How Do You Handle Multiple Requests At Once?

I get this question so often from prospective clients that I thought it was time to think of a good response.  My gut answer is, “I don’t know.  I just do.”

I understand that answer is completely less than adequate for anyone that is not as organized as I am.  Or, even if they are organized, perhaps they focus more on project work than barrages of requests.

Organize flow chart virtual assistantI’m lucky that I am born with some kind of gene that not only gives me my type A personality, but it also granted me awesome scheduling and organizing skills.  When I was thinking about the career I wanted to go in, I knew that it should be something where I could schedule and organize to my heart’s content.  I love lists and figuring out project management tools (my latest favorite is Glip, check it out!).  Originally I thought event planning was  for me, but I soon settled on being an Executive Assistant because I loved that I could have event planning as part of the job, but it wasn’t all of it.  Most of my business focuses on calendar management, travel coordination, scheduling social media updates, research, and event planning.  I love it!  Variety and lots of tasks to organize.

But with multiple clients, how do I handle all these requests constantly coming in?

Every morning, before I start the day, I create a to-do list of everything I know I need to get done.  This is what my to-do list looked like yesterday:

  • Client A –  travel research. Book if confirmed.
  • Client A – research on renewing license.
  • Client B – travel research. Book if confirmed.
  • Client D – schedule blog posts. Create images for blog posts.
  • Client F – All outstanding work.
  • Gifts for new clients.
  • Email prospective client.

Did that all have to be done yesterday?  No.  But knowing Client A and Client B were on my Gold package, gave me the incentive to get it done first thing.

I have different tiers of packages that my clients are on: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  No matter what, checklist to do virtual assistantGold package clients come first because they signed up to get quick and speedy attention from me.  Within those Gold clients, there is a certain urgency with each task.  If someone is traveling and a flight is delayed or canceled, that would take precedence over tomorrow’s meeting that needs to be rescheduled by another client.  If there are no travel delays, I handle requests depending on the urgency or prompt need for them.  I have never had two requests come in at the same time with the exact same urgency.  Maybe I’m lucky, but more likely that’s just the way it works.

As requests continued to come in yesterday, when they were taken care of by urgency, I was able to look back at this list and continue working on what I knew had to be done.  My goal as a Virtual Assistant is make sure that everything is made note of at least once and completed within 48-72 business hours.  It’s also just part of my personality – I hate leaving items on my to-do list for too long.

Along with my daily to-do list, I use the project management system Asana.  It’s in this PM tool that I keep track of all the short and long-term projects.  You’ll notice that both Client C and Client E were not on the above to-do list.  That’s because my work for them involves longer term projects. I work on those when I know the day has a smaller to-do list and I can devote more time to their tasks.

Lastly, I make sure that my email for Gold and Silver clients remain open at all times.  Gold clients even get the added benefit of having their email on my phone, in case I’m out of the house. No matter what, I see their request as soon as it comes in and know where it falls in terms of urgency.  Does it need to be done now?  Or can it wait until tomorrow’s new to-do list?  All items, no matter how big or small gets added into Asana and checked off when it’s done.

I’m very organized and a lot of it is going on in my head and filtered through various processes before it even gets to Asana or my daily written to-do list.

But, you know, it also all goes back to my genetics.  Guess I’m just lucky to have been born with these skills ingrained into me.

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Want to know more about working with a Virtual Assistant? Check me out at DependableVA.