How to take time out of your business and switch off as a Virtual Assistant
Christmas might be a magical time of year, but it can also be incredibly stressful.
Trips to see Santa, endless Christmas shopping and visits from loved ones keep you busy enough, and that’s before you even think about your work.
As your own boss, taking time off from your business can be challenging. With ongoing projects, retainer clients and only yourself to rely on, sometimes it feels like you don’t have the time for a holiday.
And even when you manage to take time off, the pressure to maintain productivity, manage clients and ensure your business is still running smoothly can make it feel impossible to truly switch off.
But, taking time off from your business is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Although you have a lot of freedom and flexibility as a Virtual Assistant, you still need to regularly carve out time for holidays from work to rest and recharge.
So, with Christmas round the corner, here’s five steps to help you make sure you’re taking time out of your business and truly switching off over the festive season.
1. Plan ahead
Planning and preparation are key when taking any time away from your business. You need to make sure all ongoing projects, pending tasks, and client commitments are either completed or covered by somebody else before you finish. This could mean delegating work to other team members or to a trusted associate.
If this isn’t possible, you need to either complete projects before your time off, or reschedule deadlines for when you’re back.
2. Communicate with clients
Although you are your own boss now and can take time out whenever you want, you need to be professional about taking time off so that you actually have a business and clients to return to.
That means communicating clearly with clients about when you will be off, how long for and what will be happening with any ongoing work or projects. This helps them plan for your absence and manages their expectations of when you will be back. As long as your clients are aware of when you’re back, you can relax and enjoy your time off, knowing you will pick anything up on your return.
3. Automate where possible
There’s a number of tools and software that can automate certain tasks in your business to keep things ticking along even when you’re not working. Most social media platforms have a scheduling feature which allows you to maintain an online presence during your time off. You can also automate any invoices and set up autoresponders or chatbots to immediately inform anyone who gets in touch of your unavailability.
4. Turn off notifications
Constant pings and notifications can make it hard to disconnect from work. Mute email and social media alerts from your devices and set up an Out of Office or email autoresponder to let anyone who contacts you know when they should expect to get a response.
Silencing notifications doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your responsibilities; it just allows you to fully be in the moment and ensures you return to your business recharged and motivated.
5. Set clear boundaries
It’s so important to set clear boundaries with both yourself and your clients so that you can completely switch off and enjoy your break without interruptions. Don’t feel obligated to be available 24/7. Politely set expectations with clients about your response times during your break – and then make sure you’re respecting your own boundaries.
Avoid taking work calls, responding to emails or even opening your laptop at all!
Get some extra support from the VA Membership Group
Whether you’re a longtime VA or you’re just starting out, the VA membership support group offers 3 different levels to provide you with what you need to succeed and keep your business moving forward.
As well as access to training and resources to help you develop and grow your business, you also become part of a community of VAs all working together and supporting each other to achieve their goals!