How to get rid of bad work habits
No matter what line of work you’re in, the tendency to develop unproductive and unhealthy work habits will always be present.
For a freelancer, most bad work habits tend to involve discipline and diligence. Because of the freedom that comes with freelance work, many people tend to become way too lax with deadlines, accountability, or even in the quality of their work. While you can get away with some downtime in your work, you definitely want to avoid these bad habits as much as possible if you want to build a serious career as a virtual assistant.
To help you thrive in the virtual assistant industry, here are some bad work habits that are common to those doing freelance work. More importantly, they’re also followed by tips on how to overcome them.
Putting off your work until the last minute.
Procrastination is one of the most common bad work habits that plague freelancers, and it’s one that’s quite difficult to break. This especially afflicts those whose work is not hour based. For instance, your client’s asking you to produce three articles for them on a weekly basis to be submitted every Saturday. You might be tempted to do all the work on Friday night thinking that this way, you’ll have the rest of the week off to do whatever you want. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can cause you to miss deadlines. And if this occurs frequently, your client might just replace you with a more reliable VA.
How to get rid of this: Make a schedule and stick to it. Maybe this means finishing an article every other day or ensuring that you finish up all your articles at the beginning of the week. Whatever way works for you, it’s very important to stick to a schedule so that it becomes a habit.
Giving in to distractions. Constantly.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a short break from work to take a walk, eat a snack, or play with your pet. Doing it every half hour or so is another matter. These days, most of the distractions in freelance work come from technology. Without even realizing it, you’re checking your social media pages, chatting with your friends, or playing a game in the middle of the workday. When this happens, you don’t just take longer to finish your task, you also run the risk of submitting subpar work because you were constantly distracted during the entire process.
How to get rid of this: Keep your distractions as far away from you as possible. If your phone distracts you, keep it in another room for as long as you’re on the clock. To ensure that you don’t miss emergency calls, just keep the volume on high. Keep away from your TV or the fridge as well. If possible, dedicate a room or a small space entirely to all things work. This way, your brain registers that when you’re in that particular spot, you should be focused on actual work.
Failing to communicate.
Without a manager to supervise them closely, many a freelancer tend to fall into the habit of failing to communicate. This can mean failure to keep their POC or client in the loop when it comes to the status of their task or failure to ask for help when they can’t accomplish the job required of them. As virtual office workers, it’s very important to remember that proper communication is one of the pinnacles of success in your job.
How to get rid of this: Keep a notepad, virtual or physical, of small status updates or roadblocks you encounter during the workday. At the end of each day, summarize your notes and send them to your client or POC. Keep doing this until the habit sticks and your POC or client will surely appreciate your effort to keep them in the know.
Bad work habits can turn even the most brilliant person into a mediocre worker. The best way to get rid of them is to acknowledge their existence in the first place and actively implement ways to counteract them. Don’t be discouraged when you fall back into the habit, just keep on working to get rid of them and you’ll eventually succeed.
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