Lets be honest most of us get our diaries in a tangle from time to time. However if you use a Virtual PA to help manage yours then this can be avoided. A VA will by nature be an organized soul or they wouldn’t be able to do the job so use their skills!
Here are some thoughts about how I could help:
This is probably the most obvious one but no less important for all that. An experienced assistant can make appointments for you, book them into your diary, confirm the meeting with your client/ partner/ sales prospect by email which helps make sure an important meeting doesn’t get forgotten at the other end either.
If necessary I am happy to call to confirm a meeting 24 hours before it is due to take place.
This should also include the important trade shows, conferences and even webinars. If they are in your diary your VA can register you ahead of time – often saving money – and of course remind you so that you don’t miss out!
Be the point of contact for making appointments
If you Personal Assistant is going to manage your diary make them the point of contact for all your meetings and appointments. That way they can respond to any changes, make sure you aren’t double booked or dashing around like a lunatic because you haven’t left yourself enough travel time.
And of course, if you are busy then a VA is more likely to answer the phone saving time consumed by tedious games of ‘telephone tag’
Make travel arrangements
So now your assistant is running your diary. A logical extension of that is to ask them to make your travel arrangements, book hotels and restaurants, arrange car hire and any of the other services that can make a busy day easier.
This is one of those things that you might not have considered a VA can do for you. Why not give your Personal Assistant a list of your important family birthdays and anniversaries? I am more than happy to remind my clients about these. I have over the years done so – and even organized flowers, presents and the occasional bottle of Fizz!
Plan development time
Do you ever feel like you are running to stand still and that you have no time to plan the development of your business or to stand back and get an overview? I would urge you to consider blocking time out of your diary to do exactly that. I am happy to protect this time savagely if that is necessary so that thinking time is built into the business week or month.
To do list
This may seem screamingly obvious but why not add those vital to-do points to your diary if they have a deadline attached. This should be considered for regular tasks like writing your blog, updating your website, completing your VAT return or carrying out staff reviews.
And when you go on holiday?
So you finally managed to book a well-earned holiday? So firstly make sure your Personal assistant has a note of the dates. I always try to ensure that there are no significant meetings or conferences planned a couple of days before or after my client’s holidays. There is nothing more stressful than coming back from a relaxing break to find a pile of paper on your desk, a clogged in-box and a diary full of meetings preventing you from catching up.
If you are going away, lean on your Virtual Assistant: forward your business calls to them, put an out of office message on your email suggesting that people contact your assistant in your absence and make sure your post is being checked regularly.
Then you can go away on that wonderful holiday with a clear conscious knowing your business is being well taken care of.
This is more important than you would think for small business owners and entrepreneurs. You need your downtime! So if you have made an arrangement to do something special or even just have an early evening have it in your diary so that it can be protected.
Daily or weekly diary updates
So now you have a beautifully organised diary! Ask your VA to call you to remind you if you have particularly important appointments. I also use Google Calendar a lot. It syncs with ICal or Outlook, sets up reminders for iPhone or other smart phones and even allows you to email a week’s diary ahead of time.
Next time I shall give you some ideas about how your Personal Assistant can help improve your social networking