You should also outline what your business does (and doesn’t do) in terms of its products or services, for instance, how much time it takes for each task, etc., so that there aren’t any misunderstandings later.
This can be achieved by referring back to your job description and having conversations with potential candidates before deciding which one best suits your needs.
Set up a communication plan with your VA to keep projects moving smoothly
Now that your virtual assistant is set up, it’s time to get them started on the right foot. The best way to do this is during the onboarding process. You should set up a communication plan with them so that everyone knows how they can reach out and what they should expect in return.
Here are some tools that will help:
A messaging app for teams or businesses allows users to create private channels. Here they can easily communicate with one another and share files and documents. You will not have to worry about losing them in an email chain (because let’s be honest here − there are so many emails. You will want to keep your emails, storing them as confidential information).
This collaboration and communication tool integrates the various Microsoft products, including Office 365, into one. It works similarly to Slack, offering file sharing and real-time messaging.
This communication tool has a strong focus on asynchronous communication, reducing interruptions. It offers real-time messaging, file-sharing, and integration with other devices; and is designed to encourage thoughtful focused communication.
This is a team communication tool that underscores simplicity and ease of use. It offers real-time messaging, file sharing, and task management and has a user-friendly interface.
This is a team communication and collaboration platform that underlines security and privacy. It offers real-time messaging, file sharing, and integration with other tools and has various security features to protect sensitive data.
Make use of checklists, templates, and scripts
If you want a functioning working schedule, create checklists, templates, and scripts for specific activities that must be repeated frequently. Checklists are great for tasks that must be completed regularly.
You can create these in advance, then simply email your virtual assistant the checklist, giving instructions on tasks to be accomplished. Templates are also helpful when there are documents that must be created regularly (such as membership agreements).
The bottom line about setting up a working schedule with your VA
The goal is to establish a working schedule with a virtual assistant, ensuring this runs smoothly and efficiently. To do this, define the problem before you start on a solution. Set goals before you begin working with your virtual assistant. Don’t worry about other people’s goals − be ambitious, but stay realistic.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and hire a virtual assistant, you have all the tools to make it a success. This means setting clear expectations, creating checklists and templates for recurring tasks, and establishing communication plans with your VA.
Once such matters have been taken care of, you can feel confident that your relationship will run smoothly from the start (researching candidates) through the finish (setting up a working schedule).