Done By 5 uses sponsors and affiliates, and may be compensated for any purchase you make by clicking the link. Any opinions or reviews are our own unless stated otherwise. Our sponsors and affiliates help us keep the content on this site free to our followers.
Done By 5: Getting Organized for the New Year
Part 2: Staying Organized Day to Day
Life as a virtual assistant can often look like a virtuosic balancing act. We create our own schedules and are always looking for more space in the day to help our clients propel their businesses forward. We use tools like teamwork, zoom.us, and Google drive to keep us all on the same page, share information and ideas, and keep documents organized. Each of us has our own ways of balancing our everyday schedules but there are a few consistent habits that everyone on the Done By 5 team uses to stay on track and organized. Here are some:
Make a routine… As a virtual assistant it’s important to establish a routine. When we know our personal routine we can be clear about our availability and capacity for each of our clients. We can track our team members and what they’re working on and be there if help or advice is necessary on a project. Also, many tasks we assist clients with are recurring daily, weekly, or monthly and staying on top of those is easiest when our work schedule is consistent.
It also helps to drop into work mode when your body and brain are adjusted to a particular schedule. It’s the same reason why doctors recommend a routine sleep schedule for better rest, or why you find that a particular time in the day is best for you to go to the gym. When you make your own schedule it can be tempting to adjust your timing to fit other activities and passions into your workday. But it’s a slippery slope and the more consistent your routine is the more efficient your work time is.
Check-ins… Checking in is the name of the game when working in a team of virtual assistants. We’re always in touch with each other throughout the day but we also schedule more official personal and team check-ins monthly, weekly, and daily.
Monthly: Our monthly team check-in is a comprehensive look at where our business is at. It allows us to update the status of big projects and smaller tasks, discuss what our clients need, and evaluate how work is split up. We also share each team member’s schedule, set up a plan for the month ahead, and work toward longer-term goals.
Weekly: Weekly check-ins are a good time to set short-term (read week-long) goals and priorities, and list out any small routine or quick tasks that can be done in between and throughout bigger projects. It’s a good way to compartmentalize your larger to do list to avoid overwhelm or distraction - if it works for your team, you can even plan out week priorities in your monthly meeting so everyone is on the same page throughout the month or divvy up work so everyone is working on a different piece of the puzzle.
Daily: A daily check-in can be more personal and contingent on how you work. Even a moment at the end of the day to check off your to-do list and schedule the next day’s priorities can help set you up for success by saving that fresh brain power for your work rather than planning at the start of each day. It also carves out time to update team members if necessary without overwhelming them with information at the start of their day.
Focused and regular check-ins like these keep you efficient, organized, on track, and ready to tackle our work at full speed.
Write it down… No matter how whip smart you are or how good your memory is, there is no need or reason to keep priorities, goals, small tasks, big projects, and everything in between in your head. For some people, a virtual calendar and notepad keep all that information compact and accessible in a device they would be carrying anyway. Others use apps or websites to track deadlines and goals (have we mentioned our love of teamwork?). Different things work for different people and often it is a combination of tools that work best for your particular style. It just takes trial and error to find what’s best for you.
Call me old fashioned, but if I write down everything it sticks in my brain better, and then it’s also on something physical - paper - that I can carry with me. My preference is planner form since it includes notebook space for lists and brainstorms as well as a calendar. The particular planner I have fallen in love with is the Nomatic Planner. It has a monthly calendar and an hourly schedule for each day of the week, priority checklists, space for quick notes, and pages in the back for bigger ideas. It’s a compact well designed notebook with room to track every trick and tool listed above.
Planners can also be a creative space. Using pens to color code, fun stickers to make the day to day grind a little lighter, or doodling in the margins can add some personality and pizazz to your planner. It’s added incentive to open it up every day and do the work you’ve committed to.
When it comes to organization, what works will be specific to you and your team. Having a routine, agreed upon priorities, and tools to track everything will boost the efficiency and quality of your work, and give you more time to support your business and your clients. It’s worth the time and effort to find the best fit for your schedule, but it can be hard to direct your focus to toward getting organized. A virtual assistant can help you pinpoint what works best for your business and help put systems in place. If you feel like you need a push or some support, setting up a free 20 minute consultation with Done By 5 can get you started on the right foot.
Hope these tips help! The point is to streamline your work and clarify goals in a team. That way everyone can offer their best work and your business and clients can rocket to success! Do you have tried and true ways you and your team stay organized?