The Virtual Assistant Life: Moving from the Cubicle to Working at Home

moving from the cubicle to working at home

Danielle started her virtual assistant business so she could work from home and spend more time with her children. Within a few months, she had several clients and enough in savings to quit her job. She was thrilled to be home. But she hadn’t been prepared for the adjustment so she struggled for a few weeks.

If you’re like Danielle, you may have plans to leave your job as soon as you start earning an income from your business. But it’s important to understand that the transition of moving from a cubicle to working at home can be difficult. Here are some tips to help ease this change:

Plan for Distractions

One of the biggest problems when working from home is the fact that you’re suddenly surrounded with more distractions. These distractions might be in the form of housework that needs to be done, kids who interrupt your Skype sessions, or friends that invite you to take the afternoon off.

Unlike a traditional job, you get to decide when to work and when to play. This freedom is exhilarating and empowering. But it can also throw you off track if you’re not careful.

One helpful idea is to track your time for the first two weeks you’re working from home. This exercise will give you an idea of how long it takes you to complete common projects. Then when a friend wants to see a movie or you’re handling household chores, you can accurately budget your time for the day.

Create a Work Schedule

Besides knowing how much time your projects take you, it can be helpful to have a set work schedule. But this schedule needs to take into consideration your lifestyle and your family’s commitments.

If your spouse works third shift, you may not be able to hold noisy conference calls first thing in the morning. If you’re responsible for picking the kids up from school, then you may want to keep your afternoons free and work in the evenings instead. Your work hours can and will change depending on what season of life you’re in. That’s normal and not something to fret.

Stay Socially Active

You’re in the middle of making a transition from work to work at home. If you’re not careful, this can cause you to fall away from your usual social habits. Instead of going out with the girls, you decide to stay in and get some extra work done. You skip your paint and wine class in favor of putting the finishing touch on your website.

It is important to meet your work responsibilities. But it’s also important that you stay connected to the people and activities that light you up. Without them, you could wake up one day feeling like you’ve lost yourself to your work.

Make it a priority to stay connected socially. Go to a concert with a friend, check out that new restaurant with your spouse, meet up for coffee with your mentor. Do activities that energize you and you’ll find it’s easier to give your clients your best.

Practice Self-Care

During stressful transitions, it’s easy to let self-care slip to the bottom of your to-do list. You find yourself skipping your regular manicure, avoiding the gym, or opting for quick, unhealthy meals and snacks.

While these behaviors may save you time right now, they do it at the risk of your health. It’s like neglecting your gas tank and being surprised when your car stops working. You have to fuel your mind and your body with self-care activities that restore you.

After a few weeks, Danielle developed a rhythm that helped her balance her work and her life. Now, she’s happily serving her clients while getting to enjoy more time with her kids than she had at her old job.

If you make your health and self-care a priority, you will be amazed by how much better every aspect of your life runs. 🙂

moving from the cubicle to working at home

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What was or is your motivation for becoming a virtual assistant? Has that motivation changed over time?

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