Virtual Assistants don’t have to be the Jack/Jill of all trades.

I posted this some time ago but it is still very much relevant today as it was back then. I can’t say enough how important it is to drill down on what works best for you to focus on, but finding your niche is critical for any know ND of longevity in this administrative industry. Enjoy.

Sometimes Virtual Assistants go into things with all the best intentions but there are times when more is needed than just an intention. As virtual assistants we have been proud to say that we can do pretty much anything but what we should also remember is that we have limitations. These limitations are not just our skill set but also the physical aspect of time. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything at our best.

It is the sign of a good virtual assistant to know what they can do and what they do well. There are many VA’s that out of necessity have become the Jack or Jill of all tasks and skills and are very competent . But then there are those also who are not so competent but refuse to admit it. As VA’s it is our responsibility to portray ourselves in the very best light and always give our 100% best.

Virtual assistants should look at their skill sets and master those that they excel in. In other words they should specialise in areas that they do their best work. Don’t just be a virtual assistant that does everything but say exactly what you specialise in. In the long run you will see the benefits and it will make you more focused on the direction that your marketing, ads and networking will take.

So take the time to focus on your skill sets and pinpoint those skills that you are exceptional at and make that the focus of the service that you will be offering to your clients. Once you have that down you will definitely see the difference in your schedule, time and client satisfaction.

Althea – Virtually Yours P.A.

Robots on the rise – Is your job at risk?

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There has always been some worry that robots will take over the jobs that many flesh and blood workers do, and in some instances this has been the case. In the automotive industry and practically any industry that deals with assembly of products this has been the case but there are some industries that need the human touch to get things done.

Robots have long been a worry for the workforce that they would loose their jobs to robots. The hard labor intensive jobs in many factories, food processing plants and large industrial fields have been automated to some extent, but for the administrative industry this is very unlikely to happen. In the administrative industry the human aspect is something that cannot be replaced. While you can program a computer to type as you speak they can only be programmed for one speaker at a time and in some cases are virtually useless if that speaker has a very heavy accent of any origin.

Transcription is one of these jobs that is unlikely to be taken over by an automated system. While a computer would be able to transcribe known words, when it comes to slang, people who mumble, and accents the human ear is still the best. That human aspect is important in transcription as we don’t always speak in perfect sentences, we use slang, and change mid-sentence or mid-thought quite often.

Administration is an industry that will always be humanized and robots if necessary will only be used in limited ways. So when it comes to the administrative industry Administrators, Virtual Assistants, Transcribers, Translators,  the human touch will always be in demand.

Have an awesome day.

Time Management for the Self-Employed

Reposted written by: Anthony Caruana @ www.lifehacker.com.au
I came across this post and thought it would be a good one to share. Personally I don’t use a whiteboard as suggested but with the various smart phone apps and google calender, the result is the same.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/04/time-management-for-the-self-employed/

If you’re self-employed and work from home, staying productive can be a huge challenge. When you’re home, it’s easy to stretch out a cup of coffee with a snack. And then that turns into a quick bite in front of the TV and next thing you know, the morning has disappeared.

When I started freelancing, this was a huge challenge for me so I had to come up with a system that kept me on track.

I’ve settled on a multi-pronged approach that fits into my work habits and personal preferences that gives me flexibility but the motivation to stay on task.

My main planning tool is my whiteboard. It’s low tech but it works. The board is ruled up with a column for each day of the work week. I don’t schedule work for weekends unless it’s completely unavoidable. Each day is divided in half.

At the end of each week I plan my time in half day blocks for the following week and put them on the board. I tried to doing this with an online calendar but too often it was buried under other windows on my screen. I need to have something I can look up to regularly. And, because it’s on a whiteboard, it’s easy to add stuff that spans days, I can use different colours and moving things is quick.

The second planning tool I have is my to-do list system. This uses both high and low tech parts.

One the high tech side, I use an electronic to-do app called Producteev [Producteev]. There are so many apps of this type that it doesn’t really matter which one you pick as long as it works for you. I like Producteev because it has a multi-platform app, has browser access and lets me email tasks to myself. The key thing is that when a new piece of work comes in or I have something to do I add it to Producteev with a deadline.

That to-do list also holds recurring tasks like monthly bills that can’t be automatically paid, upcoming deadlines and things that need to followed up.

Each morning, I look at Producteev and transpose today’s tasks to a paper list that sits by my right hand all day. I know that this is double-handling but it solves two problems for me.

It puts today’s work within easy reach rather than on an application window that might be hidden behind other work and it gives me the physical sensation of putting a line through a task. It does mean that I have to update my online list as well, but that’s a pretty quick and easy task that only takes a few moments.

So, how do you manage you day’s work? How do you stay on task when there are a thousand things you’d rather be doing?