How is your mental health? A question that only a few people get asked even though it’s one of the main foundations of a successful business. As a VA growing your business, aim to work smarter, not harder. Fewer hours but more work is done. I know, it might sound unrealistic for some of you since many of us have been raised with a mindset of the harder you work, the better results you achieve. And although this is not necessarily a false statement, we should try to make the processes smoother and easier over time, so we work smarter and save ourselves as much time as we can. Of course, you will work harder, especially at the beginning of your business to get it off the ground, but once you establish yourself and have some clients, learn how to work more efficiently.
The fact is, you have to keep yourself healthy and mentally strong to take care of your business, too. You can’t do your job 100% if you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and mentally exhausted, right? Give yourself some grace and avoid burnout by organizing your tasks the way it will be easier for you to follow them, and that will help you avoid unnecessary distractions. Read about 4 WAYS on how to grow your business without sacrificing your mental capacity.
Keep client communication in one space/platform
Many people underestimate this step, but once you have several clients, agreeing on one and the only platform for communication with all of them will change your work life! It can keep you from being all over the place and clients messaging you in several places, so getting messages on WhatsApp, Asana, Slack, email, or elsewhere. It will take you so much time going from one app to another, trying to reply to messages if you won’t set up strict rules and where they can contact you from the beginning. If you have the communication all in one place, you can easily access it and find all the information needed in one place without switching between platforms. It saves a ton of time!
Turn notifications off on your phone
This one is big! Raise your hand if you’re guilty of regularly checking your phone during work. All the notifications are rolling in and you feel the urge to reply to all of them straight away. But guess what? 99% of these notifications are not as important or urgent as you feel like they are, and they also don’t need to be checked every time your phone lights up. Phone and social media are one of the biggest distractions that can negatively influence our productivity, but we all know that!
By turning off notifications on your phone or turning your phone into airplane mode will keep you from being taken away from the work you are involved in at the moment. It will help you keep your focus in one place and complete the task much quicker.
BONUS TIP: There is a great app called Forest that can help you stay focused and block all the notifications coming in. By staying away from your phone during the time you set up for yourself on the app’s timer, you are planting trees that are actually being planted somewhere in the world. So you not only reduce your distractions but also do something good for the planet. Doesn’t that make you feel good?!
Only respond to clients a few times a day
Are you planning your days/weeks in advance? I will assume you all said YES, so when you’re planning your day and putting in time blocks into your calendar for each task, assign the specific time of the day for responding to your client’s messages. Could be once, twice, or three times a day, that’s completely up to you and it depends on how many clients you have. However, this will keep you productive and it doesn’t let you take up mental space wondering how you will get something done from a client message. Although, if you get distracted with the client message, the moment it’s been sent to you and read it out, your productivity and focus will be gone and you will most likely find it hard to get back to the task you were doing before because your mind will be already forming an answer for the client’s message.
Be strict with yourself and respond to the client’s messages only at the assigned times. You can also avoid misunderstandings by informing your client at the beginning of your collaboration about specific times during the day when you are responding to messages. This way, you will set up some ground rules and the client will know what to expect.
Keep all of your lists and to-dos in one place/platform
Keep your mental space clear and ease the pain of everyday planning. Choose one platform or app that will only be used for your own planning and to-do lists. You can divide your lists into separate categories depending on whether it’s for your business or personal-related tasks. Plan it the way that it will be easy to know where each of your lists is and keep the good readability in mind. It’s very helpful to color code it, so each task has its own color and can be easily found. Some of the best platforms for your to-do lists and planning are Asana, Trello, and Monday.
By setting up some ground rules and staying organized, you can stay on top of your work, be efficient and healthy without sacrificing your mental health. Some of the key ways to do it are avoiding distractions and staying on top of your planning. Keep the communication with your clients in one space to avoid messy inboxes on different platforms. Same with your to-do lists! Choose one platform that you’ll use and have it all in one place, so you can easily access it.
Another way is to turn your notifications off on your phone while working to avoid getting distracted and having your mind only half focused. Otherwise, every task will take you twice as much time, and you will do much less work. This also goes with responding to your client’s messages only during certain times. Assign a specific time in your calendar for responding and get over the urge of responding to everyone straight away. Remember, your mental health is super important for you, to be 100% focused and productive. Work smarter, not harder.
Which one of these do you find the most helpful?