Author Brian Tracy has stated that the first hour of your day is the golden hour; the rudder that determines the course of the rest of your day. What do you do for the first hour of your day?
I questioned four of my favorite Virtual Assistants, who are experts in the Virtual Assistant field, about their successful business strategies. VAs are skilled professionals who provide administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and others who have more work to do than time to do it. Using the latest technology, VAs operate their online businesses from their own homes.
Plan, Organize Team & Write - I’m a morning person so the first hour of my day is always my best work. I plan my day well during that time, using a Daytimer and dividing the day into ½ hour increments of what needs done. I also try and organize my team and decide who will do what that day. I also ensure that my desk is cleared and free of clutter. I work better in those surroundings. I will look to emails, but not answer at that time unless it’s urgent. I love to write at this time. If anything needs proofed, that’s when I can do it best as I have a clear head and the day’s events haven’t started yet. Diana Ennen (Florida, USA) virtualwordpublishing.com
Email & Voice Mail - My first hour of work always determines the course of my day. No surprise that messages – email and voice mail – are the first items on my agenda. It is normally these items that set the day’s schedule. I’m a firm believer in prioritizing the day’s work within that first hour and making a list of the items that are urgent, semi-urgent and items that can wait. Of course as we know in this profession, items can come up unexpectedly, so I plan for this by allowing myself a little wiggle room and then if nothing does come up…I have some “me time”. Michelle Jamison (Ontario, Canada) mjva.ca
Networking - During the first hour of my day, I spend time motivating myself for the day ahead by networking with others in the business of working virtually. I grab a cup of tea, relax and read forum and elist posts from other Virtual Assistants that interest me and may help my business succeed even further. It never fails, I will always find a topic from these posts that may teach me something new or it may just get me thinking about an opinion surrounding a comment which inspires me throughout the rest of my day. Tawnya Sutherland (British Columbia, Canada) vanetworking.com
Walk My Dog - My typical first hour consists of taking my dog for a walk – yes, I see this as an important element of the day because it helps transition my thoughts from home-life to work and gets the blood circulating. When I return, I’m flush from the exercise and enjoyment of talking with someone who is always positive and receptive to hearing my thoughts. Once in my office, I tackle the tons of emails I’ve received overnight, and begin setting up and sending work to clients. Actually, the first three hours of the day are golden, because those are “my hours” (5 a.m. to 8 a.m.), when I can develop my agenda and start working on my daily “to do” list. Once 8 o’clock hits, the phones are ringing and the office is at the beck and call of our myriad of clients. Sharon Williams (Maryland, USA) the24hoursecretary.com
So how are you spending the first hour of your day? With a new year just days away, perhaps it’s time to reflect on your past business practices and try something new. Will it be planning out your day, answering emails, connecting with others, walking your dog, or even making those difficult telephone calls?