The Guide to Ultimate Productivity
Thinking of Hiring a Virtual Assistant?
The management of a small firm may be fraught with challenges. On some days, you may feel like you are “on top of the world,” with everything going exactly according to plan and you feeling highly effective in your role as the director of a company. On other days, however, you may feel like you are constantly distracted and that things aren’t working out as you hoped they would. The vast majority of us acknowledge that this is only an aspect of running a company (and of life in general!), but in point of fact, there are a lot of pretty basic adjustments that you might be making to your daily routine in order to feel really inspired and powerful.
We have put a lot of time and effort into writing this extended blog post in the expectation that it will be helpful to you. We will do everything in our power to make you more productive than you have ever been, from helping you to create objectives to lowering your stress levels.
To begin, let’s take a look at the reality that business owners have to confront all around the globe. You are not the only one who feels like you are drowning in responsibilities that you just lack the enthusiasm to fulfill or who wishes there was just one more hour in the day to go toward moving their company ahead. In the Philippines, one employee is responsible for both the ownership and operation of 76% of all enterprises. You.
These “solopreneurs” are responsible for the great majority of the 5.4 million enterprises that are located in the Philippines, and they put in an average of 52 hours of effort each week. How does it compare to the way you normally spend your week? Have a look at the infographic that was put together by one of the graphic designers here at VA FLIX to determine how well you manage your time between work and your personal life (the blog post continues immediately after, so be sure to keep reading!).
Step 1: Set Goals
It is easy to dismiss the significance of goal-setting, but doing so is not going to assist you in developing a successful company or improving your quality of life.
First, think back to the day you opened the doors of your business. Why did you do so? Did you long for a challenge? Did you wish to see an increase in the amount of money you take home? Or were you looking for a better balance between your career and personal life? It’s possible that you had hoped to accomplish all three in addition to much more, and while that is certainly doable, if you don’t set some specific, measurable goals that will allow you to determine whether or not you’ve made any headway toward achieving your objectives, you simply won’t be able to tell. It’s possible that you’ll constantly desire more money, more free time, or a more challenging test to take. It is critical that you acknowledge that you have accomplished your primary objective (i.e., working less than 40 hours per week by the following summer) before moving on to the next one (working fewer than 30 hours), since failing to do so will ensure that you are never content with your progress.
On the other hand, just any old “objective” won’t do. How helpful is it to say things like “I want to be famous” or “I want to be rich”?
SMART goals are the best kinds of goals. In my book, the acronym SMART refers to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (sometimes written as “Timely”). You may have a slightly different interpretation of the term.
- To be more specific, consider the “6 Ws.” Who, what, why, when, where, and how are the questions? Who exactly is engaged in this? Where is it going to take place exactly? The more clear your objective is, the simpler it will be for you to zero in on and concentrate on accomplishing just what it is that you want to do.
- Measurable – The results of your measurements will provide you with feedback and let you evaluate how close you are to accomplishing your objective. “I want to boost my sales” is not nearly as beneficial as “I want the yearly sales turnover of this year’s business to be 20% higher than that of the previous year’s business.” Having objectives that are too general or too uncomplicated is an easy way to get out of being responsible to yourself for achieving them. Do not put yourself in that position!
- When we create objectives for ourselves, it is tempting to let our desire drive us a little bit farther than we should go. The goals that you set for yourself should be difficult but not insurmountable. How likely is it that you will get the result that you want? When you set objectives for yourself that you know you will never be able to accomplish, it will only serve to demotivate you when you eventually fall short of those goals. Make an effort to find a happy medium between the ambition you have for success and the constraints imposed by your situation. It takes time to grow a company to the point where it is worth a million pounds (unless you have a really unusual trick up your sleeve)!
- Everyone has the ability to set goals for themselves, but in order for those goals to be meaningful to you, they need to be connected to your long-term objectives. They will not be the same as those of your close buddy, your parents, or even the person with whom you do business. It is not your personal objectives that should drive your company; rather, it is your personal goals that should drive your business. Verify that the accomplishment of your objectives is something that really matters to you and that you feel driven to do so.
