2016 has been a terrific year for me in business, but not without its hurdles! I’ve learnt a lot along the way and helped clients do the same. I have no doubt that 2017 will be bigger and better, but the key to that progression? Organisation & planning! Being a Virtual Assistant takes organisation, careful coordination & a little bit of timely juggling! Remaining focussed and productive is not always easy, life is busy and there’s a lot of things to make happen. Take charge and get started on 2017- you’ll wish you had my Top Tips for productivity and organisation back in 2016!
Create Plans & Schedules
And I mean, for EVERYTHING. I’m talking; marketing strategy, social media strategy, blog plans, newsletter plans… these could all be put into one master plan or into a few smaller ones. Daily to-do lists written the night before are ideal – seeing your tasks lined up in black and white help the mind to focus rather than wander, especially whilst trying to figure out where to start the next day. My most important plans and schedules can be found in my social media schedules – I use Facebook Schedule and Hootsuite but Buffer and other schedulers come highly recommended also. Planning and scheduling social media in advance saves so much time and enables you to focus on other work, with the confidence that your posts will go out automatically. Furthermore, when you plan a chunk in advance, your ideas are more consistent with your wider plan, marketing strategy and branding.
Break Tasks Into Bitesize Pieces
Huge workload? You couldn’t eat an elephant in one go, but you could if you broke it down into bitesized chunks. The worst thing about large work loads are, that they tend to be overwhelming and put you off beginning the tasks at all – thus delaying you further, creating an even larger work load! Take each job and write down how many tasks it can be broken into, then take each one at a time – crossing them off as you go. You’ll be surprised at how quick you’ll move and realise how much less scary the task is once it’s broken down.
Big Things First
Take on the biggest or more important task first, before anything else. By doing this, you set the tone for the rest of the day (or week, or however long!), at very least you can say that you’ve battled with the most important task and won. This then frees you up to move forward with the smaller tasks at a more relaxed rate without the stress of bigger tasks hanging over your head.
Pick up your to do list, work out the tasks involved and it’s simple: block out time in your calendar in which to complete those tasks. Use each time block to carry out just the task at hand – as well as this, turn off all notifications on your gadgets, put your phone screen face down, don’t answer calls or emails. This requires a certain degree of discipline but it is one of the most worthwhile tips I can offer. Once you’ve started and got yourself into a time block pattern or schedule, you’ll find it becomes far easier to stick to.
Make & Track Goals
If you can visualise something being completed, you can realise it! Think up your goals based on what you want to see happen with your business, then write them down and keep them visible at all times. Even if this is in a ‘to do list’ format – as simple as you like. Chances are, you already have these goals outlined in your business plan – if you do then great, grab a copy and keep them handy. Track these goals regularly and monitor your success. There’s no better motivator for productivity than working your way through your check list.
Assess, Reevaluate, Move Forward
Don’t flog a dead horse. Spend time at regular intervals assessing your efforts and ensuring that you have effective methods for measuring your success. Reevaluate social media strategies, newsletters, productivity tools, software, policies, documents… check everything you’re doing or using is performing as it should be! Keep in line with your master plan or business plan by checking back against it regularly. Consistency is key.
So, my top tips for getting in gear in 2017: work out your goals, get your plans together, break tasks down into chunks, prioritise, block out your calendar, then; assess, re-evaluate and move forward! Say hello on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and let me know how you’re getting on!
Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2017!