Offloading tasks to a virtual Executive Assistant is the best way to get valuable hours back in your day to spend on money-making activities. But once you pass the baton for things you are used to handling, it can be scary to know exactly how your executive assistant (EA) is using their time. Especially in a remote environment, you may find yourself wondering, “what is he or she doing all day?” Or, “is this worth the cost?”
Enter: Time tracking.
Time tracking is an easy way to increase transparency and gain peace of mind.
As a business practice, time tracking is an invaluable way to generate data for project budgeting, manage scope creep, and to create habits that fight procrastination and inefficiency.
Time tracking also helps you identify training gaps, inefficiencies and mismanaged priorities. For example, if it takes your EA four hours to do something that normally takes you two, you know that they might need more direction or training to improve their efficiency!
If you are new to working with a virtual Executive Assistant, it can feel awkward to ask them “How are you spending your time?” The conversation can insinuate that you don’t trust how your EA manages their hours, or that they are inefficient.
It may also make you feel like a micromanager…which we know you don’t want to be!
However, you need transparency for your own peace of mind and to make sure you are giving your EA the best work for their skillset. Plus, you want to make sure that you’re getting the maximum value out of their work!
Here are 3 ways to bring up time tracking in an honest and respectful way:
- “I’ve committed to quarterly budgets for our projects. Can you please track your time so I can verify the time estimates with the actual time spent on tasks?”
- “I want to make sure that what I have delegated to you is the best use of your time and talents. Can you please start time tracking to help me gain a clearer picture of how long certain tasks are taking you?”
- “I’ve begun to use time tracking as a way to measure my efficiency. Would you join me in time tracking so I can identify ways to improve our processes and close training gaps?”
If your virtual Executive Assistant shows hesitation about tracking their time, assure them that this process doesn’t have to be a logistical nightmare. Once they get used to starting and stopping the timer between tasks, it really becomes second nature.
In time, you’ll both learn valuable lessons on where time is being spent and how to work more productively.
There are a number of free time trackers that we recommend to virtual Executive Assistants:
- Toggl – a simple and free time tracker that has robust reports and works on all devices.
- SlimTimer – time tracking of tasks you can share with others, with report generation.
- Hours – real-time tracking made easy with a running list of timers you can switch between, a timeline feature, and nimble reporting.
- ezClocker – a highly rated time tracking and scheduling app that offers a free plan for the first employee and just $10 for 15 employees.
Our team uses Everhour, which integrates with Asana project management. If you assign work through a project management software, explore its time-tracking integrations. This will let you start and stop the clock at the task, subtask or project level!
It’s amazing how small process changes can make a big difference in communication. Once you incorporate time tracking into your standard operating procedures, it will become second nature to you and your EA.
While the practice may be awkward to initiate at first, you will be grateful for the data and insights it generates — and will wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
Ready to see where your EA is spending their time while growing your business? From time tracking to weekly wrap-up reports, Priority VA ensures you are provided with a bird’s-eye view of exactly how your virtual Executive Assistant spends their time and where they are focusing their efforts. To take the next step in growing your team with fractional Executive support, schedule a free 30-minute strategy call.