A little late… but happy New Year to all of our readers and subscribers. We thank you for continuing to follow us. We also welcome new story tips, ideas, blog shares as well as questions. Please feel free to contact us here and we will be happy to include your suggestions and ideas.

For this First Tip to start 2015 with a bang- we are going to cover Time Management.

If you are having problems at work with your inability to properly manage your time here are some suggestions.

1 – Know That You Have a Problem

Knowing that you have a time management problem is the first step in changing your behavior. Although it is typical to be late for work or a social event on occasion, if this is something that should not be happening on a daily or a weekly basis, you may want to look at the direct causes. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do it simply admit that you may have a problem.

2 – Decide To Change

With the new year, now is the time to put into place new resolutions to help you make the most from 2015. One of those great resolutions that can significantly help your business grow in 2015 is Time Management. Knowing that you have a time management problem is important, but wanting to change is even more important. Set small goals that can include making checklists, preparing for the client interview early, making up forms to manage your documents, automate your office.

3 – Stick To Your Goals

Creating a number of time management goals for you to meet is advised, but it is important that you don’t give up right away or when you are faced with complications. Setting goals simply just isn’t enough, you need to stick with them. It is easy to get discouraged or just pass off the task by saying you don’t have time, but remember, the goal at the end will SAVE you time and MONEY.

4 – Create Daily Task Lists

Creating a to do list for yourself is an easy way to properly manage your time. In fact, it is one of the easiest approaches that you can take. Outline what you need to do throughout the day. Be sure to list your tasks in order of importance. Using tools like http://todoist.com/ offer a great electronic to do list for a low price of $29.00 a year. Want a free alternative, try Swift To-Do List Lite. Also don’t forget MS Office has a bunch of templates also you can use. There is also an electronic version. These simple tools can help you organize and plan out your day and make the most of your working hours.

5 – Rely On Time Management Tools

Properly managing your time is important, but it can be hard for many individuals. If you are one of those individuals, you will want to consider using time management tools to your advantage. With apps for almost anything, there are thousands of tools to look at and try. Most of these are available for a 30 day trial which allows you to play and see which ones you like and have the features that you need. Some suggestions are Timeflow and Schedule Flow which starts at 7.95 a month with a month free if you buy the year. Other ideas would be Actitime which runs as low as 4.20 a month. They charge per user so this number would depend on the amount of users. Naturally, there are plenty also in the Apple store to choose from.

6 – Learn How To Say No

In all honesty, there are times where you may not be able to refuse a project or client, but try to not take on more than you can accomplish. One of the hardest part of this business is saying “No”. I remember vividly, in the beginning, Johnna and I took on almost every job we could just to earn money and gain clients. Within a few months we were completely burned out and HATED what we were doing. At that point we sat down and then decided we needed to make some hard choices in our business. We made a list of all are clients. We then made a statement of what our ideal client would be. We then went through the list one by one and if they did not match, we fired the client. In the end we were left with only 4 clients. We swore that we would only answer RFPs that meet our ideal client specs and we would have a whole new group of clients we assist and are back to LOVING what we do. Yes we were scared letting go of our clients, but we knew we had to say “no” to many of our clients that were either not in our specialty, taking too much of our time, or simply not using us but for small jobs. We also knew that once we said “no” it freed us to say “yes” to our ideal clients and allowed us to double our business that year.

7 – Get Organized

Organization is key to being able to properly manage your time. If you are unorganized, you are likely to waste a large amount of time. Sit down and seriously look at how much time you waste by searching for files, emails or tasks. Take some time out each day and file all of your inbox emails in folders. Clean off your computers desktop and place any loose files in a folder. Go through your checklist and see if everything has been completed. Look for tools that can help you. Many people use Evernote, Project Managers, One note and more to keep all of their businesses running efficiently  . One thing we do is at the end of the year (or the beginning) we make a list of what new software programs we need to buy, what courses we want to take etc. We then keep adding to the list as the year goes by. We take time out each month to research a program which will help us run smoother. One by one, we start to make the purchases as we can afford to.

8 – Consider Hiring Professional Help

If you are overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow VAs and ask for their help. Many VAs including ourselves, will sub-contract for other VA firms. It is important to have a contract in place as well as some set aside some training time to help the VA learn how you run your business. Remember, many VAs are okay with just an hour or 2 of work and are happy working for that. Don’t be afraid of posting an RFP on the VA sites and groups. If you need a lower budget, reach out to Elance or other job boards. There you can specify your rate and still find a person to help you grow your business.

When looking at time management, don’t be afraid to try new tools. Ask the other VAs what they use to help them with their time management. Also read social media posts in the groups and look for suggestions. Not doing so is costing you and your business money! Best of Luck and if you need help or idea, feel free to contact us. We love to help!