It’s the summer time and the weather is hot!

Happy summer everyone. Yes it’s that time of year when we need to put down the tools of our trade and take a breather.

summer-fun-list

Happy summer everyone. Yes it’s that time of year when we need to put down the tools of our trade and take a breather. As busy self-employed professionals many online assistants find it hard to find the time to take a break. There are many reasons for this lack of taking care of ourselves, the main one being that if we don’t work we don’t get paid. Though this saying is true look at it from the other side, “If you don’t take a break you can’t work when you’re burned out or sick.”

When I first started working as an online assistant a few years ago taking time off was one of the hardest things to do. You’re always looking for the next project, or lining up the next client so that you have a consistent flow of work. While it’s good to have work and clients lined up to keep you going and money coming in we also need to know that a break is a good thing. After the first 6 months of working almost non-stop I realised that taking a break was as good for me and my business as it was for my family and my clients. When you’re tired from working all the time you start to make mistakes, they maybe small but they are still mistakes. Nothing is worse than sending a client a project and it’s not exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Not being up to full strength personally or physically is the main reason why I always advocate for online assistants to take a break, and the summer is one of the best times to do this. The summer time is a natural break time in the year, it’s halfway through the year and it’s the time when many  businesses, universities and clients tend to slow down their own workflow for various reasons. Taking advantage of this natural lull in workflow is a great way to recharge yourself. I you don’t want to take a week or two off working, you can take the weekends off or have long weekends during the summer. Once you notice you’re workflow starting to slow down start organizing yourself to begin taking breaks.

As I mentioned previously taking advantage of the natural lulls in industry workflow is a great indicator for when to take a break from work. I take advantage of the slow times during the holiday seasons like Easter, Summer and Christmas as these times tend to be slow. I also take alternate weekends off work throughout the year. I like working weekends but I don’t like tying up all my weekends with work so a happy medium is to take two weekends off during the month. This can be done by alternating the weekends which works fine with me.

With that said take some time to recharge yourself and enjoy your summer with your family and friends.

Happy summer.

 

 

 

 

How to stay healthy while working at home

Most at-home workers feel that they are immune from many of the health concerns that office workers face – we do not share a packed office floor, we do not need to ride in crowded trains, and we do not have to worry about shaking a lot of hands. But we are still at risk like everyone else, only unlike the office worker we don’t get paid sick days. Here are some easy to implement tips to staying healthy while working from home.

Hi There

I came across this article for healthy working at home. It is quite interesting and makes good reading and tips for us virtual assistants working from home.

It is true that we don’t schedule in some things like breaks so take heed. There are some good tips here.

How to Stay Healthy While Working at Home

//

Fellow freelancers,

I know we are in the middle of our Share Your Voice series, however I wanted to sneak in a quick word about health for the home worker.  The American government has released reports that the Swine Flu (H1N1) will be more rampant this year than the last, and in light of that we all need a reminder as to how we can stay healthy and productive throughout flu season and beyond.

Most at-home workers feel that they are immune from many of the health concerns that office workers face – we do not share a packed office floor, we do not need to ride in crowded trains, and we do not have to worry about shaking a lot of hands.  But we are still at risk like everyone else, only unlike the office worker we don’t get paid sick days.  Here are some easy to implement tips to staying healthy while working from home:

Police Your Snacks: What is your favorite thing to eat or drink while you write?  Common responses I’ve heard over the years include everything from Cheetos to pizza to chocolate milk.  While these tasty treats are emotionally pleasing, they do nothing but help you pack on pounds, increase your blood pressure and cholesterol, and deprive your body of the nutrients it should be getting from healthier food.  I know, I know – I like my chips and dip as much as anyone else, but when you work from home all day do yourself a favor and police your snacks.  Force yourself to stay out of the kitchen, or if the siren call is just too much then just don’t buy those things.  While the first few days will be painful, you will notice a boost in energy, better sleeping, and more concentration when you’re not munching on Doritos all day!

Schedule in Exercise: Don’t leave exercise to whenever you feel like getting it done – do it first thing in the morning or at a regular time during the day.  Exercise is so crucial for freelancers who sit in front of a computer all day because it not only helps us keep our weight in check but also provides energy boosts and encourages the production of white blood cells, those marvelous little things that fight off disease and keep you healthy.

Use Anti-Bacterial Products: Just because you’re not shaking hands all day doesn’t mean you don’t bring nasty, disease causing bacteria into your house and workplace.  Help your body in the fight to stay healthy by frequently using Lysol on door handles, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, as well as washing your hands several times daily with anti-bacterial soaps and gels.

Sleep: One of the number one ways to weaken your immune system and make yourself susceptible to infection is by not getting enough sleep.  Freelancers in particular are common victims to sleep deprivation because we get so involved in our projects and also need to work long hours to make ends meet.  Insist that you get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to keep your body healthy and mind alert – while you may lose an hour or two of work you will gain several hours due to the productivity increase it will provide!

Take Breaks: Taking breaks not only helps you clear your head, but also helps keep your stress level in check.  An overstressed mind manifests itself as a depressed immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to colds, flus, and a whole host of opportunistic infections.  Take at least three 15 minute breaks throughout the work day, and be sure to get up and walk around away from your desk during these times.

Take Weekends: This goes hand in hand with the breaks idea – you need to manage your stress to keep your health at optimal levels and your productivity chugging away.  A weekend can be defined as a pair of days during the week when you reduce your email-checking to under an hour.  No writing, no blogging, no nothing.  Just a little email and that’s it.  It is best to have 2 days in a row, though whatever days you choose (sun/mon, wed/thurs) are at your discretion.  They also don’t have to be the same two days every week, but just try to get a weekend in at some point each week.  This is very important!