5 Essential Tools for Achieving Laser Focus as a VA

Productivity & Time Management
March 3, 2024
3 minutes
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In today’s world where every other app or software is vying for people’s attention, distraction is easy and focus is hard to come by.

You’re just checking a notification and the next thing you know, you’re already spending 30 minutes reading lengthy posts and leaving comments.

This is true to assistants too, especially to assistants. Being an assistant means you get a constant flow of information, tasks, or notifications coming in every hour. But the job is really that. We don’t have the luxury of a no-distraction 4-hr flow like other people.

So, how do I do it?

The answer is tools.

TOOLS are just God-given gifts to online assistants and here are my favorite tools that have tremendously helped me become more focused at work and made me less overwhelmed.

1. Arc (by the Browser company)

Arc is the best web browser I've used so far. I’ll write an in depth review of this tool in the coming days but here’s the reason why I’m in love with it. This browser blocks ads by default. Yes, when you download it, it already comes with an ad blocker extension so you can browse peacefully without being distracted by ads. It also helps that the sidebar can be hidden. In arc, the sidebar - where all the open/active tabs, favorite links, and bookmarked websites are - is on the left side compared to the traditional top. It comes with a built-in screen capture tool, notes, and a canvas among other things. I’m a sucker for apps that let me do things without switching to another app so finding this browser is a major win.

Arc is..quite unfortunately, only available for iOS FOR now. Windows is on the works though. There are windows alternative like Opera.

Pricing: FREE | Website: https://arc.net/

Try it for yourself here

1. Tabs can be toggled 2. Split view 3. Youtube Mini player (arrow)

2. Pomodoro Timer

The Be Focused timer is pretty straightforward: you set an interval for work and break time and turn it on. This is the almost similar with other pomodoro timer apps on AppStore and PlayStore. This straightaway helped me stay focus on one or two things at a time instead of aimlessly trying to finish a 25-minute task in a span of 3 hours. It's easy to use and no other unnecessary extra. It allows blocking of websites so if you're one to check out other website (facebook) while working, so this will help you not get too much distracted.

Be Focused on AppStore | Pricing: Free or Paid

My pomodoro timer

3. Notion

Well, I couldn’t shut up about Notion, and for a good reason. I'm a sucker for tools that streamlines my work, Notion is that for me. It’s a note taking tool and can be a task management app too. When I'm working on my laptop, Notion is always open so that when I have something that I need to save for later reading, I can easily do so. Special mention to this extension called “save to notion” for making saving any article link a breeze. Notion is available both on iOS and Windows and has a free version - as if I need more reason to I love it.

Start using Notion | Pricing: Free

TEE's Notion Homepage

4. Cron calendar

Calendaring is something every assistant should master. But the problem with some of the main calendars we’re using at work (like google calendar) is they’re so basic. Cron, on the other hand, is far from basic. With Cron, you can add up to 4 different timezones all the same time. This is perfect for people working with a remote team and has to juggle with different timezones. In helps reduce the email or scheduling pingpong because t allows you choose your available times and give a link for people for them to pick the time that works for them. So it also serves like calendly.

Get started with Cron here | Pricing: Free

Image from cron.com

5. Stickies

Good old sticky notes app. There’s no way any assistant can survive without this. My sticky note is one of those apps that I almost never close. It's also one of those tools that do not seem important but they actually help. When I start my workday, it’s one of those apps that I open first to help me get ready for the day. It’s simple and straightforward - no fuss and helps me get things done.

Pricing: Free

My actual stick note :D 

So there you go - 5 apps/tools that helped me become better as an Online Executive Assistant because they help me focus and be less distracted. The less tool switching the better.

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I'm Jelly, main writer and owner of TEE, and I've been a VA for more than 10 years now. The Executive Enabler has been created in the hopes to help and guide new VAs in their journey.

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