I came home from vacation to find ten pieces of email from Virtual Assistants who, really wanting to up their standards, found they just couldn't get the juggling piece nailed. Just how do you manage multiple clients, to-do items, and deadlines?
There are, actually, many different ways. The key is to find the one that works for you. And that may take a lot of time, and effort, experimenting with different systems and ideas (folders vs. binders, for instance)—but the end-result is absolutely worth it.
The key ingredient, though, to keep in your head is that the ultimate end-game for most Virtual Assistants is this: Fewer clients, using more hours, for higher fees. When you have that in place, you'll make the income you want/need, while having fewer clients, which means fewer people (and their expectations) to manage (the piece I think is hardest for people in the juggling equation), and less to juggle.
If you're not there, getting there is what you want to work toward. Today's Bit O’Moxie gives some ways to do that:
1. Stop working with pay-as-you-go clients. Work on retainer only.
2. Raise the number of hours in your retainer to 10+ per month. If you want to change what's happening in your practice more quickly, do 20+ per month.
3. Raise your fees. Raise them significantly with new clients. Raise them appropriately with existing ones. Be willing to let go any clients who won't fit your new model.
4. Schedule everything. You cannot manage things that don't correspond to a date on the calendar and a time on the clock. "I'll have that for you in a few days" does nothing to help you organize, plan, or juggle priorities. It also doesn't allow you to manage client expectations.
5. Learn to be fully present in everything you do. Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking isn't a good thing, and decreases your productivity and quality of work. To be fully present, learn to be mindful. If you want help learning to do that, I heartily recommend this book: Staying Focused in the Age of Distraction.
6. A good course for managing multiple projects and deadlines is offered by Fred Pryor seminars. You can get info about it and see if it's coming to your area, here. I've taken it, and it was very much worth the time and money I spent.