Block Scheduling – The Key to Time Management As A Virtual Assistant
Congratulations, you’ve landed that coveted work from home position! You’ll have so much more time in your day…or will you? The easiest way to efficiently manage your time as a virtual assistant is to start by block scheduling your day. Time management when working from home is not hard. You will have more time in your day and your morning routine will get easier, but like anything else in life, it’s not going to happen without a little work. Don’t worry it’s not overwhelming work, but you will have to keep a stricter schedule than you probably ever did when you were in an office (at first). The best way to do this is with block scheduling.
The easiest way to efficiently manage your time as a virtual assistant is to start by block scheduling your day. To make sure you plan your day with enough time to get everything done it is really more essential than ever to schedule your time, otherwise, the day to day interruptions will keep you from being productive. I block my schedule in 15-minute increments (I know this is the shortest amount of time one of my tasks will take and I like to use a 15-minute buffer window for everything so I never feel like I’m running behind).
When block scheduling for yourself, first figure the absolute earliest and absolute latest you will be working. Don’t worry if your early is 5 am and late is 6 pm, you don’t have to work all those hours, but this will be important in scheduling your non-time-restricted tasks. Next block out the times you will absolutely NOT be able to work (this could be anything from an appointment to dropping the kids off for school, etc.). Next plug in your time-sensitive tasks, for example, if you have to make phone calls. If you know they have to be done during business hours these should be blocked during normal business hours. Now you can block in the non-time-restricted tasks and your other routines to make sure you have enough time in your day.
Adjust Your Schedule When Necessary
If you are running short on time or feel like you are constantly running behind, try opening up your start and stop hours a little to get the most productive use of your time. For example, I make phone calls during the day, but there is a certain amount of prep time that goes into those phone calls. After about a month of making these calls I knew exactly how many phone calls I could make in an hour so depending on how many hours I plan on working that day, I spend my morning hours before my daughter wakes up and the mad rush to school begins to put together my list for calling in the morning and afternoon. This frees up more of my “business hour” times so I have more flexibility in my call schedule.
After a while, you will know how much time you need to do certain things. You will be able to manage your time without having your calendar in front of your face 24/7. If you’re trying to adjust from an office job to a work-from-home office job a block schedule will be a huge help in learning to manage your time efficiently. One last note, a schedule will not be at all effective if you aren’t consistent in following it. So do your best to not let yourself become distracted by interruptions that come so easily from a home office.
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