One of the biggest perks of becoming a Virtual Assistant is the ability to work when you want, where you want, for who you want. We are in a time of the digital nomad and many people are taking full advantage of it...and why not?!?!
Balancing work and travel can be a bit tricky though so I figured I would share some of my own experiences when it comes to working and traveling.
1. Be Prepared
Don’t you hate it when you plan and make a checklist to go somewhere, only to realize you forgot your toothbrush or all your shoes once you arrive at your destination? You don’t want the same thing to happen when you are working from the road. Make sure you have a clear plan of the clients you will still be working with while you are away and the appropriate tools and files to go along with them.
Just a few things you will want to double and triple-check before you head out on your adventure:
Printer (if applicable)
If you are like some and do most of your work while you travel, it is a good idea to have an extra “go-bag” that contains extra computer/phone components. This way you won’t have to be bothered with finding a place to buy them should one go out on you (I’ve had it happen a few times, learn from my mistakes).
2. Communicate With Your Clients
When you know you will be traveling, it is important to communicate your travel plans with your clients as soon as possible. Depending on your travel plans, you may decide to make some time to continue working while you are out. Or you may opt for 100% disconnect (is that ever really possible though?).
If you will be working while on your travels, make sure you have everything you need from your clients to get your tasks finished. Many times your working hours will change during these times of travel and communicating that information is super important. This way your clients will know when to expect projects from you and when they can get in touch.
If you choose the ladder and do not plan on working at all while traveling, it is imperative that your clients know and understand this. Ensure that all of your work is complete before you leave and send a few reminder emails that you will be out of the office. In either case, it is also a good idea to set your email to “out of office”. You don’t want to miss out on any important emails or potential clients because you didn’t respond in a reasonable amount of time.
3. Stick to Your Commitments
If you make a commitment to your clients...stick to it.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not as easy as you might think. Whether you are traveling to see family or going on a family vacation, there are going to be times when things just pop up or you have unexpected plans. These often lead to you thinking “well, I can just work on that tomorrow, I have plenty of time”. You know what happens 9/10 times in this situation??? You rush to get the work done and it is almost always subpar.
If you tell your client you are going to have a project completed by Wednesday morning, make sure you allow yourself enough time to get it finished, to standards, by Wednesday morning. If you tell your client you will only be working on certain days, make sure you are available those days. If an urgent task comes up and your client asks you to complete it, make sure you complete it on time if you agree to take it on.
4. Don’t Forget About Yourself
Don’t let work become your whole life! It can be easy to just pick up your computer and start working while you are meant to be relaxing….don’t do it!
Everyone needs a break every now and then, even a Virtual Assistant. However, many have the “I already work from home, how much more time do I need for myself?” mentality. Resist the urge to think this way, it’s not healthy and you will end up miserable in the long run. If you plan family, fun, and relaxation time, stick to it.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have let people know I will be on vacation and I ended up working the same as when I did at home. Literally, every spare second was filled with work instead of family time. What happened in the end? My family was irritated, I was exhausted, and the trip was miserable.
As you become more comfortable with being a Virtual Assistant and working while you are traveling, you will find yourself getting into a groove. You will know what works best for you and, unfortunately, the things that don’t. Like everything in life, it is a process of trial and error, but these hacks can help you avoid some of the most common errors.