Smart Tips for Healthy Working as a Virtual Assistant
Do you find yourself getting lost in Virtual Assistant work and not taking breaks or eating proper meals?
When you are working from home, without the coworkers popping over to your desk or office to chat, it can be easy to forget to take breaks.
It is sometimes a chore to remember to eat!
But it’s important for your body to ensure that you are paying attention to these things, to keep yourself in optimum health, and away from the physiotherapist’s office!
Here are 7 ways you can start to look after yourself better while still being a busy VA:
Time yourself and schedule breaks.
You know what I’m talking about – you need to set a timer for things that you get lost in, and make sure you set a timer to remind you when to stop working.
Set an alarm on your phone. Even better, set it across the room so you have to get up!
It is important to get up at least once every hour to get away from the desk and the computer. When you get up, do some light stretching with your arms and shoulders and neck. If possible, get outside for a little fresh air.
Ensure proper ergonomics setup of your desk.
A well designed work station is something I didn’t focus on enough in the beginning of my business. I ended up with repetitive strain injury in my elbows because of it – a few hundred dollars later, I know better!
Be sure your chair is a good one (especially if you work full time!), and keep your feet on the floor in front of you. Be sure to have your keyboard on a sliding drawer that you can bring towards you.
Your mouse should be beside your keyboard, so you don’t have to reach ahead for it. Your monitor should be at eye level so you look straight ahead at it. Be sure to have proper task lighting as well. All simple but essential.
If you use a laptop, be sure to set up a workstation on a desk or table.
Despite the name ‘laptop’, it is very bad for your posture to sit in the recliner and use your laptop (hey, we all do it!).
Be sure to set up a proper workstation for your laptop, and use the ergonomic rules above for it as well. A desk is always best, with an external keyboard if you can – it goes a long way to your comfort.
Do not eat at your desk.
This is a biggie. Sometimes the only time we can take a break is when it’s a mealtime or teatime.
And if we feel that we have a lot to get done, it is so tempting to sit back down at our desk and consume it there. But it’s so bad for you – energetically, too.
When it is time for a meal or a snack, be sure to enjoy it away from your desk. You will not save very much time by eating at your desk and you will enjoy it more if you can read the paper or just look out the window while you eat.
You will also tend to eat less if you don’t snack at your desk.
Drink plenty of water.
It can be easy to drink coffee all day long, but it’s not the best beverage choice.
Enjoy a cup in the morning away from your desk and then switch to water or herbal tea.
I’m okay with drinking at your desk – otherwise we would all be dehydrated! But losing track of what you are drinking is common, and coffee isn’t that great for you.
Resist the temptation to microwave it to reheat hot beverages. If you can’t drink it while it’s hot, you really don’t want it.
Despite the short commute, pretend you are really headed to the office.
When you are getting set to work for the day, treat it like you are going to the office.
Take a shower, brush your teeth and hair and get dressed for your day at work.
You don’t have to get the knee high boots or high heels out, but if you start your day as though you were headed to any other office, you will be more focused and alert and you will feel more like you are at work.
Routines are really helpful when you work from home and your morning one can really help to set the tone for your day.
Avoid distractions, and keep chores separate.
Distractions are the biggest issue when you are working from home.
In order to maintain your sanity with your family or with personal distractions at home (i.e. laundry, phone calls, grocery shopping, visits from friends or family, and so on), be sure to set a schedule that you will work, and save all of the other tasks for times outside your work schedule.
Throwing a load of laundry in is certainly okay, but don’t plan to go out for groceries in the middle of your work day.
I get a lot of pushback with that suggestion – and yes, you can set your own schedule when you work from home – but if you take time out of your business day to do personal things, you will end up working during your personal time to catch up on business things.
And finally, a bonus tip for you: be sure to set yourself up with a supportive community of VA colleagues. Being able to share, vent, cheer, and take breaks is an essential part of being a happy business owner.
By taking care of yourself with these simple suggestions, you will be thanking your body for putting in those long hours, and for helping you to balance life and home.
It’s not hard, each of the suggestions is quite simple, but it takes practice and repetition to master those habits.
What you should do next:
If you need help with working smarter and taking care of yourself, the CEO of your business, look no further than your VA community!
An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more.
Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/
About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. She also owns CAVA VA association and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.