Tips and Tricks to help get yourself from unmanageable chaos to organized chaos.
How a Virtual Assistant can help you implement better systems.
In Part 1, I talked about some of the Symptoms and Superpowers of A.D.D. (read more)
Part 2 was all about Treatments and Mindset. (read more )
In Part 3, I shared tips that helped me establish routines, take action, and break down projects. (read more)
In this final post, I’m excited to share how I have been able to work successfully with my virtual assistant.
Great business leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people who have the strengths that they lack.
Procrastinate on your office work?
Love creating systems, but don’t follow them?
Forget the important details quickly and focus on what’s in front of you?
A strong virtual assistant will understand your needs and work with you to create a system that works for you. They can help manage your email, schedule appointments, and even handle customer service.
A VA can take care of all the little tasks so you can focus on the bigger picture.
That’s all nice on paper, but how does it work in real life?
Let’s use me (Melody) as a real-life example.
I’m a lot to handle.
I need a VA who has some life experience and thinks quickly on their feet. They have to be proactive. They need to learn my patterns so they can stay one step ahead of me. My brain is an idea mill, and on any given day I have multiple things happening all the time. It takes a smart and disciplined virtual assistant to work successfully with me.
Empathy is a must.
They have to understand the reasons why I do or don’t do things, so they can help me to avoid doing the tasks I get stuck in. They are part assistant, part therapist (at times), and part manager.
This is almost an impossible job description. The only way it works is if I’m self-aware enough to teach them how to handle me.
Filipinos are shy and somewhat passive. A boss in the Philippines is not the same as in the US. The relationship I want to have with them is unusual, even by American Standards. I have to teach them who I am, how I think, how I communicate, and what’s important and unimportant to me. I also have to give them permission all the time in the beginning to manage me.
What does it mean to give permission? I have to explicitly tell them, “I’m giving you permission to be my manager. In order for me to be successful, I need you to remind me and poke me when I have tasks that are urgent. Don’t trust me to remember what’s important, because everything feels equally urgent to me, much of the time.”
I continue to give them permission until my virtual assistant feels confident enough to take ownership of their role. Vulnerability is key to developing a relationship quickly. It will help you compress the amount of time it takes to get to know and trust each other.
Set Clear Expectations (When You Can)
I’m still working on this one. My role in the company is constantly changing, and I also have a second business. I can feel very overwhelmed at times. I work hard to try to have good systems in place for both businesses, but systems often change as growth occurs. A great Virtual Assistant will need to learn to anticipate changes and will document them as they happen.
We started keeping a Melody Manager Manual. It has the training plan we created for everyone, including detailed systems for planning travel, setting up meetings, daily tasks, etc. This way, my virtual assistant has a framework to help her understand me better and do her job more efficiently.
Even though I still struggle with my ADD symptoms, I have worked hard to become a less chaotic leader and person. I will always be a work in progress, but having a virtual assistant who understands me and fills my weak areas with her strengths makes doing the work so much easier. My virtual assistant allows me to spend more time in the creative zone where I dream up my best ideas. She helps me to be more successful in my business world, and the trust I’ve worked to develop with her has allowed me to let go of the little things that used to consume much of my time.
As a business owner who will continue to face more challenges as I grow, I can confidently say that investing in finding and training the right virtual assistant has improved the quality of my life and business. Hiring a great executive VA has expanded my freedom, giving me the energy to focus on things that matter most to me: my family and my creativity.