Offloading tasks to a virtual 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 virtual assistant (VA) is using their time. You may even be wondering, “what is he or she doing all day?” Or, “is this worth the cost?”
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 create habits that fight procrastination and inefficiency.
It also helps you identify training gaps, inefficiencies and mismanaged priorities.
If you are new to working with a virtual assistant, it can be awkward to ask them to start tracking their time to show where they are spending their time. The conversation can imply that you don’t trust how they manage their time, or that they are inefficient. It may also make you feel like you are micromanaging.
However, this level of transparency is important if you want to make sure you are giving your VA the best tasks for their skillset, and that you are getting the maximum value out of their work.
Here are three 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 we verify the time estimates with 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 assistant shows hesitation about tracking their time, assure them that time tracking doesn’t have to be a logistical nightmare. Once they get used to starting and stopping the tracker between tasks, it really becomes second nature and you’ll both learn valuable lessons on where time is actually spent.
There are a number of free time trackers that we recommend virtual assistants use:
- 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.
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 team. While the practice may be awkward to initiate at first, you will soon become obsessed with the data and insights it generates, and wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
Ready to see where your VA 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 assistant spends their time and where they are focusing their efforts.