Working from home is like living the dream. Flexible hours, the comfort of being on your territory, working from bed if you want to, not having to get to an office or even change your clothes, etc.
Until you see the bad side of this. The distractions, the laziness, the lack of motivation, the social isolation.
These really can become a permanent part of the life of a freelancer if you don’t do anything about them. The worst thing is that they will take away your focus and productivity and thus prevent you from being good at what you do. That means by not taking care of each and every barrier of working from home, you risk lowering your income or losing clients.
Let’s see what you can do to never fall into that trap and instead keep enjoying the benefits of working from home:
Find your prime time
There’s a concept in time management that states every person is most productive during a certain period of the day. Find that through experimenting and structure your days around it. It will change the way you do your work, really.
The benefits of working only during your peak time are increased concentration, higher levels of energy, better mood, more creativity and willingness to do your work.
By making this one change to your lifestyle, you can double your results.
Rituals can keep us sane and also disciplined. By having a morning routine, for example, you can make sure you have motivation to wake up every morning and kickstart the day.
Also, certain habits can get you in action mode and help you focus and get to work when you don’t feel like it. Here are some examples.
Plan your mornings. Decide to wake up 30 minutes earlier and prepare for the day but also do some things you enjoy or which help you be organized. You can journal your thoughts, review your goals, make coffee and drink it slowly, plan what to do in your free time later today, or schedule a virtual meeting or a call with a client.
When you’re about to get to work, though, have a short ritual to get you started. It could be going through what you worked on yesterday. Seeing where you left off helps build momentum and get things done to move ahead.
When the workday is over, have a relaxing evening routine to end the day. It’s like coming back from the office when you need to empty your mind and just get ready for sleep. Never take your work with you in bed. That’s even more dangerous when working from home as you can be checking emails or be on social media right before bedtime. I suggest you limit digital distractions or even eliminate them at the end of the day.
Do something social every day
You’re harming your social life by not putting effort in it. While it’s easy to always be working on the next big thing or just relax at home, you need socializing every day in order to feel alive, be positive and find meaning.
That can happen by getting people on the phone or preferring virtual meetings, for a start. Then, go out for lunch and invite a friend over for coffee. Also, be the initiator for a reunion with old friends.
If it’s not possible and no one seems to be available, go for a walk in the part, take your laptop to a coworking space or a coffice, or just hit the gym, go to the store or else. The point is to be around people, not on your own for the whole day. That is directly related to happiness, improved mental health and focus.
Clutter at home, which is also your office, lowers your productivity and doesn’t make you feel good. What’s more, it’s not really the best work environment so you might end up getting less done because of this.
Dedicate this weekend to decluttering. Get rid of anything that you don’t use or need. Organize the rest of the belongings. Remove digital clutter too.
Every time you get to your workplace, you should feel great, be with a clear mind and excited to get to work. So it makes sense to make some adjustments to your desk in order to create a pleasant atmosphere.
Add some greenery, it’s good for the health and focus too. Get a whiteboard to brainstorm ideas and visualize them. And storage units to keep all necessary documents or belongings related to your work.
Lists can save your sanity and your work. No need to remember anything anymore. Simply add it to your to-do list or calendar whenever it comes up.
Get one of the many free apps on Apple and Google Play stores and enjoy their incredible features, such as organizing lists in categories, synchronizing them with your other apps, setting reminders, etc.
Work on your priorities first
A mistake many people make is to simply start working on random things from their daily to-do list. But what you work on first thing in the morning will decrease your focus, attention span, motivation and energy for the rest of the day. So it makes sense to let it be your top priority task/project/activity.
Take your to-do list to the next level by putting the 3 priority items on top. These are the ones who are urgent or directly related to achieving your goals.
Complete small tasks right away
You know what such tasks are. The ones that pop up all the time and which take 5 minutes or less to be done. But which you simply leave for later, try to remember or just add to your list. But they tend to pile up and it becomes overwhelming.
You can’t really have a nice evening knowing there’s 10 of these waiting for you tomorrow.
That’s why the best strategy is to tackle each right away. They are easy and simple. Be it to answer an email, make a decision, reply to a client, update something on your site, etc. Take action now and save your time and focus in the future.
Let some things go
Letting go is an important skill for a freelancer working from home. That’s because you can either be multitasking, trying to get done as much as you can, to make every client happy, to answer everyone’s expectations, to set many new goals at once, etc.
Or you can accept that you have limits, let go of some past projects that don’t seem to be a good fit for your vision anymore, and just concentrate on the activity in front of you right now. That will help you simplify your work and life and be more productive.
What are your bad habits when working from home? Which of the tips above would you like to follow first in order to improve an aspect of your work?