Virtual Assistants: an Alternative Way for Women to Get It All Done
One of the biggest challenges we women face after child birth is that of childcare.
In India, some of us hire nannies but still live in a huge amount of guilt as we work through the day, worrying about groceries, fixing leakages and keeping up with our social engagements. We grapple with what is possible and what is impossible to humanly accomplish, hoping for miracles to happen and for an hour to be longer than it is.
Unable to keep up with this kind of pressure, many women leave the workforce, only to find that after a few years their self-esteem and self-confidence has taken a hit and that they feel terribly unproductive just managing home and kids.
Corporations all over the world are battling this phenomenon and are leaving no stone unturned in providing working mothers the support they need. The result is a marginal improvement in retention rates though no earth shattering results have been reported.
Having been through the journey of a working mother myself, I realize now that a lot of the ‘stress’ is really about not being able to manage the zillion of tasks that we believe must be completed. The game changer is the ‘task do-er’. These tasks must be done, that’s what we believe, but ‘not necessarily by us.’
What do I mean? Think about it. Honestly, I made time to think about it only when I got a coach and I realized, after listing out all the tasks I was doing in a day, that at least 40% of those tasks could easily be done by someone else.
The million dollar question, then is, by whom? While fathers might be busy at the time when they are needed or the domestic helpers may not be available and children may choose to be at their uncooperative best when the support system seems to be caving in.
Who does one turn to? Enter a Virtual Assistant.
Just to be clear, this is not a promotion for any organization or an individual. It is, in fact, a creative method deployed by smart women around the globe to manufacture bandwidth.
What do you do when you run out of groceries? You buy them. Why not buy bandwidth?
Virtual assistants might not be able to do everything you want to get done in a day with the same flair as you might, but guess what, they can do an awful lot.
They are available everywhere and because they are virtual, you can find one within your budget. A virtual assistant is a person whom you hire to outsource your work to. What kind of work, really depends on what you do. Say, you are in a full time job. A VA could do online grocery shopping for you, could search for birthday gifts and send you a few options and even call a plumber for you when you are not around. Say, you are an entrepreneur. What are the things that bog you down? Outsource them to a virtual assistant – be it maintaining your website or following up for payments or even pulling out the latest research for your newsletters. If you are a stay-at-home mom, drowning in overwhelm, a VA might help in getting some house related tasks off your plate while you are able to make more time for yourself.
Find it too expensive to hire a VA for yourself? Explore a share option. Many VA service providers offer flexible packages. If there is one way that money can buy you some peace of mind, this is it. Hiring a VA is a way of improving the quality of your life. You have to pay for it, but weigh the cost against the benefits you get.
Your time is precious. Why not make the most of it?
Namrataa Arora Singh is a Professional Coach and founder of Life Beyond Motherhood. Follow her on Twitter.