When I started working from home, it was just one day a week. I was working for a medium-sized company and each team member was allowed to set one WFH day. At first it was amazing! I worked in my pajamas, sang out loud, and got more done because there weren’t any office distractions or interruptions. As my career progressed, I was allowed to take more and more days to work from home. It became increasingly more difficult to enjoy this once occasional treat because it was becoming my routine. Now, I have to set rules for myself to make sure I’m productive and creative while working from home. Here are some of the tips that work for me:
- Set a Schedule
One of the hardest things about freelancing is making a schedule. Since you choose when you work, you can oscillate between putting things off and working crazy hours. Be careful to keep a solid schedule when your clients know they can reach you. Be aware that your free time and your work time will become blurred, but keeping some standard hours can help make the distinction between the two.
- Get Out of the House
I can’t stress this enough. Some days you won’t want to go outside because you don’t have to leave your home office. But as the days run together and the coffee gets stale you’ll start to lose creativity. Getting up and taking a walk can be great for your work and your sanity. If you’re just absolutely blocked, finding a nearby café that you know you can work in helps. Try several shops in your area, and figure out which one works best for you. A change of scenery can fix everything.
- Set Deadlines
Making sure you have deadlines that are frequent will keep you from getting lazy. Often, freelance projects are pretty much up to you. You might have a final turn-in date, but the rest is at your discretion. This means you can let project deliverables slide until it’s the last minute and you suddenly find yourself panicked. Mini deadlines will help avoid this common issue, and give your clients the peace-of-mind knowing that you’re doing what they need. Something as simple as scheduling a check-in every Friday will keep you honest and on track. Not to mention that you’ll find out if you’re doing the right thing or need to adjust the project in any way before sending the final version.
- Get a Stable Setup
Whether you’re with a company or working as a freelancer, you’re going to need a good home office. It doesn’t have to be a designated room that you turn into a workspace. In fact, my “office” is a rolling desk with a laptop on it and a comfy chair facing the window. Making sure you have a place that is comfortable and ready to accommodate video calls will save you from constantly needing to clear dishes or making a messy bed to hide it from view. This will also give your mind a signal that you are now in work-mode and should focus on your tasks.
- You Need Amazing Wi-Fi
This is hands down my biggest must-have for working from home. Your clients need to know you’re reliable and available. Maybe you have a decent data plan on your phone and you think that will be enough. Trust me – it won’t. I’ve been on many calls that ask me to download a file on my computer and review it while I am still on the phone. Similarly, you might think coffee-shop internet will hack it for you. Sometimes it will, but for a last minute change or late night deadline you’ll be left stressed. It is best to know that no matter what happens, you’re going to be able to do the work on schedule using a reliable internet connection.
- Find Boundaries
If you have a family, working from home might be an adjustment for everyone involved. As a freelancer, it might be hard for your family not to interrupt your day because you will be around all the time. On the same token, it’s going to be hard for you to put down your work and be present sometimes. It might be tempting to check on your proposals or answer chat questions 24/7. Make sure you give yourself some space so that you can do your best when you’re working and still be present in your personal life even though your freelancing.
Finding a good balance can make working from home an incredible option.
Do you have any tips or tricks that help you successfully work from home? Please let us know what we missed and what helps you the most in the comments below!