How to Be Productive – Even on a Budget

The times are strange.  I think we can all admit to that.  With businesses being deemed essential and non-essential, stay-at-home-orders in place, and social distancing being enforced, we are all being affected in some way.  We’re having to evaluate our own essentials and non-essentials, and for most of us, the first things we begin removing are items in our budgets. It’s understandable.  Certain things have to be sacrificed to stay afloat.

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Right now, you’re probably ranking the items in your business and your budget according to their value.  What items can you keep? What can be removed? What items need to be paused? You may have even wondered if your assistant is valuable enough to keep around right now.  After all, your assistant, no matter your relationship, is an expense. Is your assistant an expense you need to have right now?

The answer is, yes.  Why? Your assistant is invaluable, even in the odd circumstances that we have found ourselves in.  Sure, you could take over all of the tasks you delegated to your assistant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.  

So, what should you do? 

Set a New Hourly Budget for Your Assistant

Instead of cutting your assistant’s hours altogether, why not decrease the budget instead?  Maybe your assistant had been working 25 hours a week – consider dropping them to 5, 10 or 15 hours a week.  Make it clear to your assistant the importance of sticking to those hours and working only on tasks that are deemed a priority.  With the right assistant in place, you can rest assured knowing that she’ll understand the decision. Time constraints are no match for her efficiency or productivity.

Identify Priorities With Your Assistant

Priorities have likely changed in your business.  No matter what industry you are in, the goal is to keep as much business as possible while also following federal guidelines.  For most of you, this means converting in-person meetings to virtual ones. This can also mean being a source of support to your clients as they too are adjusting to this new normal. 

Let’s put any projects you and your assistant were working on aside for now, and instead allow your assistant to:

  • Take the lead in communications with your community: converting in-person meetings to virtual, rescheduling sessions, prepping your clients for virtual sessions, etc
  • Being a guide to you and your clients in navigating the virtual aspects of moving your businesses online
  • Setting up your online conference rooms
  • Prepping documents for online presentations
  • Sending out calendar invites for virtual meetings

Weekly Monitoring of Budget and Priorities

Once the budget is set and priorities are identified, the next thing to do is to keep an eye on the budget and your priorities on a weekly basis.  As things progress, priorities will change. Adding the budget and priority tasks to your weekly meeting agenda is a must as this situation will continue to evolve. 

You might even add the budget to your scorecard and have your assistant track her hours there for a weekly review during your weekly meeting. Your assistant can take the responsibility of tracking her hours which will leave you to focus on the higher-level items of your business.   

In closing, our world has changed.  We’re all adjusting, but no one was better prepared for the switch to virtual than your virtual assistant.  Remember that we are here for you. Your assistant is here for you. We have a Help First mentality, and we’re here to help you wherever you need it.

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