Traditional office working hours are no longer the norm. Instead, millennials are quashing the 9-5 office hours in favor of a more flexible and dynamic work schedule, away from office cubicles and stressful bosses. The appeal in this approach is obvious.
As a freelancer, gone are the days of waking up dreadfully early only to have to make your 45-minute commute to work, unsure if you’re still dreaming or only half asleep in a crowded bus.
You also won’t have to fork out on expensive lunches since you’ll be able to prepare all your food at home, and you’ll be distraction-free in the solitude of your home office as opposed to the humdrum of the open plan office.
While this might sound appealing – and it does – there are some unconsidered drawbacks to freelancing that you have to be aware of if this is a career path you intend to choose.
Firstly, you’re going to need an iron discipline and rock solid will. It’s all too easy to let those 30-minute lunch breaks stretch into three-hour ones. Without a boss to supervise your work, it’s up to you to ensure you make deadlines. You’re also going to have to find all of your clients yourself, and that means designing your own website via an option like this so you can promote your skill set. As well, you’ll have to pitch projects, manage your marketing strategies and attend all the latest industry events.
5 Tips to Make Freelancing More Positive from Home
While the quiet and comfort of your own personal workspace at home is alluring, everyone wants to do better with freelancing from home. With a few carefully considered solutions, working from home can be a productive and lucrative option.
#1. Get out of those pajamas and get dressed
One of the benefits of having a home office is not having to worry about your appearance since you won’t be seeing anyone, right? Wrong! Getting dressed before sitting down to work is an important factor for remaining professional and productive.
It’s less about how you look and more about conditioning yourself and your brain into associating work with certain standards. A study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management found that those who wore a white lab coat when working performed significantly better than those who wore casual street clothes. The reason for this is that your brain associates certain traits with the clothes you’re wearing.
There’s a certain symbolic meaning in your garb. So whether it’s professional attire or laidback weekend attire, whatever you wear confers a certain meaning and behavioral pattern to your brain. Which means if you want to be productive and efficient, dress as though you were going to work.
#2. Create a positive workspace
Having a workspace in which you feel comfortable in the key to productivity. Ensure that you’re sitting up straight somewhere – again, this has much to do with conditioning our brains into thinking we’re working – preferably at a desk but a dining room table will also suffice.
If you can, position yourself near a window so you have adequate natural light. Aside from that, personalize it to your heart’s content. Light incense, hang fairy lights or decorate the all with photos of friends.
It’s important to make the space your own. It’s also prudent to separate your working space from your living space. If possible, have a separate room that you dedicate to your freelance endeavors. If that’s not achievable, then dedicate a surface.
#3. Plan a routine and maintain regimen
Having a sense of structure is essential to maintaining self-discipline and making sure you sit down to work. This doesn’t mean having a set starting time or amount of work hours, but having even a rough idea of how your day is going to pan out will help you stay dedicated.
It shouldn’t be all work though. If you’re the type of person who enjoys a morning coffee before work, then by all means head down to Starbucks and grab one.
If you like to hit the gym during your lunch break, then don’t let up on that habit. These brief rests help to break up the work day and also revitalize you before you’re back to whatever copywriting, marketing or graphic design project you were working on.
#4. Take planned breaks
Just as you would at any regular job, it’s important to take breaks in between working. Whether you’re the type of person who enjoys waking up at the crack of dawn and beginning your grind, or one who prefers to work at midnight, remembering to take a breather once in a while is crucial for avoiding mental fatigue.
Just don’t let these breaks be longer than they have to. After all, there’s a difference between having a cup of coffee and watching three episodes of your favorite TV show in between assignments.
#5. Remember to be social
As human beings, we’re hardwired to crave the companionship of other people. The lack of social interaction can often be one of the hardest parts about freelancing.
Whereas in a traditional job you are constantly around other people, talking, discussing projects or even just making weekend plans, as a freelancer you are, for the most part, alone during the day.
Make time to have lunch with a friend, Skype a loved one or socialize at the gym. Just remember to get out of your workspace once in a while. It provides much-needed perspective and a respite away from the pressing assignments, allowing you to stay sane and productive!
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