In the third part of this four part series, I discuss what happened during the final two weeks I worked with my new virtual assistant. (Note: Since this post was first published, I’ve stopped using Zirtual. I’ve since used other services – including hiring Amy Metherell, who I highly recommend – and as of August 2015 Zirtual has ‘paused’ its operations.)
One of the things I discovered during my first two weeks was that I was having difficulty assigning tasks to my virtual assistant. After reading the post discussing my first two weeks, Joanna from Zirtual offered some helpful tips that are definitely worth mentioning:
1. I have something I call “Delegation Definites”. These are things I’ve decided to automatically delegate so I never spend time thinking about whether or not to delegate them when they come up. (Some examples of my Delegation Definites are: Appointments, Travel and Preliminary Research tasks.) It might be helpful in getting past your roadblocks to develop some of these. Here’s a post I wrote a while back on decision fatigue, which speaks to the reason behind creating Delegation Definites and reducing the number of decisions we make.
2. Screencast tools (like Jing) are helpful for delegating process-oriented tasks with several steps. I find it easier to create a short video of a process and provide voice instruction than to write out the fifteen necessary steps. Once you’ve created the video and shown your VA how to do something, you can also have her write out the process so you have it on paper.
I’ve decided to implement these in my on-boarding processes going forward, as I feel that using them in conjunction with my “Best Practices Cheat Sheets” in Evernote can really help me make the most out of my experience with my VA.
Most of the tasks I’d given Elise over the past two weeks were in a similar vein as the previous weeks. I added some newer tasks that involved filling out expense forms and other smaller one-off assignments, but nothing really groundbreaking. I was still having a tough time letting go of some of my tasks, and even found myself struggling to find the bandwidth to really focus on offloading tasks to Elise.
Some of the lessons I learned over the past two weeks were:
- Research is something that is suited for a virtual assistant. If I decide to continue with my VA, I’ll be offering up more of those type of tasks because researching stuff that is relevant to my work can only help her learn more about my work.
- I’m going to give up another email accounts for my virtual assistant to access. I’ll be handing the keys of the sales email account over to my VA, and will create a corresponding “Best Practices Cheat Sheet” to go with it. I feel as if I need to deal with are my personal account, my Productivityist Coaching email account, and my personalized professional email account, so I won’t offload those.
- Once my virtual assistant has become more familiar with my work, I may very well hand over the Productivityist social media accounts over as well. This isn’t something I’ll do lightly because I want to be sure that she has a handle on the type of material I’ll broadcast through those channels. But it’s definitely an area of responsibility I will want to assign elsewhere as my workload increases. Again, I would not hand over my personal social media accounts because I believe you really need to be the voice behind accounts that bear your name.
Elise sent me an email as my hours for the month were winding up. It turns out I had two of the eight left over with a little less than two days to go, so she asked if there were any pressing tasks that might need handling so I didn’t go over my limit. I wasn’t worried about exceeding my quota because I felt as if with two days left there’d be little for me to send her way beyond the usual. And I was right.
Now that the month-long experiment at an end, all there is to do is evaluate and decide where to go from here.
Next up: A Month Of Virtual Assistance: The Verdict