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Time is on your side ? control it cleverly - time-management


How do you cope your time? Or is the more correct distrust do you wish you had change for the better time management skills? I have clients and associates who rely on the whole lot from legal pads to brightly dyed sticky notepads to cope their time and appointments - almost all in their life. I don't appreciate why some folks place so barely magnitude on a touch as central as time management!

As a expert Virtual Assistant, I have many clients and tasks I must accomplish every day. I also have a confused delicate life, full of breed responsibilities and my hobbies. Organizing my time is decisive to my accomplishment and to maintaining my sanity.

Submitted for your comprehension pleasure, and to enhance your brain, are some of my tips for efficiently and efficiently running one of your most constructive resources: time.

Determine What Works Best for You

We're all altered in regards to time management -- what works for you may not suit me or my style. Are you constantly on the go and need your calendar at your fingertips? Or, do you desire to keep a paper calendar? Do you loath computers and all they stand for, or are you so wired Edison would be jealous? Doesn't matter what tools you decide on to add in in your arsenal, make certain they're tools you'll use consistently.

The House Blocks of Change for the better Time Management

My time management tools are Microsoft Outlook and my trusty PDA. Outlook serves all my appointment, e-mail and tasking needs in one easy-to-use package.

Two of my desired Outlook tools are the Categories and Labels features. Categories allow me to classify my calendar items and tasks in a category of ways, such as Clients, Aptitude Clients, Personal, and so forth. In addition, you can also Cutting edge Find (search) Categories, so no more emaciated time looking for a calendar appointment or journal entry for a exact client.

Unlike the seemingly ad nauseam add up to of Categories you may setup, you are incomplete to ten (10) Labels (at least in the 2002 version). Labels allow you to color code your Calendar so you'll know at a glance which items are own in nature, and which are client related.

Consistency is the Key

Whatever classification you have in place or are bearing in mind to implement, the key point to bear in mind is consistency. Adhere to the same procedures each and every time, devoid of fail. Make sure you put good routine into play and more important, be a consequence those good habits!

When I conceive new appointments or tasks, I use the first few font to characterize the "owner" (client or myself) of that appointment or task. For example, when creating items for client Tom Smith, I'll preface all items with TSMITH. When incisive for items for Tom, I know if I exploration for "TSMITH" I'll approach all items associated to this client. I'll also apply a Label to my appointments, such as TeleCon, PCI (Potential Client Interview), or Personal.

I pad all appointments with a 15-minute bulwark on each side. I also schedule breaks at some point in my workday.

My clients be conscious of that each Monday I announcement my "Lori's Schedule" e-mail, a brief note notifying my clients when I'll be out of the agency for that week. For example, all my clients know I'm a component of the Editorial Team for a well-known eZine and they know that except it's an emergency, I am not existing for the duration of this meeting.

When I interview budding clients, interns and vendors, I keep full discussion notes in the memo field for that Contact. I date all car phone conversations and apply color coding (font coloring) to each conversation. All interviews are kept to 30 log - no exceptions. My Desktop timer helps me keep track of the time, and sounds a horn . WAV file when it's time to end the interview.

If I need to abide by up with someone, I closely coin an appointment, applying Categories and a Label, and ascribe any crucial outside id (Word, Excel, etc. ). For Calendar appointments, I also keep track of the come to of times I've attempted to commerce that person. Example: For vendor Lisa Andrews, I'll preface the appointment with LA(2), where the parenthetical (2) means this is my be with challenge to acquaintance Lisa. I allow a greatest extent of three admire up attempts - no exceptions. Chasing citizens down is a waste of my time -- time I'd desire to spend creation money and consecutively my business.

You Make the Call

Pet Peeve: Folks who call me and have no clue what they want to say. I've been known to hang up on such occasions, so let's guarantee you don't make the same mistake!

A few basic rules of good manners follow:

1. Peace & quiet rule the day, in particular if you're assembly a affair call. If the kids or your wife are home, close the door to your office. If there's a large total of road traffic, go to an inner room in your home, as far away from the noise as possible. You don't want to shout over the din; instead, make the din disappear.

2. Know what you're going to say! I've advised copious clients to have any an index card or a sheet of paper with the bullet points of what they want to say. I do a bit alike - in the Calendar appointment for the call up call, I bring in bullet points in the memo field and make notes all through the classes of the conversation.

3. Keep it brief. Make your point, get down to big business and let's rock and roll.

4. Be on time. Have acknowledge for the anyone you're about to call. They've set aside constructive time to talk to you.

You've Made Your List, Now Check It the 2nd Time

Spend a few action at the end of your day to appraise tomorrow's calendar. Doing so will get you all set for tomorrow and will jump start your recollection if you forgot to do something. Do you have any faxes still behind you to go out? Did you bring to mind to call the imprinter and OK the proof? Any prep work you need to do for tomorrow? Take five minutes, appraisal your calendar and to do list and then accomplished any last close work.

It's All Qualified - Well, Your Relatives Think So

I know many associates who have home-based businesses and at least 75% of them do not have a "family policy" in place. How can you work for practical purposes from home if your girlfriends are business you all the time, and if Uncle Joe stops by quite a few times a day? Answer: You can't. What to do? Enlighten your breed and close contacts that but for it's a dire emergency, the category chit-chat and visits need to be kept to a minimum. For your part, you must guarantee you call your dad at the end of the day to check in, and tell your girlfriend Lisa that yes, you can have lunch with her on Thursday. It's all about balance: part work, part play. Too much of the ex- will make you crazy!

"No" is Not a Four Epistle Word (Subtitle: Even if it were, you ought to still utter it now and then)

Say this out loud, "It's okay for me to say no. " Doesn't that feel better? More important, do you accept as true it?

Do not allow the procrastination or the good intentions of others to eat into upon your time. If you do not have the time today to carry a task, be decent and say so. Offer different dates and times when you are available, ensuring you mark these times as "unavailable" on your calendar so you don't book other appointments at some point in this time.

Remember, time is money. Learn how to classify and administer your time--you'll be glad you did!

Copyright 2005 Lori Davis. All civil rights reserved.

Lori Davis is Boss of the Coming at Davis Virtual Assistants, a New York-based VA firm. To learn more about Lori and DavisVA, choose visit http://www. davisva. com and http://loridavis. typepad. com/davisva/. You may associate Lori at 917. 319. 8224 and via e-mail at lori@davisva. com.


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