Time is the greatest luxury.
Have ever felt overwhelmed by an infinite array of task? Answer all your emails, pay the bills, book that flight, deal with administrative tasks, find a great yet affordable hotel for your vacation, complete a business plan for that new product/service you've been dreaming to do.
How much time in of your life we pass in front of screens? How much time we multi-task? The more you do both of these, the less likely you are stress-free.
We all suffer from information overload and in my circle of friends, people tend to have almost no time to dedicate to their personal interests.
A fast way to escape from destructive task-driven behaviors and information over-consumption is to outsource your life to remote personal assistants.
The goal is to cut fat and redundancy from your daily schedule to free your time to focus on bigger and better things. The stress of dealing on unimportant tasks will soon disappear as soon you pay someone to deal with them.
Here's what you need to know to get started:
Who is a virtual assistant?
A Virtual Assistant is someone who provides services and support exclusively online. It is not a secretary, and definitely not a receptionist (even one year ago I routed all my calls to a remote assistant during a vacation so that he forward me only urgent matters).
Over the years, however, the profession has evolved and now the virtual assistant provides support mainly to professionals and companies that have an online business (but not take this as a rule, in fact whoever deals with email and works 9to5 can leverage on the novelty of having a VA).
I've first started outsourcing task 2 years ago while stumbling upon a book of Timothy Ferris, the 4 Hour Work Week where he describes his process on how to communicate efficiently with a Virtual Assistant and outsource life efficiently.
An example of a task I delegated in the past? A year ago I gave access to my mailbox where I received requests for information, estimates and appointments. The mails were answered with the instructions properly received. In this way I could check email only once a day, and trust me, we spend far too much time dealing with email every day.
Often I was requested to do specific researches online, for a given sector and prepare an evaluation based on the delivered research, for example benchmark a client's e-commerce website and compare it with it's competitors. Or simply sometimes I delegated a quest to find the right place where to buy a product I was looking for.
Is it expensive?
Websites such as Fivver offer VA's for just 5$ per task. It's very important to take the right time to sync in the world of paying someone to do work for you. You have to understand that even if the cost of the task delegation is occasionally more per hour than you currently earn the final result is usually worth it! If you pay a top-notch specialist $30 per hour and he is able to save more than 8 hours of dealing with stressful mini tasks this will allow you to gain an extra working week day that you can use to relax or focus on that project you've been procrastinating for far too long. Wouldn't you pay $30 to gain a hassle free day per week? Also if you're working for a corporation there is no legal reason for you to outsource personal administrative tasks. Errands an
How to get an assistant?
You can't simply "get" an assistant, you need to build an army of specialized professionals to delegate specific tasks.
Online you can find dozens of great portals where to find great professionals.
How to delegate efficiently a task
There are a couple of golden rules to follow if you want to outsource your life.
- Request someone who has "excellent" English and indicate that it will be required (even if not) to do Skype sessions for daily updates.
- Always give precise directions.
- Request for a subject market expert assistant. Don't just delegate to the first guy you get in touch with. Some tasks require a specific knowledge. Websites such as Elance allow you to fine-tune your VA search trough tags.
- Request a status updated after 1/10th of the time you've planned to complete the task for a quick evaluation of the VA's skills.
- Delegate tasks that interrupt you daily
- Don't overwhelm the VA with task. I advice to send one task at a time.
- Prefer Support teams. Even if slightly more costly try to create a strong connection with a remote support team. In this way you'll even have a personal VA Team lead. Plus if someone is sick, someone can replace your VA.
- Don't delegate something that can be eliminated, otherwise you waste someone else's time instead of your own.
And finally my favorite rule: Unless you have established a solid connection with a VA and you can fully trust him start by delegating a small task but with an unfeasible deadline. A skilled professional will explain fast and clearly that the expectations are too high and offer alternative solutions to solve the problem efficiently.