The importance of preparation cannot be stated enough. Planning and preparation are not always the most fun daily activities but, a certain amount of time and effort is necessary to prevent stress and last-minute issues. You need to be active and plan to deliver.
Preparation is about doing work in advance to be ready for the next step. Allow yourself to approach situations with all the information you need beforehand. Your boss or client has to make critical decisions and contribute to significant business discussions. They need all the facts clear in their mind before they walk into a meeting to be effective in their role.
Do not just send some documents to their inbox. When it comes to big meetings, people need time to read through the information, draw conclusions and decide what questions they want to ask.
As a Virtual Assistant, you need to prepare the documents your boss or client needs. However, you also need to help them prepare by carving out some time in their calendar to read the information you have given them. To do this, you need to have planned and worked out what every task or meeting needs from your boss or client, so you can both fulfill your obligations.
Lack of preparation typically results in stress and anxiety because you have to provide documentation or solutions without the time you need to do it properly. When you are working ahead of time, you have time to do the job properly, think carefully about what you are doing, and get any extra information you need.
Planning allows you to prepare for meetings, events, and tasks before they are due and you need to work smart. It may seem like a waste of time, but preparation can make the difference between being productive and just being tired.
Here are six ways preparation can help you, and one common preparation mistake to avoid.
Whenever a new task, meeting date, or project comes across your desk, schedule some time in your calendar to prepare for it accordingly. Think about how you will achieve your objectives, what you need from other people to help you, and any challenges you have to deal with beforehand.
For a meeting, this might include a reminder to contact a colleague for a plan. For example, if you are involved in a new project, set aside time to read through the subject matter and determine what meetings or information you will need to complete your responsibilities.
You will spend much less time preparing if you learn to listen carefully to what your colleagues are saying. Listen to their opinions about projects and how things are working right now. You can then identify how this will impact your workload and the requirements of your boss or client.
Even with super-human preparation skills, you cannot avoid things occasionally going wrong or issues cropping up unexpectedly. However, you can learn to be quick and creative at problem-solving, so you are confident you can deal with any unexpected events quickly. One way of getting more effective at problem-solving is sparing time in your preparation to think about anything that could go wrong and what you will do if it does. You will soon be able to identify likely issues and develop a list of ways you will deal with them at the last minute.
Preparation helps you find if something is worth doing. Few things waste your time more than working on the wrong project. So it is wise to check first if something is worth doing. Is it the best use of your time and resources? Is there another project that can give you a better return on your investment? Spend time to find out whether or not the project is feasible. The time saved from not doing the wrong project far outweighs the time spent to research it.
Preparation helps you find the most efficient way to do things. Once you decide that a project is worth doing, the next step is finding the most efficient way to do it. Virtual Assistants who do not decide on the most efficient way will use the first method they can think of or ones with which they are familiar.
The chance is there are other methods out there that can do things better and faster, so do some research to find them. One good way is by watching how the best people in your fieldwork. Find several models and observe the advantages and disadvantages of their methods. Pay special attention to methods that are radically different from what you know. Then combine the best techniques to create something that suits your style and situation.
Preparation makes you ready when the opportunity comes, and you should not prepare yourself only when you have a project ahead. Even when there is no project, you should keep building your skills and knowledge. Keep learning, keep growing, and open your eyes. That way, when the opportunity comes, you will be ready to grab it.
Danger: you could be over-prepared. Being over-prepared is dangerous because you may then take action way too late or never take action at all. Even worse, some people use preparation as an excuse not to take action. Do not let this happen to you. Do only the preparation that significantly contributes to your project and your personal growth. Prepare well but do not over-prepare.
Remember: planning and preparation aren’t always the most fun activities in your day-to-day. However, a certain amount of time and effort is necessary to prevent stress and last-minute issues. You need to fulfill what you are accountable for in the workplace.
Do you see how the importance of preparation is essential to your daily tasks? Stick to our tips, and you’ll be killing it in no time!
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