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How To Use All The Hours In Your Virtual Assistant Plan


Barnaby Lashbrooke

Founder and CEO of Time etc, author of The Hard Work Myth

6 minute read

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There are many reasons why you might consider hiring a virtual assistant. Perhaps you need help with tasks that are taking up too much of your time, or you want someone to handle the administrative duties of your business so that you can focus on other areas.

Whatever your reasons, a virtual assistant can be a great asset to your business, but it's essential to have a strategy in place to make the most of your investment.

One of the key ways to maximize your success with this incredibly useful resource is to make use of all the hours available to you in your monthly plan. This way, you can get the most bang for your buck and reclaim even more time for the things that matter most.

Schedule a call with your virtual assistant

First of all, get in touch with your assistant to arrange a call.

Their circumstances may have changed since you first started working together, so use this opportunity to establish their current availability and workload.

Are they able to take on more client work for you?

Find opportunities for recurring work

If your virtual assistant does have the capacity for extra work, your next step is to choose which additional tasks you’ll offload to them. When making your decision, always aim for repetitive, recurring tasks where possible.

Why is this?

Offloading any task from your plate is a great way to reduce your workload or focus on other areas of your business. But as with many things in business, the more strategic you can be, the better.

For example, let’s say you have a one-off task that would take you two hours to complete and a daily admin task that takes around 20 minutes. Our gut reaction tells us we could do much more with two hours than 20 minutes, so the first option seems like an obvious choice, right?

Not exactly.

We need to factor in the time it takes to actually delegate the task to your assistant—describing the task, providing instructions, sharing access or log-in details if necessary, and so on.

Let’s say, for instance, this initial process takes 40 minutes. So if we take this into account, the time you’d save by delegating the one-off task would equal 1 hour and 20 minutes. At the end of the month, and even the year, your total time saved from that task would stay the same.

On the other hand, delegating the daily 20-minute task may not have saved you much time that day, but going forward your total time saved would be around 6 hours per month or three full working days per year!

All that extra time in your schedule came from offloading just one recurring task, so it pays to always be mindful of the bigger picture and focus on the benefits of time saved in the long term, rather than any short-term gains.

And by focusing on tasks you do regularly, you’ll also be less likely to find yourself in the same position month after month where you’re always having to come up with new ideas for tasks to delegate to use up your hours (saving you even more time!).

To make this process even easier, our free to-do list optimizer tool was designed for this exact purpose. Simply enter your regular task list and the optimizer will show you which responsibilities should stay in your remit and which can be handled by a virtual assistant.

See: Delegate These 25 Recurring Tasks To Save Time Every Day

Add additional assistants to your virtual team

If your virtual assistant is unable to take on more work for you, based on their availability or the skillset you’d need for these new tasks, you can bring on additional assistants to make sure all bases are covered.

At Time etc, the good news is that this does not incur any extra cost, as monthly plans are based on hours of support working on tasks. So for all intents and purposes, two assistants completing one hour of work each is the same as one assistant completing two hours of work, for example.

Having more than one virtual assistant in your team allows you to cover a more diverse range of business needs, which may be essential if you’re looking to offload tasks that are beyond your current VA’s skills and experience.

If you’re concerned about finding the time to onboard or train a new virtual assistant, many entrepreneurs find it useful to put their new assistant in touch with their main assistant to provide them with some basic introductory training.

Just like your in-house employees, introducing your assistants to each other and encouraging them to keep in touch helps to foster feelings of teamwork and collaboration within your virtual team, and means they’re able to turn to each other for support and questions rather than having to always go to you.

Another potential solution could be to ask one of your employees to onboard your new assistant on your behalf.

See: How To Successfully Work With Multiple Virtual Assistants

Think outside the box

If you’re still struggling to find ways to make use of your hours, don’t lose hope yet!

Think more broadly about your business in general.

If the majority of your time is currently spent on the most impactful tasks that allow you to put your strengths and skills to best use, it’s worth asking yourself if the same can be said for your employees.

For example, you might have a manager who excels at developing their team but spends half their time buried in the customer service inbox. Or you could have a project manager constantly battling against invoices and late payments.

Anyone in your company who would benefit from some recurring, time-wasting tasks taken off their plate can easily be added as a team user to your Time etc account.

What’s the bottom line?

Time is the ultimate luxury—regardless of how much money you have, you can’t buy more of it. This is what makes virtual assistants such a valuable tool for business owners.

By taking care of tasks that take up valuable minutes and hours, business owners can focus on the things that matter most to them. Whether it's spending more time with family, working on strategic projects, or simply taking a well-deserved break, virtual assistants help make it all possible.

So when you invest in a virtual assistant service, you want to make sure you get the highest return by making full use of the hours in your plan.

The extent to which you can do this with your current assistant depends largely on their availability. Delegate more recurring responsibilities to them if they're readily available.

Alternatively, additional assistants could be your answer to bridge the gap at no extra cost. If you can’t think of more ways a virtual assistant could save you time, maybe they could help your team do more of the work that matters, too.

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About the author

Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Virtual Assistant service Time etc as well as the author of The Hard Work Myth, recently recommended by Sir Richard Branson. Barnaby is a Forbes Columnist on productivity and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, selling more than $35 million worth of services.

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