Freelancing has a lot of perks that traditional jobs don't offer. One of the best perks is the ability to work from home, or remotely from anywhere in the world. With all the great benefits of being able to work from home, comes a lot of responsibility.
Here at goLance, we know the difficulties encountered while working at home, and we're here to help you to become a more productive freelancer.
Tips to Become More Productive
If you became a full-time freelancer, how did you approach working at a job full-time? Some of the habits of working at a job will be extremely helpful as you freelance from home. Here are a few tips to increase your productivity.
Keep a routine. When you fail to keep a routine, it becomes easy to get distracted by social media, TV, surfing the web, or working on personal projects. Maintaining a routine before you begin working will create the habit of getting into the workday. If you choose to work without a routine, time can get lost easily, which will only lead to further frustration.
Set a schedule. This goes hand in hand with keeping a routine. If you set a schedule, you won't lose track of time spent on distractions, to family obligations, or to other things. Set an alarm, and work a complete schedule every day. This will increase your productivity, and ensure that you're completing the amount of work necessary every day.
Separate Yourself. If you have roommates that work the night shift, a spouse, or children living with you, then it is imperative to separate yourself from other people. When you are working, that is when you should be left alone to work. It's OK to be available for emergencies or other unique situations, but working on the living room couch or at the kitchen table will not be very productive. Simply saying "Good Morning" to a roommate can start a conversation that will keep you side-tracked. A couple of minutes can easily turn into a quarter of an hour or longer. Separate yourself while you are working.
Plan ahead. Depending on your contract, you might be working hourly or by milestone. Either way, plan ahead for the next day. When you sit down at your computer, you should know exactly what it is you're going to be working on, and for about how long you'll be working on that project.
Take breaks. Just like in a corporate work environment or at a job, breaks are a necessity to freelancing. Don't get tied-up into your computer so much that you forget to eat, stretch, or relax for a minute. Bringing variation into your workday will break up the monotony of the tasks at hand. It's always a good idea to rest your eyes from viewing a computer screen, and to eat away from your computer. Enjoy your breaks, they're at home!
Try working away from home, even for a small amount of time. This might be difficult depending on your situation, but if you can find a place in your town or city with free Wi-Fi, it might benefit you to get out of your home. Coffee shops are popular, but libraries still exist, and even fast food restaurants offer Wi-Fi to their guests. If you're really ambitious, you could take your work to the park, or another location outside, and use your smartphone as a hot-spot. Sometimes working away from home for a couple of hours per day or once a week will promote creativity, and reduce any stressors caused at home.
Remember that if you change your schedule during the workday, you're going to have to make up for it later. If your child has a doctor's appointment in the morning, remember to communicate with your spouse, and plan to work those hours later in the day or week. If you fail to change your schedule, you might be working all weekend simply trying to catch up on lost time.
Communicate with your family and stress the importance of freelancing. Family members can potentially become the biggest distractions during the work day, and you need to communicate with them about your priority to earn first. You might be at home, but you shouldn't be counted on to always help out with the daily activities. Your household should not rely on your presence for the most part.
If going back to a job is the last thing you would ever do, but working from home is proving to become extremely difficult, don't sweat it. A lot of freelancers struggle in their first couple of months with the adjustment phase of working from home.
Here are a few methods to maintain the balance at home
- If you are working, your spouse should be productive as well. If your spouse doesn't work, then he/she needs to be able to schedule a list of daily activities as well.
- Reiterate your schedule, even post it outside of your office door. This might be difficult to do, but working takes discipline from both yourself and your family. The other household members need to respect your time.
- Schedule one business day where you run all of your errands if necessary. If you are busy with errands such as going to the grocery store, taking your children to appointments, or constantly leaving your home to complete tasks, try completing as much as you can in only one day. Split the workload over the remaining workdays throughout the week.
- Rent a small office in your town. This goes against "working from home" in a sense, but it will allow you to work quietly and without distractions. You are your own boss, so in case anything happens, you can always return home.
Things Will Improve
There are many reasons why you may have chosen to work from home. Bad weather, the convenience of being around your family, maybe your household only has one car, etc. Regardless of your reasoning, you ultimately decided that working from home was going to be the best location to conduct your freelance work. If things become too difficult, you might think its time to re-assess working from home. Don't give up! Sometimes all it takes is a few minor adjustments to get you back on track.
Keep a positive attitude and improve your discipline and work ethic. Don't quit because a job feels "normal." Every job, occupation, and business has an initial period of adaptation.
Every freelancer's situation is unique. Some freelancers have a family with small children, others might have demanding schedules outside of freelancing. Remember why you started freelancing and why you left your old job.
No one said freelancing was going to be easy. People assume that "the grass is always greener on the other side" when they think about being able to work from home. In reality, work still must be completed in order to become successful in this business. If you're having any difficulties trying to accomplish work at home, understand that it's only an adjustment period. Once things are settled, and everyone understands your routine and that your work is a priority, things will change.
Thank you for working with us.