Often it feels like there’s not enough time in the day to accomplish everything on your plate. Your family and work responsibilities seem to multiply right before your eyes. And it feels impossible to keep up with everything. Therefore, we resort to multitasking.
Multitasking creates the illusion of getting a lot of things done at once and makes us feel productive.
However, multitasking prohibits you from performing at your highest level.
While there may be some tasks that will not suffer significantly, research shows that, for the most part, multitasking inhibits a person’s productivity. In some cases, this article from the American Psychological Association states that multitasking can be catastrophic, citing examples such as driving a car while using your cell phone.
As a Virtual Assistant, loss of productivity and poor performance will have a negative effect on your business. Missing deadlines, making mistakes, and not meeting the needs of your clients will cause your business to suffer.
Therefore, it is imperative to you and your business to focus on the task at hand without trying to juggle everything at once.
Multitasking and productivity pose problems for everyone, but, by implementing effective strategies in your routines, you can boost your productivity. And be happier because of it.
Tips to Increase Your Productivity as a Virtual Assistant:
Create To-Do Lists
To-Do lists help you organize the tasks you need to accomplish into a daily goal. With a To-Do list, you have a clear picture of what needs to be done and a plan for how you’re going to accomplish it.
Make writing out the next day’s To-Do list your last task of the day. This allows you to end your work day by reflecting on what you accomplished, planning what you still need to do, and prepares you to get started immediately the next day.
To further your productivity, schedule how much time you need to spend (or limit yourself to) on each task. This will ensure that you’re setting reasonable expectations for yourself without feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be completed.
With a plan in place, it is much easier to stay on track and avoid the temptation to procrastinate or spend time on trivial things. Plus, as you check items off your To-Do list, you feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to be more productive.
Schedule Similar Tasks Together
Think about the tasks you need to accomplish: are there similar items that you need to get done? For example, do you have multiple client calls that need to be scheduled? If so, block a chunk of time to get through those calls. Likewise, group all similar tasks together.
Research indicates that switching tasks leads to loss of productivity and indicates “that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”
This research demonstrates that productivity benefits when you stick to similar tasks rather than shifting back and forth among different types of tasks. Your brain becomes focused on the task at hand. By abruptly shifting to something else, your brain must switch gears. As a result, you become tired and less effective.
When you work from home as a Virtual Assistant, distractions are always in front of you. There are many pros to working from home, being your own boss, and setting your own schedule. However, because you don’t have an office outside of your home, the responsibilities of your home and work are constantly in front of you. Therefore, limiting your distractions is challenging.
Find a Quiet Place to Work
Even though you work from home, it’s important that you have a comfortable, quiet place dedicated to your business. Create a workspace that is free of distractions and that enables you to make your work a priority. Ideally, this space if free of distractions that hinder your productivity.
Block Specific Times for Email
It is easy to feel like checking your email makes you productive, but, often, email tends to waste your time and draw your attention away from tasks you need to get done. By creating an email management plan in which you set specific times and timeframes to check your email, you will avoid spending too much time dealing with your email and boost your productivity.
Set a Timer
A timer can be an easy tool that you use to keep yourself focused on track. If you’re someone who is easily distracted or finds ways to procrastination, a timer will prove to be a great tool to boost your productivity. Set a timer for a certain amount of time that you need to get a task done. During that time, don’t do anything that is not specific to the task. A simple object such as a timer holds you accountable for that time and ensures that you use your time wisely.
Take Time for Yourself
Finally, make time to do the things you enjoy. One of the luxuries of being a Virtual Assistant is the freedom to schedule your day in a way that works for you. Therefore, take advantage of that by participating in activities that make you feel rested, rejuvenated, and motivated.
As you consider strategies to improve your productivity, it’s really about finding something that works best for you. Think about where you struggle and reflect on what works and doesn’t work for you. And, always remember that the goal is to eliminate stress and boost your productivity.
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