Regardless of where your own special talents lie, working from home can have a million different challenges. The ability to have a streamlined process in place is not only critical to keeping our business running, but it is the most practical reason to invest your time and energy into learning how to stay organized. Here are the top 4 things you need to have in order to keep sane in your organizing.
Block your time – Chunking
Due to the nature of a VA’s job, there can be multiple clients or multiple projects happening at any given moment. It can be easy to spend too much time on one project and not be able to complete others in the timeframe needed. Chunking time for each client or project helps to keep you on the task at hand and makes sure all tasks get completed on schedule. Not only is chunking a good tool for blocking your work time, this is also a great way to ensure you are taking much-needed breaks for things like eating! This also allows VA’s who split their days between working and family life the ability to block the right amount of time needed for each activity.
Tools of the trade
Nowadays there is a whole host of programs that can help you achieve organizational success. Some of the more widely used ones are Asana and Trello, both of which work very well even on their free accounts. Both of these platforms allow you to organize your days or weeks as well as your projects and to do lists. Each has their own board or project so you can customize each one to your individual client needs. You can keep them private for your own personal organization, or you can use them to help your project management workflow by inviting your clients or subcontractors to your boards.
Each platform has the ability to add files from outside sources so everyone can be up to date with any changes to the workload.
Both of these platforms are easy to run, and require very little training to be comfortable using them, and will free up your much needed time on other important things.
Other of the tips for staying organized when it comes to client work is ensuring you have proper storage for all the tasks. Utilizing programs like pCloud, Dropbox or Google docs is a great and free way to keep your documents, social media graphics or any other file of your client’s work. Both Dropbox and Google Docs allow you to share folders or specific documents directly with your client so there are no back and forth emails to send multiple revisions. Dropbox is used more as a storage facility to house anything that you might not need changes made to. When needed, the client can download the files to their own computer but the “original” will stay where it is. Google docs allow you to share the working copy of a document, which means both you and your client can make live changes and tweak the final product together. This is one of the awesome tips for staying organized!
Sometimes even the best of VA’s can overlook one crucial area when it comes to being organized – organizing your own business needs. With any small business, you want to ensure your own records are kept up to date, accounting is current and your invoicing procedure ensures you get paid on time. Unless you are a wiz at bookkeeping (another great VA opportunity!) you may need to rely on business tools like Dubsado or Wave to help keep your books in order. Wave is free and more of an accounting and payment program, which allows you to invoice your clients and keep track of your expenditures.
Dubsado is a paid program which handles the invoicing and accounting portion but also allows you to send contracts for signing, keep your calendar organized, send forms or questionnaires, and for those VA’s who work by the hour, it also keeps track of your time. Wave is great if you just want an accounting program, whereas Dubsado is the king if you need more done and want it all contained to one program.
Being organized is one of the few common requirements all VA’s should have. Spend the time (and money if needed) to fully understand how you can stay organized better for your client’s business and your own. Do you need more tips for staying organized? Contact us!