Working as a Virtual Assistant has many privileges. You get to work at home, manage your own time and you do not have to deal with the hassles of the daily commute. But these privileges can be a source of distraction. Here are 3 tips on how to stay focused as a Virtual Assistant.
1. Set Your Schedule for the Week.
Before you set your schedule for the week, you must commit to it and this happens at the end of the previous week’s shift.
Some clients purposely schedule a weekly re-cap with their Virtual Assistant to address unresolved issues, pending concerns and problems that may come up in order to find immediate resolution.
If your client does not schedule weekly re-caps, take it upon yourself to evaluate the work week that was. Review your tasks and see which ones were not completed and determine the underlying conditions.
Next, review the list of upcoming tasks and prioritize these in order. Always double-check deadlines and see if you are falling behind. Finally, plot down next week’s agenda on the calendar.
Once this agenda has been noted, leave some room for adjustment. Deadlines can always change. Most importantly, commit to the schedule.
2. Only Use Work-Approved Technology.
As a Virtual Assistant, your bread and butter are the wonders of technology. You need your PC, your mobile phone and potentially, a laptop or tablet. But it’s not only clients who will consistently contact you on your PC or mobile phone.
Family, friends, prospective clients will try to touch base with you for personal or professional reasons. If you are committed to your schedule, these could only prove to be distractions.
One way to manage this is to use only work approved technology. For example, use a PC that is dedicated only for your work. This means:
- No access to social media
- No access to websites that are not related to work
- PC is only fitted with required software programs
Virtual Assistants use Skype frequently. But so do their family and friends. You should post a message advising people of your schedule and to reach you via e-mail or phone text. Click the “Do Not Disturb”, “Unavailable” or “Offline” features of Skype to get the message across.
3. Use Focus Blocks.
Focus Block are clusters of time periods that you set aside specifically for the task you have to perform. The length of a focus block would depend on your ability to maintain concentration. On average, people can do up to 90 minutes of uninterrupted work. But it would really depend on your personal capacity.
A focus block is followed by a period of rest; usually equivalent to 30% of the time spent on work. So if your focus block is for 60 minutes, you can have a break time of 18 minutes.
Use the 18 minutes to check on your e-mail, phone messages and social media, eat, take a toilet break, nap or get light exercise. Do whatever you need to do to get your mind back at work for the next focus block.
Generally, you should approach your work as a Virtual Assistant as a true professional. You are being paid the second you log in. Thus, your client deserves full and undivided attention. Or if you work on the basis of deadlines, you have to make sure you hit it consistently.
It is not difficult to stay focused working as a Virtual Assistant as long as you remain committed and dedicated to the tasks you need accomplished.