A global productivity study found that professionals spend an average of 552 hours a year on repetitive and administrative tasks. This is approximately 1 day per business week! Any way you cut it, it’s a huge amount of time that could have been better spent developing your teams, with customers and prospects, and engaging in other strategic, higher-valued tasks.
More than ever, executive productivity is at a premium among all management teams that I speak with. Ironically, most organizations offer little or no administrative support to their executive and producer teams. So how is it possible for true leadership to emerge, for internal teams, for new products and services, for strategy, for new market development, etc?
One clear solution is virtual assistance. A virtual assistant can help you become a better leader by enabling you to organize your day for maximum efficiency, by handling all the routine but important tasks that need to be managed, and by enabling you to spend more time on strategic priorities.
Spend More Time on Strategic Tasks
A good virtual assistant can be instrumental in helping you to spend more time on the strategic work that adds true value to your organization. Your VA can do this by first focusing on all the basic admin tasks that suck your time away, including:
- Scheduling meetings and calls
- Managing your travel logistics
- Completing expense reporting
- Conducting basic research
- Handling meeting follow ups
- Formatting or preparing presentations
- And many more similar repetitive tasks
Once you’ve found a solution with a company that handles all the screening, hiring, management, back-ups, and security infrastructure for your VA, then it really comes down to one essential responsibility that you have: communication.
To the extent you can clearly articulate to your VA what you want, in what format, delivered on what schedule, and to which specifications, then you’re 90% along the way toward reclaiming back your time. The other 10% is a function of letting go. Letting go of your calendar management and letting go of all the little (and low value) things that pull you in many directions all day long!
Organize Your Day for Maximum Efficiency
As a busy executive, multitasking may seem like the only way to stay on top of your workload. However, research published by the American Psychological Association found that multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40% since the mental effort of constantly switching focus between tasks causes you to work slower.
A virtual assistant can maximize your efficiency by keeping your calendar organized and scheduling meetings for optimal times – based on your individual preferences and work styles.
For example, let’s say you’re most productive in the mornings. A virtual assistant can schedule all of your meetings in the afternoon two to three days a week so that you have some mornings to focus on strategic work.
There is a high degree of liberation achieved by reducing your attention on the minutiae of your admin tasks and refocusing your mental energy on the things that drive true value to the business and your clients. When your internal and external stakeholders notice how your attention has shifted in this direction, you’re in a much better position to let your leadership effectiveness shine!
Maintain a Strong Network
Another element of leadership revolves around the cultivation and maintenance of a strong network. Your virtual assistant can help you stay top-of-mind by:
- Consolidating all of your contacts in a single location and keeping them up-to-date
- Creating follow-up reminders, email drafts and templates.
- Monitor your network based on such criteria as job changes, anniversaries, awards, blog posts, etc – and find all kinds of ways to keep a “light touch” on your network.
When your VA has your networking preferences optimized, you’ll never have to worry about losing touch with a valuable connection.
All these examples should set off light bulbs in your mind about better leveraging your time. After all, effective leadership involves the wise use of time on the most important and value-added elements of your role.
Leveraging a virtual assistant is a great and cost-effective way to easily offload repeatable and process-driven tasks. When your VA dials in the basics, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much time you recapture. Ultimately, your team and your business will benefit from your increased time and leadership focus.
About the Author: Andrew Miller has more than 25 years of global experience in enterprise sales and scaling companies. He leads Prialto’s sales and business development organization. He spends much of his time helping our enterprise accounts and their teams to better leverage Prialto’s assistance.