There’s no shortage of ambitious business owners that feel they have too much to do, in too little time. Or, like most of our clients – just want to focus on key activities, with more efficiency, in order to fulfil their own potential and business goals.
As Passionate PAs, we offer a tailored freelance PA service to suit the needs of each ambitious business owner or entrepreneur we work with. To us, your industry, target market, business structure and growth model are important, but what we really want to know, in detail, is how can we help you?
When potential clients are asked this question, there are a ream of responses;
“Ah, I’ve got this one niggling task, let’s do that first!”
“I hate doing X, can you take that away?”
“Tell me what you can help with, we’ll start there?”
“Here’s my to do list – crack on!”
All are valid responses that we, as freelance PAs, will happily work with. However, at the beginning, we encourage all of our client to assess their working patterns, task lists and priorities to understand where we can add real value, remove stress and anxiety, increase efficiency and profitability – and also inject a little fun! Who doesn’t want more fun in their work life?
So, at our first discovery meeting, we’ll always ask new clients if they have the time to do this exercise. It usually takes about 40 mins (but depends hugely on the size of the to do list and the new client’s propensity to go off on a tangent 🤪).
The result of this activity usually brings about a clear set of tasks and responsibilities that can be handed over to their new Passionate PA.
Request your free Delegation Tool today to help you take control of your to do list.
Meet The Team
Each of our Passionate PAs has an extensive skill set and varied business background. We are all business owners and come together as #TeamPassionatePA with a shared ethos; to make a difference to our clients’ lives through our unwavering motivation, striking efficiency and remarkable ability to simply ‘make things happen’.
Being organised and productive is a choice. That choice is the difference between being a busy fool and a successful business person.
The one trait really productive people share is the ability to compartmentalise their activities. So, in this blog, we share our top tips from over a decade of working with inspiring business leaders:
Write down your personal definition of success i.e. are you wanting to be the world’s greatest parent, a caring employer or a successful business owner. OR, are you trying to create balance – if so, what does balance actually look like in reality with the values and responsibilities you have?
Write a daily To Do List of the things that must get done in order to achieve your overall success goal. One sheet of A4 – no more.
Be ruthless, if the task in your head doesn’t “make your boat go faster” or serve your personal values, do not write it down – scrap it.
Create barriers to all distractions – physically and emotionally. Set times to turn off your phone, get off social media, step away from the news. Create space in your day for the important, critical To Dos.
Allocate time to each ‘compartment’ on your To Do List, and a set time target to achieve each individual task. Remember ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’.
Multitaskwith cautions. Only do this on the things that don’t really have an impact on your success.
Share your planned way of working with others and set clear boundaries for them i.e. between 8am and 10am every day is your Business Development time so you cannot be disturbed or between 5pm-7pm is exercise and healthy food prep. Explain to others why this protected time is so important so they become advocates, rather than distractions.
Here is a tool we use to help clients get started with this new ‘compartmentalise and conquer’ approach.
Recently, Laurey Buckland has done a series of talks at local networking events on the topic of Time Management. Here she shares her top tips for being the most effective business leader you can be.
Time management is always a hot topic amongst The Passionate PA team, and a conversation that comes up regularly with our clients too. Everyone wants to know how to manage it better but, the concept itself is impossible. You cannot and will never be able to manage time. It is an abstract concept.
You can, however, manage yourself. You can take responsibility for how productive you are in the time you have available.
All great business people have exactly the same number of hours in the day as you – so what’s the difference between their success and yours? The answer is simple; how they choose to use their time, and how productive they are as a result.
So, how can you manage yourself, and therefore your time, more effectively to live your best life, help your business thrive and, in turn, ensure your clients get the best service you can offer?
Here are my top tips:
Complete the most important tasks first.
This is the golden rule of effective business management. Many call it ‘eating the frog’ in reference to getting the ‘worst’ or largest job done first. But really, it is all about identifying the most crucial tasks.
Identify two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete and do those first. Once you have done these, your day is already a success.
Block out distractions.
