Virtual professionals have no choice but to learn about managing time well if they want to get ahead. With the long list of clients, projects, and business operations tasks, it can be difficult to keep things straight without organization and the use of effective time management techniques. Take a look at these techniques that will help you to make the most out of every business day.
Set goals and create a plan. Creating both short term and long term goals can keep you focused, and encourage you to use your time wisely. Think about where you want your business to go in the future and create a plan of action. As you approach each day, set smaller goals and steps to those goals. This will help you gain perspective on each task you do and how it fits with the big picture. If you are wasting time on things that won’t bring you closer to your goals, you can set those things aside and spend more time getting ahead.
Make a detailed schedule. It is not enough to set aside general business hours or to have a to do list. You need a daily calendar to track meetings, project deadlines, follow up emails or calls, and host of other little things that a virtual professional needs to do throughout the day. There are too many distractions that can arise, and if you set aside separate times to handle things independently, you will get more done.
Learn how to prioritize. Your task list should be organized according to what needs to be completed first. Anything that is time sensitive, such as a project due in two days, should be addressed before other less urgent things, such as filing documents. If you do things right, you will have very few things on your list that have extreme urgency, and you can simply focus on taking care of things in order of importance without the time crunch.
Do, or don’t, multitask. Sometimes doing more than one thing at a time can help you get more done, but other times it just takes away from efficiency. Some people work best when they have a busy schedule, and they work more productively with a variety of things to do throughout the day. In other cases, focusing on a single task until it is completed can actually get it completed faster, thereby reducing the number of things on your to do list more frequently.
Be flexible. You may have a family emergency or come down with a stomach bug on the due date for a project. If you plan ahead and factor in a grace period, you can get your work done ahead of schedule and take the time you need to handle urgent personal matters. Plan on getting things done before the truly need to be done to allow for new clients, computer glitches, sick days and other setbacks. Breathing room allows you to rearrange your schedule without jeopardizing your productivity and punctuality with deadlines.
Get help if you need it. Delegation in management is a major key to success. Who says that you have to do everything by yourself? This technique utilizes the time that other people have to get things done. Consider subcontracting some work or hiring an Online Business Manager. If you don’t have the time to properly manage your agenda and business, you truly need an Online Business Manager to support you.