The Organized Virtual Assistant

August 21st, 2013

The Organized VA (3)Guest Blogger – Moreen Torpy

Virtual Assistants are invaluable in today’s online world. While the profession is still new to some, I’m sure those in the front lines are well aware.

Being organized is one of the most important attributes for a VA. You need to organize your marketing to recruit clients, invoicing, retention of client data, and so on. What if you lose your database?

Emergencies happen all the time, whether natural disasters such as floods, fires and the like, to theft, and computer breakdown. How do we deal with all or any of these? Here are some tips:

1. Backup your computer files. I can’t stress this enough. Simply having an external hard drive is not sufficient. What if you lose it in any way—fire, theft, another disaster? If you need the physical control, have two. One you’re using and another in your safety deposit box at your bank and exchange them regularly. In addition, I recommend an off-site service such as Mozy (http://bit.ly/12w6XYv). It’s affordable and you can schedule backups as frequently as you wish and recreate your business easily by accessing this backup. With different backup methods in place, you will protect your data under nearly any circumstance.

2. A good filing system is crucial. Whether you keep only digital files or a combination of digital and paper files, they must be organized. If you have a combination, name files the same way in both places, using the words that come to mind when you think about that topic. This personalized method will help you easily find the document you’re looking for without wasting time searching.

For paper files, I recommend listing them on a spreadsheet with keywords in addition to the file name so it’s easier to easily find what you need by doing a keyword search. Use as many keywords as you can think of when setting up the spreadsheet and add more as needed. This way you can find the file regardless of the subject you’re searching for. There may be a small detail you need that would not be obvious from the file’s title.

Use your computer’s search function to search by keyword and the file names will auto-populate. So much easier than trying to remember where something is saved!

Begin by creating master files with the client’s name, then specific project names for that client as sub-files. You might keep that client’s invoices with their personal file, or in a master invoice file, or both.

3. Schedule time to do all those tasks that fill your business and personal life. Without a schedule, you may forget to take breaks for meals, family time, social life away from the computer. You may also wish to schedule your time on social media (set a timer) so you don’t get lost socializing there to the detriment of your billable time.

4. Downsize the non-essentials. It’s too easy to accumulate non-essentials in our space. For peace of mind, eliminate them. Clutter takes different forms, from physical “stuff” occupying valuable space, to mental clutter and negative self-talk chattering away in our mind, distracting us from the task at hand. Eliminate them and focus on the positive. This can take effort, however it’s worth doing that work to be able to do your other work.

How will you organize your workspace to be more efficient? What can you downsize out of your office to increase the space you have to spread out what you’re actually working on?

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© 2013 Moreen Torpy

We would be honored for you to reprint this article. If you do, please include the resource box below with the hyperlinks intact.

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Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See http://www.GoForwardDownsize.com for more about the book including where to purchase it, and http://www.decluttercoach.ca to learn about her organizing services and other books.

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P.S. To purchase Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In, visit one of the quality booksellers here: http://www.goforwarddownsize.com/about-the-book/buy-the-book/