10 Lessons in Productivity from a Virtual Assistant

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Being a virtual assistant means our entire purpose is to enhance your productivity by helping you free up time.

That means, with lots of balls in the air and tasks to juggle, we need to practice what we preach and make ourselves as productive and efficient as possible. Plenty of people are going to try to tell you what productivity is and the formula for maximising it. But we think we have it nailed since our entire business model is about maximising time efficiency.

There are so many tools and products on the market that promise to increase productivity and improve processes. But, the thing is, productivity isn't a process - it's a mindset. Tools that claim to help you focus on productivity can ultimately just be another distraction. Slack, for example, has received a lot of negative attention for being a bit of a double-edged sword in terms of time management, workflow and inter-team communication

Virtual assistants help you boost productivity

Hiring a virtual assistant helps to free up your time, but how you manage that time is up to you. Here are our lessons in productivity to help you make the most of what you have:

1. When prioritising, do the task you want to do least first

We know it sucks. But the only way to protect yourself against perpetually putting off the least rewarding and enjoyable tasks on your to-do list is to get them out of the way early.

2. Minimise interruptions

Easier said than done, we know, especially lately when things are up in the air and we’re either remote working or returning to the office. In an office, the most common interruptions come from other people. It's so important to set boundaries to stop them. This can include asking people to come back later if they want a "quick word". Sometimes even having a "do not disturb" sign can signal you're focusing and need for privacy. If not, booking a meeting room and turning off all notifications on your phone and computer can help.

3. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t dwell on them

Mistakes are a part of human nature, and we all make them. Even if we struggle to admit it. Your mistakes always provide you with a learning opportunity - look for it, seek to understand it and move on.

4. Know when to say ‘no’

The biggest enemy of productivity is being in a state of overwhelm. If you take on more than you can cope with, then all your tasks will suffer. Learn to understand your limitations. Learn the art of delegation, and o how to assertively but respectfully say, "No."

5. Take a break

When you're overworked, you're underperforming. Take a break, recharge your batteries, and return to work refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list.

6. Prioritise sleep

There's evidence that getting enough sleep makes a big difference to productivity. In a US study of over 4,000 workers, scientists found those who slept less had worse productivity, performance and safety outcomes. So get an early night.

7. Understand yourself and how you work

Are you a morning person? Or does your brain come awake at night? We aren't all the same, and trying to shoehorn our working days into 9-5 hours that might not suit our brains is a thing of the past.

8. Always focus on what is within your control

If you can't change it, there's very little point in focusing on it. Put your time and effort into devising workarounds to immovable obstacles. Or just find a new path.

9. Just get started

If you don't know where to start, stop thinking about it and just start anywhere. You can go back and fix errors or make improvements later.

10. Stop striving for perfection

Perfection is the enemy of progress. Having expectations that are too high can leave us in a state of productivity paralysis. Much like the previous point, just starting and doing the best you can is enough. Improvements can always be made later.

There are many ways virtual assistant services can help free up your time. But what you do with the time you're left with, and how productive you are, is all down to you. For more insights, follow us on LinkedIn.