Being a freelancer and working from your home office sounds ideal right? You get up when you want. Your commute to the ‘office’ takes seconds. You can do business wearing your pyjamas…The reality is a little different. Most home-based freelancers work long hours to get their business off the ground. Rather than chilling out in front of day time TV, most freelancers worry they spend too much time working, lose out on their social life, and some even risk burning out.
Without proper planning, the work-from-home dream can become a work-from-home nightmare.
Let’s look at 7 simple hacks you can use to avoid the bad side and boost the good side of freelancing.
1. Set up a proper office
First off, create an office which is not in your bedroom. Your office space should have a good quality chair, enough lighting to stop your eyes from hurting and should be customized to your requirements – get a second monitor, or a laptop stand if that makes things more comfortable
Avoid: trying and do your work in your bed – keep it for sleeping!
2. Dress professionally
As a rule of thumb, wear professional clothes that fit your sector. If you’re a management consultant, wear a suit or office outfit. If you’re a graphic designer, it’s OK to keep to jeans and a t-shirt. In any case, dress like you would if you were going to a ‘real’ office – it will put you in the right frame of mind.
Avoid: wearing your pyjamas – once again, keep them for sleeping in!
3. Get out the house and ‘walk to work’
Many home-base freelancers make a ritual of ‘walking to work’ every day – even if that’s just a five minute stroll round the block. The simple act of getting up, putting on your clothes and getting out there to face the day will get you into the mentality that your working day has begun.
Avoid: rolling out of bed and starting to work straight away
4. Keep to normal office hours
Freelancers should aim to stick to regular office hours – and you should put limits on how long you work for each day. This will help you avoid burnout
Avoid: the temptation to work all hours – in the end it will exhaust you
5. Organize your day
It’s great not having a manager looking over your shoulder, right? Uh, not really – because now you’re the manager. Set yourself a list of tasks you will do each day and prioritize them.
Avoid: losing focus and spending too little time on tasks you don’t like, but which are essential
6. Take regular breaks throughout the day and eat healthily
You should try and get at least some exercise each day and keep your kitchen stocked with healthy foods. Also, take regular breaks like you would in a normal office
Avoid: sitting for hours at a desk for hours and grazing on junk food
7. Avoid distractions
You should allocate yourself some time each day to read the news and check social media – just like when you were a regular employee. But, set yourself time limits for this kind of procrastination
Avoid: having social media, the radio or even the TV on in the background – you’ll get distracted and waste time