Time Management: Using The 80/20 Rule

Do you know what the 80/20 rule is? Broadly speaking this means that 20% of your activities will produce 80% of your results. This is a very important rule of thumb to remember when you’re a Virtual Assistant and you’re worried about your time management. But what does it really mean?

Time management can be a major issue for the Virtual Assistant, whose very business is built around the concept of productivity at the end of the day. Often, the VA will face the same types of distractions that their client may face. Remember that the Virtual Assistant  is supposed to alleviate some of the time management problems for a given client, but often they are far from being a time management expert to begin with.

DeathtoStock_Desk5Back to the 80/20 rule. What are the activities that bring you the most results? Once you have been able to determine what these processes or activities are then you should focus on more of the same, even if it means that you have to refuse or reject requests for work, conversations or other activities that are not fruitful in this way.  (If you don’t know how you spend your time, I suggest you read our When it comes to Time Management – Analyse First post.)

Don’t be afraid to take one step backwards if it means that you can take several steps forward in the medium term. This can be a frightening prospect, especially if it comes to refusal of work or even the rejection of a client. Yet it’s at the heart of time management and productivity. Unless and until you identify what is essentially wasting your time and money then you’re not going to be able to achieve fulfilment and happiness in your business endeavours.

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Delegate Effectively

Remember that even though you are receiving a certain amount of revenue for a given block of time this does not necessarily mean that you should accept this without questioning. Are you being productive enough when tackling this particular task, or would you be better off delegating it to someone who is much more astute, has more experience or has more of a “flair” for this style of work? Don’t bury your head in the sand any more when you know deep down inside that this is the case. Look for the activities that come easily to you, look for the conversations that seem to be productive and developmental. Focus on these “20%” situations so that they begin to generate exponential results across the board.

Far too often time management is approached from a very mechanised perspective. It’s all about productivity, eliminating distractions and simply keeping your head down for a working day. Be very careful to ensure that you’re engaged in the “right” type of work first, before you become too obsessed with the mechanics of time management by itself.

The 80/20 rule is a crucial consideration for any virtual assistant. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at your Virtual Assistant business as a way for others to offload their mundane tasks. You need to be able to ensure that you’re being efficient, productive and “savvy” as well.  This can often be a hard lesson to learn, but by learning it early on, you can concentrate your efforts and grow your business quicker and get the better work/life balance so many Virtual Assistants crave.


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