Businesses need to be productive to stay afloat. The financial costs of having an unproductive office can be devastating to a company’s bottom line. There are several reasons for this unproductivity, and among the biggest things killing productivity are those tedious, time consuming tasks you could offload to a virtual admin assistant.
Productivity Killers At Work
A recent study found that the average worker is only productive for 3 hours out of an 8-hour workday. That’s a pretty sobering statistic. Some experts argue that people can only be productive for a maximum of 5 hours at a time.
And even if you have the right mindset and are concentrating hard on a project, you’re still not immune from productivity killers. So what exactly are these productivity killers? Here are some of the most common culprits:
1. Administrative Tasks
We all have them – those little tasks that need to be done, but don’t necessarily contribute to our overall goals. Answering emails, scheduling appointments, and returning phone calls are all examples of administrative tasks that can quickly eat up our time.
The best way to deal with these types of tasks is to batch them together. Dedicate a specific block of time each day to dealing with all of your emails, phone calls, etc. That way, you can power through them and get them out of the way so you can focus on more important things. You could also hand this task off to a virtual admin assistant. That way, you can focus on the tasks that matter most.
2. Social Media
Social media is a huge productivity killer, both at work and in our personal lives. It’s so easy to get sucked into scrolling through our feeds for hours on end. And even when we’re not actively using social media, the constant notifications can be a major distraction.
If you find yourself getting pulled into social media throughout the day, there are a few things you can do to combat it. First, try using a site blocker like Freedom or StayFocusd. These tools will block access to specific websites or apps for a set period, so you can’t get distracted by them.
Second, turn off all notifications on your phone and computer. That way, you’re not constantly being bombarded with updates that can pull you away from what you’re supposed to be doing.
You could also hand off your business’ social media accounts to a social media virtual assistant, who will make and schedule posts, monitor your social presence, and engage with your community on your behalf.
Interruptions are another major productivity killer, both at work and at home. Whether it’s a colleague dropping by your desk to chat, a meeting that goes long, or a personal phone call, any type of interruption can break our concentration and throw us off course.
To deal with interruptions, it’s important to set boundaries. Let your colleagues know that you’re not available for impromptu chats during certain hours of the day. And when you’re in a meeting, make it clear that you’re not to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency.
Perfectionism is another common productivity killer. We often spend so much time trying to perfect something that we never actually get it done. This is especially true when it comes to writing. We can spend hours tweaking a sentence or paragraph, only to end up right where we started.
If perfectionism is holding you back, try setting a time limit for each task. For example, give yourself 30 minutes to write an email or report. Once the time is up, move on to something else. This will help you get things done without getting bogged down in the details. You might also find that handing off the task to a virtual admin assistant frees you from nitpicking. When delegating, choose someone who is an expert at the thing you’re handing off.
Multi-tasking is another productivity trap that we often fall into. We think that by doing two things at once, we’ll be able to get them both done more quickly. But in reality, multi-tasking just slows us down and makes us less productive.
If you want to be more productive, focus on one task at a time. Turn off all distractions and give your full attention to the task at hand. You’ll be surprised at how much quicker and easier it is to get things done when you’re not trying to do them all at once.
Be Productive & Hire a Virtual Admin Assistant
There’s no denying that these productivity killers can have a major impact on our work. But there are ways to combat them. By batching administrative tasks, setting boundaries, and focusing on one task at a time, we can start to take back control of our time and be more productive.
You could also hire a virtual admin assistant. A virtual assistant can take care of all of your administrative tasks, so you can focus on more important things. They can also help with social media, scheduling, and a variety of other tasks.
If you’re looking for a way to be more productive, hiring a virtual assistant is a great option. With a virtual assistant on your team, you can finally start getting things done without all the distractions.
The Time a Virtual Admin Assistant Frees Up
Having a virtual admin assistant lets you focus on your core tasks and prevents you from wasting time on productivity killers. In the next section, let’s dissect exactly how an admin assistant frees up your schedule.
Making Calls – 8 minutes/call – at least 1 hour
An appointment with a prospect can lead to a conversion, or it could be a non-event. Either way, you can’t do without it–it’s a necessary part of lead management. What’s more, when you schedule a demo or a meeting with a prospect, you can’t simply ask for information and then end the call.
To successfully set an appointment, you must spend time building rapport and nurturing the connection, which could take up to 8 minutes. This is around the same amount of time it takes to warm up a cold lead and get them to agree to a next appointment. At this rate, cold calling and appointment setting would easily take at least 5 hours of your work week.
Responding to customer queries – varies
What’s even harder to quantify than cold calling is customer service calls. There’s no gauging how short or long a customer call takes. Some are calling just because they have a clarification.
Others are inquiring about services they would like to know more about. And there are customers who have concerns and complaints that they want to air out. Taking calls like these eat up an uncertain number of hours per day, but you can’t leave them unanswered–it’ll be bad for business.
Proofreading documents – 1 to 2 hours
Writing a report, making a proposal, publishing a blog post—all of these things take up plenty of time. From researching the topic to actually writing about it, these tasks consume a lot of brain power.
By the time you finish writing, the last thing you’d want to do is go over the document again and edit it. But that’s exactly what you need to do to keep your work to a level of polish and professionalism expected from a business.
Dedicating an hour for each document you make would help you catch major spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in your first draft. If you’re in a role that produces plenty of written output, that means several hours of your workday lost to revising and editing.
Data entry – about 1 hour/day
Even simple tasks like entering information into a database, CRM tool, or spreadsheet eats up time! When you do data entry, you need to be sure that you’ve spelled names correctly, attributed the right position and contact details to each person, and have accurate notes about them.
Furthermore, you need to update your databases regularly. People get promoted, change departments, or leave jobs all the time. Looking up people and verifying their information seems like a quick task, but having to do that for multiple entries will add up. Expect to spend at least 1 hour per day on data entry.
Inbox management – more than 2 hours/day
In a McKinsey analysis, research shows that employees spend an average of 2.6 hours a day on reading and answering emails. That’s about 120 messages per person, per day–which could take a toll on anyone, especially someone who’s doing a thousand other things at once.
That’s a lot of hours, but note that these aren’t the only admin tasks an office might need to do. So, seeing how all of these already easily take up 6 hours in a day, it makes sense to hire a virtual admin assistant. Having a VA lets you say goodbye to these time consuming must-do’s.
Find the Best Virtual Admin Assistant in No Time
Admin tasks are notorious for slowing down efficiency. You can’t get rid of them, but they don’t contribute directly to your company’s bottom line. Having a virtual admin assistant helps you focus on income-generating tasks without letting admin to-do’s fall to the wayside.
It’s easy to find the best virtual admin assistant for yourself if you know what the choices are. You could go for freelance VAs, but it’s always better to get your virtual admin assistant from a managed solution like Wing. We take care of vetting and screening your VA, so you know you’ll be working with a capable and highly skilled professional.
Get in touch with us today to learn more!
Aya is Wing Assistant’s blog manager. When she’s not wrangling content briefs, editing article drafts and handling on-page SEO, she is crafting messages for Wing’s other communication materials. Aya writes about SaaS startups, marketing for startups, search engine optimization, and pop culture.