As business leaders everywhere struggle to pave the path forward for their teams, it’s difficult to sustain momentum with your strategic planning. You know what you need to do: control costs, pivot to more effective business strategies, monitor results, and pivot again. The challenge is not figuring out what to do but rather how to find the time so you can focus and execute effectively.
Pivoting is deep work. Uninterrupted time is needed to figure out how your business is going to be affected in the long run, evaluate possible scenarios, and weigh the risks of your options.
A virtual assistant can boost your focus by optimizing your time and helping you access the data and relationships you need for your strategies to thrive. Here are five ways a VA can help you pivot effectively.
1) Keep Your Task Management System Updated
Here’s a scenario that happens all too often for busy business leaders: an email comes in asking you to do something. You make a mental note of it then get distracted by something else. The task never makes it into your task management system and slips through the cracks. You forget about the project until someone asks about it a few days later.
Under normal circumstances, this may not be a huge deal. However, if you’re trying to quickly push forward strategic projects that will help your team have a strong recovery, forgetting tasks can significantly hinder progress.
A virtual assistant can prevent tasks from slipping through the cracks by keeping your task management system up-to-date. All you have to do is quickly forward them emails containing requests you don’t have time to deal with. They’ll add it to your system, tag the appropriate people, and trigger a reminder for you.
With your task management system kept up-to-date, it will give you a clear picture of all your responsibilities and help you stay focused.
2) Maintain Data Integrity
When you’re pivoting your business strategies to set your team up for a successful recovery, you need to rely on the most accurate data so you can make sound decisions. The challenge is keeping your databases updated is time-consuming, especially if you have lots of information that hasn’t been updated recently.
A virtual assistant can help you make more data-driven decisions by maintaining the data integrity of systems, including:
- CRMs including all business development data
- Expense management systems to ensure your team’s expenses are filed on-time
- Invoicing and ordering systems, so you have access to accurate sales data
- Spreadsheets containing information that’s not captured by other systems
And any other data management systems you use. Depending on the current state of your databases, they can review and update existing data and/or ensure that moving forward, all of your systems are accurate and complete.
3) Optimize Your Schedule
During stressful times, optimizing your schedule is the key to staying sane and focused on the activities that drive your success. If you don’t take proactive measures to manage your time, you’ll spend your days reacting to all of the noise around you and lose the ability to do the deep work that will help your team thrive.
Whether you try to follow a productivity system or feel overwhelmed by your lack of structure, a virtual assistant can do a variety of tasks to help you optimize your schedule, including:
- Scheduling meets at your preferred times
- Rescheduling meetings when an urgent issue comes up
- Coordinating key people
- Giving and soliciting updates
And assist with other tasks to help your day run more smoothly. Leveraging a VA allows you to set your strategic priorities while they resolve and prevent coordination conflicts that can distract you from more important work.
4) Provide Reminders and Insights About Your Professional Network
It’s hard to find time to nurture your professional network under normal circumstances. In the COVID-19 world, it can seem almost impossible to stay in touch with connections as we cope with significant challenges and have fewer opportunities to engage with people naturally.
- Monitoring your LinkedIn and looking for opportunities for you to comment on people’s posts
- Reminding you to reach out to connections at specific intervals
- Coordinating virtual happy hours and other activities with connections you’d like to catch up with
- Curating relevant articles and other resources that you can share with your connections
And assisting with other networking activities so you can focus on building stronger relationships instead of on the logistics required to stay in touch.
5) Giving You More Time to Focus on Strategic Priorities
A global productivity study found that executives spend an average of ten hours a week on administrative tasks. This is a substantial loss of productivity that’s highly damaging during crisis periods when your team is relying on you to chart a new path forward.
A virtual assistant can give you those hours back by tackling tedious tasks, including:
- Formatting documents
- Executing on workflow processes
- Setting up email campaigns
And any other process-oriented task that doesn’t require your authority or expertise.
Having the ability to delegate these kinds of tasks and leverage the other benefits of working with a VA empowers you to focus on leading your team to success instead of all the tedious logistics required to move initiatives forward.
To learn more about how a virtual assistant can support you, download our free guide to working with a Prialto VA. It will explain how our managed service provides the structure and reliability that allows you to offload tasks with minimal effort.
About the Author: Emily formerly led Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.