If you have been a virtual assistant for a while now, and you happen to be someone who is in the house on your own, you may start feeling the “Wilson” effect. Tom hanks in Cast Away was stranded on a desert island with only a basketball for company… Okay, so it may not be that bad, and in fact it isn’t… Let’s look into some ways that you can try to put this whole working from home thing into perspective — sometimes we just need reminding of how we can make it work for us as individuals.
You’re not stranded.
Unlike Tom hanks, you’re not stranded, and I imagine that no matter where you are in the world, you have a front door and the human beings are just on the other side of it. We sometimes forget this, especially as a start up. I remember when I decided to start a VA business I was stuck at my desk for 16 hours a day, this was when I was living in Egypt, I was a single girl, 24 years old, knew very few people, I took a job outside the house, it paid just over $2 an hour, so I wasn’t doing it for the money, it was to basically force myself to go out, and also to learn Arabic, but if I am honest, I didn’t mind being alone, in fact I quite liked it.
You can permit yourself.
This is your business and as long as you are the owner of this business, you can pretty much choose the hours you work. You don’t have to ask anyone if you can take the morning off to go out, you can give yourself permission. This means that you can work your business around your outside life, where as most people have do it the other way around, life comes as an afterthought after work, but the tides have turned. Put your outside activities first (within reason depending on your workload) then structure your day, and your work around those activities.
There is more to life than work.
I have very happily spent many years as a virtual assistant, pretty much giving up on all my hobbies from the past and even after all this time, I don’t mind, really nothing much else would make me happier in terms of earning a living, but the reason I love it so much is because I LOVE to travel and be location independent. That is my true passion, travel, and it’s a huge part of my life. You need to find your passion and make it a part of your life, something unrelated to your work.
Try an evening class, salsa dancing, join a gym, learn a new language, anything at all, you really only need one very enjoyable outside the house activity to make you feel a world better.
Embrace remote technology.
The one thing you need to do to take advantage of this very unusual occupation, is invest in a really good, long-life battery laptop, like a MacBook Air. This is a real game changer, working remotely is awesome, I have worked in Internet cafes, floating and non-floating restaurants, bars, hotel lounges, golf clubs, the playground, the park, a boat, shopping malls, pubs, a friends house and more. Be imaginative, don’t restrict yourself to staying at home all the time. Also check to see if there are any co-working spaces available near you.
Finding groups of people to interact with online can help. Join a group of like minded people, invest in something which will give you an online community of friends, they’ll likely have an idea on how you feel, that your offline friends may not be able to relate to, and it can help having an emotional support system in place when you’re at home alone working, feeling a bit down.
Get a new Routine.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, for me, working from home was something I had to do in order to live the life I wanted, but I fully appreciate working from home could impact your life, and leave you feeling lonely, or even trapped. You have to make an effort to change that yourself, begin a new routine, one which involves doing something outside the house, create life appointments on a daily or weekly basis, whether it’s learning, exercise, a part time job, even doing some volunteer work, charities always need an extra pair of hands. The point is you don’t have to rely on a day job to get you out of the house, you have to rely on yourself. Take the decision, and do it today!!