Being a freelancer is amazing: you can control your professional and personal life, make sure they don’t overlap and also take the time to establish a successful business you’re the sole responsible. The vast majority of freelancers work from home and we know that keeping your sanity working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Things can easily get out of hand if you let them but if you adopt the right strategies, your career as a freelancer working from home will be successful and you’ll be happy and relaxed.
Here are the best tips to work from home efficiently, make working from home more productive and even become a better freelancer.
Table of Contents
1. Start the night before
For many of us, the race to get things done on time begins the moment we open our eyes. It’s not surprising to run into obstacles that slow us down and make us late. Even if we make up for lost time, scrambling to get ahead is no way to start the day. Do yourself a favor and take ten minutes each evening to prepare for the day ahead. Take out the trash, load up the washing machine and the dishwasher so all you need to do is turn it on, make sure everything is in order in your home office and your working things are easy to use for you, straighten up the house. It won’t feel like a massive sacrifice, but you’ll be grateful you got a few things out of the way when you can breathe a little easier the following day.
2. Always start your day with something you love
It might be tempting to pick up your phone and scroll through your “Chosen Social Network” feed the moment you open your eyes, but you shouldn’t start your day staring at a screen. Instead, you should spend the first few minutes of your morning doing something you love. Put on your favorite playlist as you brush your teeth, or spend a few minutes stretching before you climb out of bed. You’ll find it’s easier to get out of bed when you have something to look forward to.
3. Find your focus
To work productively from home as a freelance you always have to include a brief planning session for the day ahead. Grab your favorite morning beverage, sit down with your planner or your favorite scheduling app, and figure out what your day will look like. Make a list of all the things you need to do and pick three of them to prioritize for the day. You can’t do everything at once, but in most cases, three tasks are a tangible target to aim for.
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4. Get your blood pumping
Make sure you exercise through the day to give your body and your mind a boost of energy to last well into the day. You can throw on some running shoes and take the dog for a jog or head to the gym to work out, or you can keep things easy and move a little at home. Find a short yoga video to watch or squeeze in a few squats and sit-up as you make your lunch or prepare for a call.
5. Set work hours
Define what is your ideal working time and try to stick to it every day, unless you have an urgency. Keep work and life separate, turn off the phone at the end of the day, and let clients know upfront when they can get ahold of you and when they can’t.
If you land a new client and begin your working relationship with them by answering emails at 10 pm, they’ll expect that for the duration of your work together you’ll be available at 10 pm every day!
If you want to learn the secret to remote working, check these two top-rated courses on Udemy:
6. Be flexible
Allow yourself to decide when it’s the best time to work according to your needs and also your mind. You may be more productive very early in the morning or perhaps late at night: take advantage of this and work on things at your own pace. Make yourself available for calls and meetings during the day, but if you prefer to work at a different time, do it!
7. Find your best working space and be organised
Make sure you organize your workspace so that it doesn’t interfere with other activities and spaces in the house. If you have to work in the living room, for example, be sure to remove all the tools of your work at the end of the day, so that the work does not take away space from your life and your personal effects. Invest in comfortable and functional home office furniture, especially good ergonomic chairs: this is the space where you’re going to spend all your days and it has to be as comfortable as possible.
8. Learn to do one thing at a time
Learn the art of doing one thing at a time and apply the tomato technique: choose one activity to do, set the timer to 25 minutes, work on the chosen activity without ever distracting yourself, then, as soon as the timer sounds, take 5 minutes break.
Crossing something off of your list will give you a sense of accomplishment, which offers a boost to your self-confidence. You will quickly discover that the less distracted you are, the better you work and the less stressed you get!
If you want to learn the art of time management, we recommend these two top-rated courses on Udemy:
9. Dress for success
Working from home does not necessarily mean neglecting yourself and spending 24 hours in your pajamas! You don’t need to dress as if you were going to an office and you can definitely keep things casual and cozy as long as you get the work done. Make sure you don’t neglect yourself and even the small act of taking the pajamas off and switch to a jumpsuit will help you concentrate and give you a sense of responsibility.
10. Stop negative thoughts
Working at home as a freelancer can lead to loneliness and isolation: if you are one of those people feeling isolated you can easily engage in negative thoughts throughout the day. We beat ourselves up without even noticing it, and it can deal a not-so-subtle blow to our self-confidence. The first step to squashing negative thoughts in their tracks is to learn how to catch yourself in the act.
Once you know how to recognize your bad habit, you can take those negative thoughts and turn them around into positive affirmations, or visualize them evaporating into thin air. You’ll feel much better when you aren’t constantly knocking yourself down.
Even though you may not be convinced, learning how to let negative thoughts go is a process that can be learned. We recommend this useful and very interesting course on how to release negative beliefs & thought-patterns.
11. Stay Off Social Media and the Web
Social interactions can be really important when working from home but you need to learn how to be selective and, most of all, how not to get distracted during normal working hours with news, social media, and conversations.
In fact, up to 80% of the time people spend online at work have nothing to do with their job: this results in loss of productivity, decreased performance, and mistakes. Stay focused on what you’re doing and you’ll be rewarded by your results! Also, your mental health will benefit a lot from this.
12. Do not mix work and household chores
Working from home can transform everyone in Cinderella, at a big cost. Try not to let too much housework seep into working hours otherwise, you will never catch a break and you’ll end up hate working from home.
Chores are not meant to be done during working hours: do a quick straightening-up in the morning or even better the evening before and forget about the cleaning and tidying up. If you enjoy spending your breaks cleaning, hoovering, or rearranging the pantry do it by any means but don’t consider it a duty, rather a pleasure if it really relaxes you.
13. Listen to music
Music can relax, energize, and boost our productivity. Choose the music you like the most, the one that makes you feel better and helps you while working: depending on the nature of your work, make sure it’s not too loud or distracting.
14. Avoid family and friends
We don’t want to sound mean but we’ve all been there: friends call you because you’re at home and they want to tell you something, parents asking you to go to the post office “because you’re at home”, and so on and so forth. The sooner you set boundaries with your family and friends while you work, the better it is: they need to understand you’re working and working from home for you is the equivalent of working in the office for other people.
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