What if we had just one more day? We will in 2016, on Monday February 29. But what if you could get extra days every year?
In 2015 I discovered something that has saved me time: 1.8 days, to be exact. How do I know? Because my virtual assistant keeps track of that for me. Virtual assistants are most commonly used among small businesses and start-ups but they are increasingly available for just anyone—educators included!
What is a virtual assistant and what can they do for you?
Definition: A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative assistance remotely.
What kinds of projects can they help you with?
1) Phone Calls
This is my number one favorite way to use the VA. It can be so hard to make phone calls during the day, especially if you’re teaching. For those calls you need to make to the cable company, to set up a hair appointment, car repair, to make a dinner reservation—they can do it for you! You can set it up the night before and your VA will call during business hours.
If you’re putting together a lesson plan, a professional development presentation, or writing a blog post your VA can research for you and save you some minutes that would be spent googling. I’ve also had them create handouts asked on Powerpoint presentations, or create Google Docs and forms for me.
Some Virtual Assistants can do shopping for you. If you’re in education you are probably invited to lots of weddings and baby showers! Your VA can order your gifts for you. They can also help you with your holiday lists or upcoming birthdays. I've even had them pull outfits from my favorite stores helping minimize my decision time.
You get the book club calendar, the board meeting calendar, or you’re told that you will meet on the 1st Monday of the month for faculty meeting. Your VA can put these events in the calendar for the rest of the year. Your VA can also communicate with others to find a mutually agreed upon time.
Spring break will be here before you know it! Start researching vacation rentals, flights, rent-a-cars for your trip. With your VA you have your own personal travel agent.
There are quite a few virtual assistants out there ranging from US-based or foreign-based, and ranging from personal to business use. The one that I use, FancyHands, is perfect for my needs, but you may find others that fit with your lifestyle, especially if you are an educator with a side business! You’ll find good reviews of the sites, and referral links at Virtual Assistant Assistant.
FancyHands works well for me because it is affordable (49.99 a month for 15 requests). You can also purchase more or less. With FancyHands you don’t have one dedicated assistant, but many assistants. The task will go to the first available assistant. They keep track of how much time they’ve saved for you, including how many calls they’ve made, events scheduled, emails, etc. If you are interested in FancyHands, tell them I sent you with this Link.
We all need help every now and then. Our work is challenging, sometimes unforgiving and your time feels like it is slipping away. Start taking control of your time by delegating- if not to a VA find other ways to free up your time for yourself. You deserve it. The time that you can save by delegating is time that could be spent curled on the couch watching Netflix, hiking, coloring, blogging, or whatever you fancy!
Education careers are tough. These entries are dedicated to making the lives of educators easier and empowering those who have chosen this path to reach their potential in work and life.