Working at home can be difficult. In fact, many people prefer not to work at home, even given the option of doing so, because they believe that they will not be able to get as much done in a home setting as they will be able to get done in an office setting. However, even in an office, there are a number of pitfalls that can render entire days lost if you are not careful.
Here are some office pitfalls to avoid that can not only erode your productive time at work, but that can also just plain ruin your focus, your ability to work effectively and your general day:
• No Game Plan
Each day, you need a few clear goals that you can reasonably accomplish in a day. Set short-term goals as well as long-term ones so that you get to cross things off your list. If you do not have a clear objective, then you will have trouble focusing on your work.
• Chatty Office Mates
Do your best to avoid situations where you will need to converse instead of work. This does not mean that you should be rude, but it does mean that limiting your trips to the break room will save you time and working with your door closed can keep gossipers out. These people often want you to waste time with them so that they do not have to work, and gossip is simply not nice and will make you feel badly about yourself and likely your co-workers. Be pleasant, but when you are working make sure that you are as inaccessible to the office talkers as possible.
You will focus more easily if your desk is not buried under piles of paper. Even if you have piles of work, keep it organized and neat so that you can easily find things and you do not feel like you are about to be physically overwhelmed by your projects and responsibilities.
• Run Meetings on Time
As a VA or as an on-site assistant, you will have a fair amount of control over when meetings start and how long they last. Make sure that everyone has a clear agenda and, if at all possible, start the meeting on time even if not everyone is there. This will lead to more timeliness in the future and it will make you a coveted team member if you can keep conferences running on schedule.