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In this newsletter, are tips for not multi-tasking while still being time efficient. While sometimes we have to multi-task just to get through the day, sometimes as you will see, it is beneficial not to do so.


We hope you enjoy this newsletter and we wish you much success with your Virtual Assistant business.

No More Multi-Tasking... and Other Tips for VA's.

by Annette Pedersen
Virtual Assistants are true multi-taskers...
but did you know that doing several things at once has been scientifically proven to impair memory, increase stress, and make us less productive. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that it takes the brain 4X longer to process things when it's switching back and forth between tasks. Multi-tasking leaves us feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.


Now I know that NOT multi-tasking is harder to do than we think, but it is a good goal to have. And sometimes I find it hard to implement.... but once I do, my work is better quality and I feel much more productive. Focusing on one task at time is worth the end result! 


Here are few pointers:


*Be extra careful to not multi-task if the task is new, or the task is difficult/complicated or if the task requires a lot of attention.  


*Try to schedule your day where you can focus on one client's work at a time. Maybe set a kitchen timer.


*Schedule time in your workday for breaks, lunch, and at least hour exercise per day. You need "you" time. It also helps in your productivity! I don't know about you, but sometimes I can work for hours and not take a break. That is not so great for my body or brain!


One thing I had to get under control was my computer documents. When I kept all documents in My Documents folder, it became time consuming and frustrating to locate files.


I found these tips helped me:


*Create file folders in broad categories


*Move the documents into a folder that fits their topic.


*If folders become too full, consider creating subcategories within them


*Limit the amount of subcategory folders as having too many can make it more time consuming to find what you need.


This can be a big task if you have a lot of documents on your computer but it will save you so much time in the long term. Consider breaking up the task into daily 15 minute increments. It works!


Another thing that is a big time gobbler is email. How about you? It seems we have a love/hate relationship with our inbox. However, if we don't take control of our email, it controls us, our time and our life.


A few tips for managing email:


*Most clients like to communicate via email more than phone. Let them know you check your email 3 times a day and stick to it. (or whatever works for you). Maybe 8am, noon, and 4pm. We're teaching people how to treat us by responding to emails instantly, 24-7.


*Turn visual/auditory notification off to avoid distractions and multi-tasking.


*Checking email takes longer than you think. Enforce a time limit - use a timer. Check it quickly 1st thing in the morning then work on a priority task.


*Empty inbox daily. The inbox should be used for new email only. Now I admit I struggle with this a lot. How good are you at this? An analogy I heard once is "you wouldn't open snail mail and then put it back in the mailbox, so avoid reading email and leaving it in your inbox; act on it immediately. Very well said!


*Decide what the first action is: reply, forward, file or delete.


*Reply immediately if you can do it in 2 minutes or less.


*For longer emails, or when you require more information, transfer to action folders/create rules and schedule time in your calendar to act on them.


*Some emails require no action. Delete or file as soon as you read.


*For quicker responses, stick to one subject per email. Change subject line when you change topic, for easier filing/retrieving. (I would be lost without this one!)


*Be brief and to the point when sending emails. Start with what action you need the recipient to take. If longer than three paragraphs, call instead.


*To save time and effort, create templates for common responses.


Do you struggle with all the notes you take when talking to clients? Or notes from that great webinar you attended? Use Evernote! I have no idea what I did before I found this tool! Almost everything I need to remember goes here! It is a web based tool so you can access it anywhere and it is free!


When adding tasks to your day, Sandra Martini, author/publisher of "The Martini Advantage", talks about doing no more than 3 things consistently, and then as you get them nailed down, you add another. She says, "Ordinary things, done consistently, create extraordinary and consistent results!" What a great thought!


Now take action, put something from this article into play this week and see what a difference it makes!


Annette Pedersen is an accomplished Virtual Administrative Consultant (VA) specializing in Customer Engagement via Social Media and Nurture Marketing. You can visit her website at:

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