Conquer Time: Use the One Touch Philosophy

Virtual assistants .. short on time lately? For effective time management, handle each email once!

As a busy virtual assistant juggling several clients, I am a firm believer in the “one touch” philosophy. When it comes to managing time and tasks, I find email can be one of technology’s greatest sources of procrastination. You open an email … read it …. decide if it can wait … flag it …. come back to it … and open it again. What does this mean to your virtual assistance business? Time is money and you are letting it tick away or spill over into your personal time.

Here is how I manage to handle email just once to make the most of business hours and keep my personal life … well … my personal life.

Don’t check email after hours

This is especially important if you work at home or have a tendency to be hard wired to your smart phone. There is the inclination to check email in the evening or on weekends because it will “just take a second.” But it never does and before you know it, valuable family and personal time slips away. With smart phones, it’s tempting to just take a quick peak during the evening and on weekends. So how many times after business hours do you find yourself checking email? Two, three, thirty or forty times? Mentally draw a line between work hours and time designated for friends and family.

Open it – handle it!

If an email warrants a quick reply, why put it off for later? If there is a task to be handled that requires more information like month end sales numbers, add it to your “to do” list with a timeline for completion, reply to the client on the course of action taken, and file away. I am a big believer in organization, so be sure to have a running task list or use software such as Asana to keep you organized, productive, and looking great with clients! Also put your software programs to work for you when there recurring email requests. For example, if you have daily, weekly, or monthly tasks where info is needed from other sources, schedule and automate your email requests so nothing slips through the cracks.

Do the Math

Now let’s take a look at the math so you can see why I have a one touch philosophy. If you spend just one minute each night checking email and then one more minute in the morning before you actually start work (and I’m being conservative here), that’s two minutes a day.

Add at least three more minutes spent on deciding what to do with the email to the initial two minutes. Now figure you have at least three messages to address instead of one and you have lost 15 minutes of your day or 1¼ hours for the entire week. Annualized, this calculation and it adds up to an astounding 65 hours of wasted time each year due to over handling email!


Don’t let email be the great time waster in your virtual assistance career. Adhere to the one touch philosophy to be more productive and successful.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: nile | CCO Public Domain