Virtual diary management – how does it work?
22nd February 2010
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The role of the virtual assistant is so varied it’s nearly impossible to make a conclusive list of tasks – but the one thing VAs are likely to have in common is diary management for busy business owners.

Juggling the appointments of a busy executive requires diplomacy, patience, forward thinking, and a reliable and effective system. Technology has made huge advances in this area and a range of software is on the market for computers and portable devices like mobile phones. Google Calendar is easy to set up on your PC or laptop, it will automatically synchronise any changes you have made in Outlook with online version in Google. You can give your virtual assistant permission to view your Google calendar in Settings. And that’s all that’s required! If you use a Blackberry or iPhone – your device can have an up-to-date diary too so you know what you need to do when you are on the move.

It’s very helpful for scheduling. A virtual assistant can view multiple clients from her calendar, can email the appointments to your business partners and customers, can add notes, links to Google Maps for location, attach documents (agenda, minutes of previous meetings, action lists). It is a user-friendly, easy to use system with good options for listing tasks, colour coding and setting alarms.

What are the benefits of letting your VA coordinate your diary?

  • your VA can confirm all appointments in advance – to ensure that meetings take place as scheduled
    • You: can you please confirm all appointments for next week (takes 2 min to send a text message)
    • Your VA calls everyone, has a brief telephone conversation with everyone you are going to meet. One person takes a few attempts to get hold of. One person has to cancel – VA arranges a new appointment straight away. You receive a confirmation once it’s done.
  • your VA can collate all necessary paperwork, reports from other attendees, financial statistics or research data and email to all attendees
    • You: please send me and all board members the document pack – the same way as last meeting in January (via a text message or email)
    • Your VA will review what was sent last time, will check agreed actions from last meeting, ask for progress reports, collate updated stats on budget situation (or staffing numbers, or risks – whatever is the context), create a draft agenda and email the pack to all board members.
  • your VA can arrange new meetings on your behalf, book meeting rooms, venues, catering and travel (if needed)
    • You: please book me a 2h meeting in March in Leeds with Mr. Smith, Mr. Neo and Ms. Trinity, half day should be enough. I will travel there and back on the same day.
    • Your VA will find a date when all participants are free, will book a meeting, research and book a suitable meeting room with tea/coffee and lunch, collate and email everyone a pack of necessary documents (see above), book you a return train ticket which you will collect from the station before travelling.
  • your VA will make sure your time is used in the most efficient manner
    • You: you have a meeting in West London, then in Docklands, then in North London before attending a networking reception near Victoria. Result: you spend half of your time travelling between appointments.
    • Your VA will cluster the meeting in the same location, or book a meeting room for a day where you will meet with your clients or suppliers. If you regularly attend events and workshops then meetings in clients’ offices will be arranged around those commitments. Result: you have more time to network, talk to clients or get on with work.

Still in doubt? Give us a call on 0208 144 4594 to discuss your particular situation and see how we can make more time in your 24h day.

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About the Author

Tamara B

Member since: 8th May 2012

I'm a Virtual Assistant offering secretarial, book-keeping and social media marketing services to small businesses and self-employed professionals. I design and write e-newsletters, blogs, websites and...

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