One of the biggest challenges as an Executive Virtual Assistant is how to manage your time so you’re helping your clients while also having energy left over to grow your own business. When you’re working as a solopreneur, your time is a precious resource. That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage time well.
I’ve heard it from so many VAs just starting out that they feel like they can’t grow their business because they’re at capacity when it comes to their time. They can’t take on more clients because they’re already stretched too thin by the ones they have. But they need to be earning more in order for their business to succeed – and that means either raising rates or taking on more clients. It’s a nasty catch-22.
Today, let’s talk about time management so you have plenty of this valuable resource to give to your clients, your business, and also yourself and your personal life. You can use these tools when you work with clients to be more productive and impactful, which helps them and helps you, too.
Why Tools and Apps Won’t Help With Your Time Management…At First
I love an app. Give me a project management tool, like Asana, Trello, ClickUp, Notion….even a good ol’ Google Doc and I’m a happy gal. But they won’t do anything for you if you don’t know how to set them up so you have success with your time. I’ve seen so many VAs get stuck in fiddling around with ideal due dates for things that they miss a crucial part of managing their time, so their best-laid Asana plans are left null and void (and overdue).
Using these tools without setting up the initial step of the process is like giving your car gas, but your tires are totally flat. You’ll get somewhere, but not very far.
The Secret Step of Time Management: A Success Schedule
Google “time management” and you’ll see:
- The 5 key steps of time management
- The 10 secrets of time management
- How to manage your daily time
- The 55555555 rule for managing your time
And a bajillion other articles. I’m sure they’re all fine, but nothing has changed my life as an EVA more than a success schedule.
If you’re anything like me when I first started working for myself, you probably don’t have a structure to your day, so you have no idea what you’re doing. Then, you’re reacting to the requests coming your way rather than proactively helping your CEOs and, in turn, making sure nothing falls through the cracks or is a rush job.
Time blocking with a Success Schedule will enable you to put you first on your to-do list so you aren’t floating around and at the whim of whatever comes your way. It becomes a model for how you’d like your days to flow so you can support your CEOs and still enjoy your life.
You’ll have a clear idea of what you’re currently working on for all your clients, plus what you want to do to grow your own business and know that you have time for it all. Time blocking in this way also allows you to manage your energy throughout the day. You get to group like tasks together and stay focused on what’s most important.
How to Set Up Your Success Schedule as an Executive Virtual Assistant
The first step to setting up your Success Schedule is to track your energy. When is it…
- The highest
- The lowest
- The most focused on production (getting things done)
- The most focused on being creative and having big ideas
- Easily distracted
- Drained the fastest and the slowest
Knowing how your energy ebbs and flows throughout the week and month allows you to set up your time so you can maximize certain aspects of your role as an EVA with clients and as a CEO to your own business.
Next, schedule in work blocks on your Google Calendar.
Here’s the catch…make sure that the type of work you’re doing matches what your energy is capable of supporting. For example, if your energy is lowest at the end of the day, this is not the time to brainstorm for your business. That would be a time for cleaning up your inbox.
At a minimum, you’ll want to schedule in work blocks for…
- Opening and closing your day (reading emails, setting notifications, checking in with your clients)
- Client fulfillment (working with and on your clients’ businesses)
- 1:1 time with clients (weekly meetings with your CEOs and time in your calendar when they need to talk to you outside of your scheduled calls)
- Creative time for yourself (usually for marketing your business)
- Self-care (lunch, virtual or IRL coffees with new connections, etc)
And when in doubt, always overestimate how much time you think you’ll need. You can always refine and adjust later. The goal is to manage your time well and be proactive with where it’s going so you can stop scattering your energy around when you don’t need to. Every time you have to shift your focus, you lose time, energy, and momentum.
Create a new Google Calendar with these work blocks clearly laid out. For example, if Monday and Tuesday are high energy days for you, you may want to have client facing calls on those days since you’ll be in alignment and can energetically support the type of work you’re doing, which means you’ll get more done easily and in less time.
Finally, press play.
Now, it’s time to align your actual day with the Success Schedule you’ve created for yourself. It may take some time to adjust to, especially the days you speak with clients if they don’t currently align with your Success Schedule time blocks. But others you can implement right away (hello, time for self-care).
Once you do this for yourself and you see how magical it is in helping you to get everything done proactively (AKA: not rushing, not feeling drained by what you’re doing), you’ll wonder why you waited so long. And you can teach this to your clients so they can be more efficient and impactful!
Learning to manage your time will help your business grow without feeling like you’re bogged down and only working for your clients and have little left over to give to yourself. After all, you didn’t get into business for yourself to feel like an employee – you want to have time and space for yourself so you can feel happy and thriving, too!