Virtual Assistants – Your Email Overload Savior!
Virtual Assistants and Google products: a match made in heaven. Right? Well, it can be, but only if the client is willing to invest a bit of time initially. Gmail and Google Calendar are excellent tools when virtually managing someone’s email and scheduling. I have not found better options. A wise client will listen to your suggestions, and will take the time to offer feedback and clarity, and answer any questions the virtual assistant may have. In exchange, the reward far outweighs the effort. A skilled, professional VA (virtual assistant) can help a client achieve Inbox Zero in anywhere from 1 week to 3 months. This time parameter depends entirely on the complexity and amount of email and scheduling requests that the client gets, coupled with the willingness of the client to offer a template or framework of how they like things handled.
So many times I have seen clients who think we have a magic wand. They don’t want to take the time to expend any thought or effort, yet they want a clean, managed inbox and all pending appointments scheduled! It simply will not happen this way. Or, it will but pandemonium will arise. I have seen it happen 🙂 You can equate this situation to the concept of building a house. How can you expect your building contractor to build you the house of your dreams if you have not shared with him pertinent information related to your vision of that dream home?
I caution all new Virtual Assistants who offer these services to develop a worksheet in which you ask new clients specific and targeted questions about their email and scheduling preferences. I would also get them to sign this document. Only then will you have the information that is necessary to effectively and efficiently manage their email and calendar.
Some examples of questions that you can ask for your worksheet are:
- What days and hours do you take appointments?
- How far apart do you like appointments?
- What is your “top ten” list for those who get scheduling preference?
For email management:
- Are there emails that you want to handle yourself, personally?
- Are there newsletters that you would like to un-subscribe from?
- Would you like me to delete emails that I deem time wasters?
- Is there a specific time of day that you want me to check your inbox?
I develop a customized email management and scheduling plan for all of my clients. This plan is custom tailored to their individual needs and preferences, but only if they participate in the feedback. If they do not participate, and still ask you to manage these things for them, they can actually feel more overwhelmed and stressed than before they hired you!
It takes a village. Actually, not really. Just a dedicated virtual assistant and a client who is willing to entrust that assistant and invest just a bit of initial time.
How do you handle email and scheduling management?
Author bio: Taryn Merrick is a Professional Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager (OBM). As Principal of Merrick Management And Media Services, she has over 20 years of administrative management experience. Taryn works to promote the Virtual Assistant industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Her style is easy going, yet precise, with emphasis placed on exceeding customer expectations, client communication and satisfaction.
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