The critical nature of efficiency
Whether you sell real estate, run a home staging business or own a restaurant, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Between running your business, doing everything that you can to provide quality customer service, and marketing your business to its fullest potential, you could probably find something that needs to be done ’round the clock if you didn’t need to sleep.
Virtual assistants typically work with multiple clients at once, and they’re expected to execute all marketing efforts flawlessly for each one. Time-saving tactics are a lifesaver in our industry, and they’re a must-know skill for anyone who has to run their own business or brand. Here are a few tips that have proved helpful for me over the years:
Tip one: organization
The key to getting everything done as quickly and efficiently as possible is organization. Start with a to-do list and prioritize. What absolutely, 100%, must get finished today? Start by tackling those things and give them your full attention.
The rest can be done on-the-go, during your lunch break, or right before you go to sleep at night. Stick to this priority list unless an emergency comes up. You’ll find that you’re much more efficient, and you’ll get all important things done right away.
Tip two: technology
Sure, we can’t work all the time, but that brings me to my next point: use technology! Today’s technologies are designed for people who are on-the-go all day long.
Take for example tablets – they are productivity boosters for any professional. You can check and respond to emails, update your social media sites and prepare presentations while you’re between meetings, on your lunch break, or waiting for an appointment.
No longer is it a requirement to be sitting behind a desk to get your entire internet marketing out of the way. You have the technology available to you, so you should use it to maximize your time.
Tip three: time blocking
Another time saver is blocking out portions of each day for “paperwork time” or “email time.” If you say, “Every morning between 7:30-8 and every night between 8:30-9:15, I’m going to check and reply to emails”, you’ll find that you can avoid the distraction that comes with it throughout the rest of the day and focus on other, pressing tasks.
We’re all slaves to our inboxes, and if you see an emergency email come in, respond to it, but if you block out times each day that are dedicated to addressing emails or signing off on paperwork, you’ll be less inclined to let it distract you throughout the rest of the day.
Tip four: track ideas
Some of the biggest time-wasters that exist at the moment are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and blogging. You could spend half the day alone perusing and updating all of these sites. My suggestion? Carry a notebook or tech tablet and keep a running list of possible post ideas. Much of the time on these sites is spent trying to figure out what to post or how to word things in a witty, clever or professional way.
If you keep a running list of ideas that come to you throughout the day of things to post on social media or your blog, you’ll have a list of ideas to refer to when you sit down to do it. If you stay focused, write in your natural voice and use your handy “idea book,” you will accomplish things in half the time and focus on doing your day-to-day business tasks.
This is another marketing task that you should really “block time” for each day. Whether it’s a half hour or forty five minutes, pick a time each day, stick to it, and don’t exceed it.
Tip five: take a break
Oh, one more thing: if you need to, take a break. Nobody can work quickly or efficiently if their mind is running 500 miles per hour with thoughts about what needs to be done. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or distracted by the daunting list of to-do’s on your list.
Stand up, take a drink of water, go for a walk, stretch, call someone for a quick chat…anything that you can think of to take your mind off work for a few minutes, do it. You’ll go back to work refreshed and ready to focus, which will only allow you to work more quickly and efficiently.
You can do this
These trusty tips might sound simple, and that’s because they are! You don’t have to do anything fancy or over-the-top to save time. It’s as simple as staying organized. If you put some of these suggestions to use, you’ll probably find that you’re getting more work done each day, which might even give you some time to do the unthinkable: relax.