Virtual administrative professionals know that if you aren’t working, you aren’t making money. However, putting your health at risk, both physical and emotional, you are more than likely going to experience some form of burnout.
Virtual administrative professionals are at an increased risk for becoming burnt out and overwhelmed from their workload.
How can you prevent burnout or handle it if you’ve already started feeling it? And how can you do so without causing strain on your relationships with your clients? Below are 8 tips to follow when you start feeling like you can’t take it anymore.
No virtual assistant wants to say “no” to a client, but it’s important to do so. You can’t always say “yes” because you’ll wind up overloading yourself with work and that can cause problems all around. Being too committed to clients is a big cause of burnout and it can be avoided. If you know how much work you can take on without being overwhelmed, don’t take on any more than that. If you’re feeling burnt out it’s okay to be choosy with projects and you can always tell clients that you’re not available for new work at the moment and that you can get started on their project after you have an available spot.
Catch up on some “Power of No” posts 🙂
Time off doesn’t necessarily mean a two week vacation, but if that’s what you need, you can do that too! However, even setting a day every week where you don’t work or taking the weekend and doing something for yourself are great ways of setting some limits so you can manage or avoid burnout. When you come back after that break, you’ll be ready to get back to work with a refreshed and clear mind. Sure you can bring your electronics, but try to be as unplugged as possible. Go check out Mother Nature! Time off should be to relax and not think of work and if you can’t stop yourself from checking those emails through the day, then you should ditch the electronics for a bit.
Undoubtedly one of the greater perks of being a virtual assistant is that you set your own hours. However, the problem with that is that if you become too committed, you wind up working strange hours all over the place. Set goals and establish a schedule and work with that. What is your current project? When do you need to turn it in? Break big tasks in to smaller more workable tasks so that you can get them done easier. Writing down your schedule will help you stick with it and know when you have some time off for yourself.
You can always ask for help if you find you’re getting burnt out or overwhelmed. Having an outsiders opinion can give you a fresh perspective and even if all they do is proofread your work or listen while you vent (hey, there’s a great community for that), there’s never any shame in asking for help. You can also outsource to other VAs to help you get some of the work done.
No matter how much you love your work, doing the same thing every single day gets boring and exhausting. If you’ve spent a lot of time with just one client, then it’s time to learn something completely new. You can take an online class monthly on a site like Skillshare to learn a new skill or maybe even go to a local class once a week to broaden your horizons.
Don’t think of it as taking a step back. You are taking a step forward with a sabbatical.
Learning something new is a great way to relieve some stress and can help your professional life as well as your personal life. Burnout affects all areas of your life, avoiding it can be helpful in all areas as well. Having a side project to keep your skills sharp is definitely something worth recommending. Knowing where your clients are coming from and being on the same page is highly beneficial.
People forget how important it is to get enough sleep. If you aren’t getting an adequate amount, your health, memory, and creativity are at risk. Getting plenty of sleep also reduces stress levels. Aim for 8-10 hours of quality sleep every night. Of course there will be nights when you’re crunching to meet that deadline, and that’s okay, but try to get as much sleep as possible whenever possible.
Do whatever you need to do to eliminate the stress in your life. That could mean getting some exercise or firing a client that is too demanding in the workplace. If you let it all build up, it will eventually take its toll on your mind and body. This leads to burn out, so cut out the stress as soon as you notice it starting to wear on you. The sooner, the better.
It isn’t hard to get completely caught up with your work, but you can’t work all the time. It’s invaluable to have a life that takes place after work hours. Go out with friends or spend time out of the house with the kids. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it has nothing to do with work or working. Enjoy your life and have fun. When you get back to the office, you’ll be more relaxed and ready to work instead of dreading it and getting burnt out from all the constant hours of work.
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: PeterKraayvanger | CCO Public Domain