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Time-managementAs a Virtual Assistant, we all know how busy our workday can get when we’re juggling multiple clients and tasks.  So often I get asked “how do you do this effectively?” and I have to say that it’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most of us.  There’s certainly no hard and fast rule about how to achieve success across your client base workload, but I have also discovered that those of us who have built successful VA businesses have systems in place to help them manage their workload, and time, efficiently and effectively.

Here are a few tips for working effectively with multiple clients that I have implemented successfully into my business processes:

To-Do Lists:  I do use a to-do list, and this has gone through several iterations, ranging from online to written.  My most successful to-do lists are my written ones.  At the end of each day, I review where I’m at, and re-write a new to-do list in preparation for the next work day.  I use the to-do list for high priority, short term tasks, and take great pleasure in crossing them off.

Project Management Software:  I love Asana… it works so well for me in my business.  I have some clients who use it also, and for those who don’t, I use my personal Asana to keep on top of the tasks I’m working on for them.  There are other tools out there that people swear by – e.g. Trello – and it’s really ‘horses for courses’, but I do recommend you have some type of project management software in place so you can document progress against tasks, and don’t have to rely on your memory (which can sometimes fail you when you’re under pressure).

Use Calendars and Reminders:  I also use my calendar and set reminders to email me or pop up on my desktop to tell me when I have tasks that must be done at a certain time / on a certain day.  It means that I don’t have to trust my brain… and relieves me of the stress of potentially forgetting something important.

Batch up your Work:  When working with multiple clients, or across multiple projects, I find I achieve far more if I batch up work for each client/project.  By this I mean, I plan to focus on one client for a period of time (either daily, weekly or whatever).  So, for example, with one client I have a weekly task that involves reconciling expenses.  I do this generally in one hit on a Friday.  This means that I can plan my week knowing that I will be doing this task religiously every Friday.  It also ultimately saves time when you work continuously on one project / task because you’re not having to refresh / remind yourself where you were up to as is the case when you are only half doing something and coming back to it later.

Be Clear about Boundaries:  Make sure your clients know how you work, and when you are available to do their work (barring emergencies of course!).  Let them know when you will be working on their tasks, and also make sure they understand the best way to communicate with you with normal workflow requests and also emergencies/urgent requests.  For example, my clients generally email tasks through, but if there’s something urgent they will always text of phone.

Be Careful with Instant Messaging like Skype, Facebook Messenger:  As a general rule, I DON’T encourage communication with my clients via Skype or Instant Messaging (unless it’s an emergency).  I do work with colleagues via Skype, but ensure that they know and understand that I cannot always respond immediately.

Be prepared to experiment with what works best for you.  It’s not a one-size-fits-all formula, and you obviously need to take into account different working styles, and different client needs.

I’d love to hear if you have any other tips that help you effectively manage multiple clients!