#157 [Web TV] How To Communicate Deadlines To Your Virtual Assistant

One of the biggest frustrations my VA Ferraiza and I had with each other was miscommunication over deadlines. I thought I had been very clear about which tasks were important and yet I obviously wasn’t, because sometimes there would be mix ups.

This would mean I’d be ranting and raving and she probably was too (though much politer).

So we both sat down (virtually) and came up with a solution.

It’s so simple and it works perfectly.

I share it with you today in this quick 3 minute video.

I’d love to hear your feedback so leave your thoughts under the video and please share with any of your friends who need some sanity.


P.S. My gift to you: Download the first 2 chapters of my new book Romance Your Tribe Online, plus great 20 minute interviews with wonderful Tribal Business Leaders who walk their talk. Over here at www.RomanceYourTribe.com










Hello and welcome, Janet Beckers here with your Wonderful Web TV tip of the week. And today I want to talk to you about traffic lights, specifically traffic lights and how you can use those when managing a team to make sure deadlines get met and communication is really clear.

Really, really simple. This is a technique that Ferraiza, my beautiful virtual assistant who lives in the Philippines so we do everything via the internet communication and myself.

We worked it out because sometimes I thought I’d been really clear that I want something done NOW or it didn’t really matter when it was done as long as it met a deadline, and I thought I’d been clear but obviously I haven’t been because we got mixed up.

So we’ve sat down together, virtually, and thought “what can we do to make it really clear?” This is what we came up with and it works really well — traffic lights.

So this is how we do it. 3 things, you’ve got RED, ORANGE and GREEN.

If I want something and I want it done in the next hour, when I delegate that in my list to her, the way I send it whether it might be Skype, email or usually via basecamp, our project managing software.

If I want it done in the next hour I will put at the beginning of that instruction CODE RED, so she knows drop everything, get this done. If I want it done in the next 4 hours, in the next half a day I’ll put CODE ORANGE. And if I want it done but it doesn’t really matter when it gets done as long as he deadline is met then CODE GREEN, I put that in the front.

Now if it turns out that I’ve set it so many code reds and code oranges that she’s never gonna get these code greens done, it’s her responsibility to let me know so we can work out which ones need to be priority.

It’s working really well and you know what she does the same things for me. If there’s something she want me to do that she can get her job done, or if there is something that she needs to remind me of that I’ve asked her to remind me of, she will actually send them to me with code red, code orange, code green.

So she’s using it to organize me as well, which is fantastic! I’d love to know, does this work for you? Have you tried something similar? Can you see how you can adapt it? Love to hear from you.

Okay, so leave your comments down below, that would be wonderful. And also if you’re not on my mailing list yet, and you’re watching this video, come and join me so that you can get one of these every week. The best way to do that is just fill in wherever you can see around here where there is a form for you to fill in.

And also if you would like to get a great resource of the first few chapters of my book and some great recordings of interviews with really fantastic leaders, examples of best practice, go to www.romanceyourtribe.com and you can get those few chapters of my brand new book. See you there! Bye!



  1. Great tip, Janet B!
    Though I don’t have a VA yet I will be well set up with your advice to hire on with confidence! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks JB for the ‘traffic light’ system. I’ll implement that with my VA.

    My problem is l don’t (yet) use Basecamp (or similar) so jobs are ‘posted (usually via Skype) and then they slip between the cracks and things just don’t get done.

    I know there’s jobs that were scheduled and they’ve never been done and in some ways you could argue that obviously they weren’t important….but what if they were (or are)?

    Cures my parents for not giving me the ‘systems’ gene.

    • Paul you need Basecamp.
      It lets your VA organise you too.
      Go and get it now. Go on. I’ll wait here for you.
      Then get your VA to set everything up for you with list and messages and calendars. They can take over setting it up and if they don’t know how, they can Google it.
      Go on.
      Have you done it yet?
      I’m waiting……….

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