You’ve taken the step to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA). You’ve done the research, compared the options, signed the agreement and you linked with your VA. But now you may find yourself thinking, “I’m so busy. I barely have time for myself. Where will I find the time to train and onboard an assistant?!”
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Most people get a VA because they are drowning in work and have too little time as it is. However, nothing is going to change if you don’t change it! You have already taken a huge step in the right direction by enlisting a VA. These are the small steps we suggest for getting you set up for success for the long haul.
1. Communication – How are you and your VA going to talk on a day-to-day basis?
Decide on the following factors:
- How will you get tasks to your VA and have her report back to you? Generally, our clients make use of Email, WhatsApp or even collaboration tools such as Slack.
- What is the best way to reach you? For e.g. Set up guidelines for your assistant to call if it’s an urgent matter, WhatsApp if it can wait a little, E-mail if it can wait a day or two.
- What timeslot will suit you best for a weekly 15-min meeting? You can always move it if needed, but a weekly check-in establishes a healthy rhythm for looking back and looking forward on each week: What did you and your Virtual Assistant achieve last week? What are your top 3 priorities for this week? Making pending decisions, questions and more.
Over communicating is always better than making assumptions!
2. Information – Give your VA as much info as possible about YOU
The more information you give your VA, the more you empower him/her to do work and make decisions that you like.
It’s just as important to relay the ‘why’ behind a task as it is to provide the task. If you talk to your VA about your vision, your goals and plans, she’ll have the necessary context to go above and beyond what you ask of her and really become a service-orientated leader in your team.
Remember, over communication rather than assumptions.
3. Hand over your Calendar – Create the Pause you Need
For many business leaders, the thought of doing this is as scary as jumping out of a plane! But it isn’t that difficult once you know how.
Start by laying out your Ideal Week: What time do you start work? When do want to be home? When do you work-out? Which days do you want to have meetings and how long should each meeting take? Which times do you want to be uninterrupted to do important, deep work?
Now give this layout to your VA as a blueprint. Rarely is a week going to work out perfectly like that but having a gate-keeper to your time gets you as close as possible. Your VA can set the boundaries and protect you and your time from becoming over-committed.
Therefore, the rule should be that nothing gets added to your calendar if it didn’t go through your VA. Even you should stop adding to it. Only your VA may add appointments to your calendar. The more developed leaders become, the more they have to say ‘no’ to very good things, so they can say ‘yes’ to only the very best things. If your VA knows your core values and goals, she can say ‘no’ on your behalf and in a very gracious manner to all the requests that don’t fit in with the direction you’re going.
Plus, you will have the added bonus of creating a pause between any request you receive and your response to it. And any time you can do that, you will ensure you are protecting yourself and the important work you are doing.
4. Start Delegating!
It’s sometimes hard to know where to start, but we’d like to offer the following steps
- Start by doing a ‘brain-dump’ of everything that needs to get done
- Divide the items into two lists: a Quick-Wins List and Long-Term List
The Quick-Wins list is 5 -10 things that really need to happen in the next few weeks, like booking accommodation for a trip, sourcing a birthday gift for your child or confirming a meeting with a client. They are quick, relatively easy tasks that help your VA gain momentum and learn about working with you.
The Long-Term list is for projects coming along further down the road, like compiling everything for your tax return or researching the vacation you want to take in the middle of the year or sending Christmas cards at the end of the year. This list will give your VA work to do in those weeks when you don’t have time to give her other work and ensures you are always moving ahead, even when you’re not in the office!
We know it seems that the time it’s going to take to explain what you want done means you could’ve just done it yourself, but in the long-term, it really doesn’t work out that way. If a task takes you just 10 minutes once a week, that equates to 8.5 hours a year. If you delegate that 10 min task you gain a full work day! 30 min spent training in order to gain 8.5 hours is easy maths. If it’s a daily task that takes 10 min, delegating it saves you pretty much an entire work week of 40 hours! Even if the training took 1 – 2 hours this will still be worth it.
Don’t delay. Start making the most of your time and your life. Not everything your Virtual Assistant does will be perfect all the time, but with ongoing input, good communication and a clear vision, she’s going to help you achieve your results faster.
* AdminAssist would like to give credit to Michael Hyatt and Co and their program called Free to Focus for inspiring this onboarding process