- Time-bound: Give yourself a cutoff point for completing the task. It is not the same thing to say that you want to lose three pounds by “whenever” as it is to say that you want to lose three pounds by the time you go on vacation in July of 2023.
Instead of setting objectives that are just somewhat tough and can be accomplished in a week or two, try to create lofty long-term goals that require you to think in terms of months and years. As a result of the fact that we all experience highs and lows, as well as times of relative calm and activity, this strategy for the long term enables you to adapt your work flow to your current state of mind and modify your speed as you work towards each of your objectives.
First and foremost, ensure that you schedule enough time in your schedule to thoroughly analyze these objectives. Why don’t you take some time on the first Saturday morning of every other month to evaluate how much farther you are from achieving each of your objectives? You may also use this opportunity to celebrate the objectives that you have already accomplished and reflect on how far you have come. One of the most essential things you can do to motivate your brain to want to attempt achieving new objectives is to celebrate the successes you’ve already achieved.
The next step is to divide each of those objectives into a series of more doable substeps. I have found that it is helpful to divide my long-term goals into monthly objectives and targets before generating a daily to-do list. This helps to guarantee that I am constantly making at least a small step toward achieving my goals each and every day. It’s possible that weekly to-do lists and quarterly objectives are more useful for you, or that you may prefer to arrange chores directly on your calendar. Try out a variety of approaches and settle on the one that yields the greatest results after some trial and error.
A “personal mission statement” that outlines an individual’s overarching attitude and approach to all of their objectives is something that some individuals find helpful to put down. Writing one of them down is not only an intriguing activity in and of itself, but it also has the potential to assist in the process of setting objectives that are more “relevant.” This article, which was published in Forbes magazine, provides an overview of some of the personal mission statements that some of the most successful CEOs in the world have penned.
At the very least, you need to check to see whether or not your objectives are too professional or personal. You will be more motivated to pursue growth in both your personal and professional life if you can find a way to strike a balance between these two types of environments. What is the point of working longer hours to bring in more money if you don’t have any time left over during the week to spend with your loved ones?
Some of the tools we use at VA FLIX
- Trello gives you the ability to build “boards” with a specific theme, within which you may delegate tasks to yourself (and other members of your team), along with due dates and file attachments. Why not make a board for fresh business ideas that you come up with, another board for your monthly goals, and still another board for the new information technology project that you are working on?
- Todoist is another option for managing your to-do list, and although it is comparable to Trello in some respects, it focuses more on the individual activities that make up your list. The fact that it can synchronize across all of our devices and that it can be accessible directly from our Gmail account as well as on our desktop browsers are two of our favorite features of this app. It has an amazing feature that works with natural language. Simply type “deliver a newsletter at 5 o’clock tomorrow,” and Todoist will automatically transform this into a task complete with the appropriate date or deadline. The same thing takes place with repeating responsibilities (just prepend “every week” to them).
- A list of tasks written by hand! – This post from Lifehacker offers some helpful advice in the form of suggestions. To assist you in setting priorities for your everyday activities, why not categorize them as “must do,” “should do,” and “could do”?
Step 2: Build Processes
You have decided on your objectives and compiled a list of things to complete each week. So what do we do now?
Establishing reliable business procedures is essential to maximizing the effectiveness of a company’s expansion efforts. The purpose of this exercise is to examine how you spend your time, make a list of some of the most important activities that you have to do, and determine whether or not you can save any time in the long run by simplifying these procedures. Perform a manual reconciliation of your bank payments on a daily or weekly basis. Instead of doing this every two weeks manually, why not use a software program like Xero?
Your productivity will significantly improve if you both cut down on the number of items on your weekly to-do list and find ways to shave off a few minutes here and there from a few different activities here and there. You will experience less distraction (and, as a result, more concentration), which will lower your stress levels and increase the amount of time you can spend working on your company rather than working in it. If you were to reduce the amount of work you had to do each day by only 20 minutes, you would gain over seven hours of additional time each month (or eighty hours each year!). That one day that you have just acquired might be put to better use by assessing your objectives and making certain that your company has a well-defined plan to go ahead with.
