Balancing your home and work lives can be a challenge as a Virtual Assistant.
Many of us chose to work from home so we could be more available for our family, but then the balancing act can be a struggle as we try to figure out how to do both well.
Putting some rules in place that you follow – and that you ask others to follow as well – will help a lot.
There is a fine line that you need to be aware of. On one hand, you need to be sure you aren’t fitting work into pockets of time around everyone else’s schedule – you could end up working every waking hour of the day while taking on a full-time role in the household as well.
Prioritize your business
You need to respect your business and make it a priority in your schedule – if you want to build a sustainable business that will allow you to continue staying at home, you have to block time out to work, and then do other things around it (not the other way around).
I used to work through the evening or late at night, and managed everything in the house during the day, but as my business got a lot more hectic, this was very hard to manage.
Set a schedule
The first thing I did was to set a working schedule and stuck to it. Now I work in my office during business hours, and I leave the household chores to after work, just as though I was working outside the house.
By doing that I now get a lot more done during the day, and I don’t have to work at night. My evenings are reserved for family and personal time.
When you are setting up your work schedule, make sure it fits into the business hours you have set for yourself. It’s okay to occasionally work late, but if you are constantly finding that you have more work than time, then perhaps it’s time to get some help – subcontractors can help you double your workload (and billable time!) without adding more time to your already full schedule.
If you aren’t quite ready for that kind of help yet, make sure you are respecting yourself and your personal time. It’s no one else’s fault if you constantly take on more work than you have time to do in your business day!
Getting help with the home chores is also necessary. Everyone can pitch in, no matter what their age is. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
Set boundaries and expectations
Be sure your family understands when you are working and when you are not. If you need to post your business hours on your office door, do it. Give them the information they need to help you stick to your own rules.
It is also important to ensure that your clients know your availability. If they aren’t sure when you are on the clock, they might cross boundaries without realizing it. And if you respond to them outside of your business hours, confusion can set in.
Book in downtime
Balancing your business with your life (family or just your own personal time!) is really important to avoid burnout, to keep creativity active and to just make you a well-rounded VA.
The ‘down’ time is essential to keeping you rested, refreshed and ready to look at new and exciting ways to improve your business.
Be clear and follow your own rules to keep everyone on the same page.
Although sometimes you might think it’s a vicious circle, if you stop to check how you are doing at balancing things, you can adjust where required. And that makes everyone happy!
What are you doing to balance your schedule and your life?
Tracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.