Prioritise yourself and your business. If you have a lot to get through, it is useful to close the office door for a set amount of time and put your computer’s ‘do not disturb’ function on. Put your phone on silent and allow yourself to focus. Be strict with yourself (and others) and channel your attention by using only one device.
Don’t strive for perfection.
Always keep the bigger picture in mind; contrary to popular belief, perfectionism is not a positive mindset. Do the job to the best of your abilities, in the sensible amount of time allotted, and move on.
Have a ‘jobs to-do’ list every day.
As a Passionate PA, I have an endless ‘to do’ list for myself and my clients and there are four classification of job type:
Important and Urgent (do these immediately)
Important but not Urgent (block time in your diary/schedule to complete these)
Urgent but Not Important (delegate these tasks if possible, do during allotted admin time)
Not Urgent and Not Important (Make a note of these so you don’t forget they need doing at some point – they may well become Urgent and then they move around the grid!)
It is also important to always leave yourself buffer time in your diary every day and not fill every second. You need wiggle room if Important and Urgent tasks arise.
Organise your inbox.
People with cluttered inboxes spend much more time on their emails than needed. Or, they don’t spend any time whatsoever and as a consequence, miss things or annoy people that are trying to work with them by not responding efficiently.
I recommend diarising two slots each day for email management – no more than this and certainly do not have it open all day as this allows it to step your attention when you need to be focusing on other tasks.
Folders and sub-folders are crucial, as is using the flagging tool for items you need to come back to or are waiting on a reply to.
Diarise a monthly time to clear the inbox – if an email is just sat there waiting for you to respond, question why. If you really don’t want to deal with it, DON’T. But take ownership of that decision and either delegate or tell the sender (nicely) that they are not on your priority list.
Sleep, exercise and take time to relax.
Tired people procrastinate more and get distracted easily. Allowing yourself downtime between tasks can be a breath of fresh air for your brain.
Go for a walk, a run, meditate or perform whatever mind-clearing exercise works for you. I often have my best ideas when out running. Like my feet, my mind wanders and arrives at some truly fantastic revelations… my present business included!
Be assertive and don’t be afraid to say no.
Every time you decide to do something, you are effectively deciding to NOT do everything else. So, are you certain that what you are doing is the best use of your time?
Be assertive about interruptions. It takes courage and honesty to do this, but people will respect you for having a ‘no crap’ policy in your life.
Outsourcing could be the answer.
As a business owner, question whether you are spending time on tasks which can be done by someone else? You know, the jobs you dread, are inefficient at or those that simply do not increase your profit margin? Knowing how much your time is worth and how much of it you are spending on things that are not bringing in new business or helping it develop and grow will dramatically change your mindset – get calculating!
Every business can outsourcing something, and there is a wealth of skilled and talented freelancers and specialists out there that can add to your business (and life in general!). Talk to us to find out more – if we can’t help, we’re sure to know someone that can from across our incredible network.
Let enjoyment be the goal.
Business owners often get so caught up in the ‘busyness’ of our work, that we forget to enjoy what we are doing. Even when we focus on working SMARTER, we are still often too focused on simply getting things done. If you love your work, it doesn’t feel like work – and as a result you will be more productive and dedicated.
Think about reshaping your business to spend 80% of your time on the bits you enjoy. We’ve seen clients do this and they have achieved incredible results in everything from personal health, staff happiness, client orders and profit margin! You have to be brave to push beyond the norm and your own limiting beliefs, but that’s where the magic happens.
To conclude, time is not just money. Time is family. Time is friends. Time is happiness. Time is recovery. Time is precious and we only get each day once.
Are you considering running an event to promote your business, say thank you to your clients or even celebrate something special with your team? If so, check out our handy list of tips to help you make it one to remember! Continue reading “Event Planning for Entrepreneurs”
Are there a hundred things on your ‘to do’ list with your overflowing inbox adding to the pressure? Check out this handy list of tips to help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners manage their inbox more effectively. Continue reading “Email Management for Entrepreneurs”
Dying art or one of a modern business owner’s best tools? We believe dictation is an incredible means of working smarter and so have put together a handy list of tips to help you harness it’s power! Continue reading “Dictation for Entrepreneurs”