It is crucial to have procedures that are simple, efficient, and well documented so that other people may work on the same duties as you. What happens if you become sick and need to give someone else responsibility for your marketing efforts so that the firm may continue running while you are out of commission? It is essential that your company operates as a distinct, self-sufficient entity that is founded on rock-solid roots.
Beginning the process of documenting your procedures might begin with something as basic as keeping a log of how you spend each day. During the course of one week, note down everything that occurs, no matter how insignificant or significant it may seem, and then add anything additional that you do on a less regular basis. It could be helpful to break these responsibilities down into their respective business functions:
- The essential parts of a company This might include everything from delivering deliveries to conducting training courses! What do you do?
- Taxes and finances (e.g., reconciling bank payments, paying suppliers and chasing overdue invoices)
- Sales & marketing (e.g., writing a weekly blog post, scheduling tweets, and following up on leads)
- HR (e.g. making payroll payments and making time to follow a personal self-development plan)
- IT (e.g. updating your website and cleansing your CRM)
- Other administrative items (e.g., booking networking events and train tickets)
Once you have your list, start with the first function. Let’s say it is your list of marketing-related tasks.
- When you want to plan your e-newsletter?
- Who exactly is to blame for this situation?
- What kind of software do you normally run?
- In a regular week or month, how much time do you generally set aside for this activity?
- When do you plan to make this time allocation?
- Is this the most productive way to spend your time, and does it provide a satisfactory return on investment for the effort you are putting in, or does this need to be reexamined and improved?
Give each of these questions some serious consideration. Be succinct in the paper, but check that it has enough information to be valuable to and understood by someone who is not affiliated with your company. If so, determine which of these aspects may benefit from further development. Think about it in a neutral way. Is the undertaking valuable but one that ought to be carried out by a different party? Does there exist any other software programs that I could use, even if they have a price tag attached to them, that would help me save more time?
You shouldn’t expect to be able to capture everything in this manner, but you could be surprised by how much you can (and how little time it will take)!
As soon as you have constructed a reliable set of business procedures for as many distinct activities as possible, spanning as many distinct functions as possible, you should search for ways to monitor, verify, and then enhance these procedures on a consistent basis. Are there any presumptions that you’re making that need to be assessed more objectively?
Keep in mind that you want to expand your company in an effective manner (that is, rapidly and at a low cost!) while experiencing the least amount of stress as is humanly feasible. Spend some time determining what parts are functioning, what parts may need some improvement, and what parts should be thrown out entirely! This iterative approach will assist you in developing a streamlined and efficient business that is capable of standing on its own two feet in the event that you no longer choose to (or are unable to!) handle certain areas of it.
When you combine this with outsourcing, you may find that you have more money than you realized to spend on that three-month vacation. More on it to come later…
Step 3: Reduce Stress
We are all aware that owning a company, particularly in its early stages, has the potential to be a very stressful experience. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case. Challenge your attitude. It is certain that each company will have its own unique difficulties. Yet, it is quite feasible to build a successful company without jeopardizing your health or experiencing feelings of being overburdened, provided that you adhere to a solid methodology for doing business.
When compared to the hours worked by the majority of employees in the Philippines, entrepreneurs put in an average of 63% more hours each week. Because of this, it is essential that you don’t feel entirely exhausted even when you do have a chance to relax.
Our top 4 tips to reduce stress:
- Be mindful
Make an effort to be more conscious of the influence that your emotions have on your productivity and your state of mind in general. Do you approach the problem rationally and attempt to locate another provider when you are let down by a supplier, or do you concentrate on the anger you are feeling and allow it to spoil your day? When uncontrolled, your ideas have the potential to set off a domino effect of emotions, which in turn may have a significant influence on your mood and, as a result, your stress levels. Instead of daydreaming about things that have happened in the past or will happen in the future, make an effort to keep your thoughts “in the now.” Make an effort to think in a more objective manner.
- Think positively
The practice of thinking in a positive manner is not as simple as it may appear. As we have previously discussed, it is quite simple to lose control of your thoughts and find yourself caught in a never-ending cycle of irrational feelings such as wrath, resentment, jealousy, grief, or any other unfavorable state of mind.
Make an effort to be more positive by putting more stock in your instincts and having a bit more confidence in the strategies you’ve devised. If you have SMART goals, which are backed by good business processes that you will follow to meet these goals, the only reason your plans will fail will be due to factors that are completely out of your control or your lack of understanding (in which case, you will learn some very important lessons if things don’t work out!). If you have SMART goals backed by good business processes that you will follow to meet these goals, then the only reason your plans will fail will be due to factors that are completely out of your control. Have faith in yourself and in your team; we all do our best work when we experience feelings of trust, empowerment, and confidence.
- Cultivate habits and a solid routine
You could believe that all of this sounds wonderful on paper, but then “things come up,” and you claim that you “don’t have enough time.” Stop. Think. Do you think that the fact that you are so is being easily distracted causing or contributing to the fact that you have acquired a reactive mentality in which you believe that your company is running you rather than the other way around? Perhaps they are both correct. You need to train yourself to form healthy routines and nurture constructive habits if you want to break out of this grueling cycle.
Have you made your way through Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge? His book is an excellent resource for gaining a genuine understanding of the power that habits and a consistent routine have in assisting one in achieving their objectives.
- Take time out
If you always work and never have fun, you run the risk of becoming a very boring guy or girl. The only way to maintain high levels of productivity while maintaining low levels of stress is to allow your brain (which is a muscle!) the time it needs to rest and recover. We are all familiar with what it is like to be worn out. Simply increasing the amount of sleep you receive is a very effective strategy for fostering greater creativity and innovation in your company. In a similar vein, we are all familiar with how unmotivated and lethargic we feel when we are suffering from jet lag or an illness. Consistently not getting enough sleep is the same thing.
Step 4: Consider Outsourcing
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that VA FLIX is a supporter of outsourcing because of what they do.
If you have enough passion, determination, and discipline, you should be well on your way to growing a successful business once you have set your goals, documented your business processes, and learned to deal with stress a little bit better. Once you have done these things, you should be well on your way to growing a successful business. But what if there is just too much for you to accomplish on your own, or if there are some elements of your company that you simply do not love working on? It is essential that you do not become the primary barrier standing in the way of the expansion of your company!
It is possible that hiring a member of staff would seem to be the next natural move to make. But have you considered the whole expense of carrying out such an action? Is it possible for your company to make such a long-term, fixed commitment to an employee who has just one skill set? Do you want to consider everything, from their performance ratings to how many sugars they want in their tea and everything in between? If you want to feel less stressed and more productive, one of the best things you can do is look into the possibility of outsourcing some of the items on your list of things to accomplish.
In spite of the fact that the majority of those working in the virtual assistant profession are self-employed freelancers, there are a few businesses that employ significantly larger groups of people. Virtual Assistants are capable of handling a wide variety of activities, including maintaining your calendar and making appointment bookings, as well as pursuing outstanding payments and completing out documentation. Because they all have unique skill sets, it is essential to investigate the capabilities of the virtual assistant you are considering hiring before making a hiring decision.
Fortunately, you may outsource a broad variety of capabilities to our multi-skilled staff located right here in the Philippines when you work with VA FLIX. We are delighted to provide a variety of abilities that the majority of virtual assistants (VAs) would not, including the revamping of your website and the management of your social media channels. All of the work is managed through our task management portal, which not only enables us to bill you for the exact amount of time that it takes to complete each task but also enables you to see exactly where the time that you are paying for has been spent. Our prices are more competitive than those of the majority of businesses in this industry, and we do not require a minimum number of hours to be worked each month.
Our top tips for delegation:
- Make sure that your expectations for your new VA are reasonable. They will not have the same level of expertise in your field and company as you have from the very beginning of your working relationship, but that does not imply that with some time and understanding they will not be able to catch up.
- Make sure that any deadlines are disclosed accurately and are reasonable.
- Make sure that your veteran’s assistant has access to everything they need (e.g. a username and password to your website if you would like them to schedule blog posts).
- Do you prefer to receive a phone call first thing in the morning, or would you rather get a weekly email with a condensed status report instead? Because of this, it is essential that you let us know if you have any preferences about the manner in which you want to communicate.