This is a guest post written by Elise Dopson.
I’ll let you into a lil’ secret here: I used to hate working from home.
The first time I ever worked from home was when the office of my full-time job got flooded, so there was literally zero chance of getting back at my desk to work. Our manager sent everybody home armed with a laptop and a list of to-dos’ and it was up to us to get things done.
Now, when you work full-time in an agency, I suppose it’s a little bit different. We had to communicate daily to get certain parts of a client’s package done (often tidbits that don’t warrant an email). But it made me doubt whether or not my dream of being a WFH-freelancer is something that I could actually do.
I spent most of the day feeling stuck on where to start, unmotivated and I worked from my bed.
Fast-forward a few years and I couldn’t see myself loving my work routine more than I do now.
I WFH and although I still get the urge to start a new Netflix series every so often, these tips have helped me to conquer the stress that comes with not being able to concentrate when working from home.
#1 | Set your working hours
I’ve read a few of these types of post that will always tell you to wake up early and start getting things done. Whilst this is a good idea for people who like to work in the morning, there’s no need in forcing yourself into a routine that works for somebody else - and not necessarily for you.
Whilst I do wake up early to start my work, there’s only one reason why: I’m the most productive in the morning. I feel like whilst the rest of the world is on their commute, it’s my chance to get ahead and make a dent on my work for the day (and also gives me an earlier finish-time to spend time with my family).
However, you might be different. If you don’t feel like starting work until 11am, that’s totally cool. What’s the point in forcing yourself in front of a computer at 7am when you know that you get most of your work done later in the day?
Figuring out when you’re the most productive is the key to setting your business hours when you work from home, as long as you can make it into a routine that suits your clients.
#2 | Get dressed
Don’t get me wrong; there are days when I work from the comfort of my desk wearing my bunny slippers and (ridiculously comfy) pyjamas. But I’ve found that this doesn’t make my work feel like ‘work’, and puts me on a backfoot on getting things done.
The key to getting work done and being productive when you work from home is to get dressed, just like you would if you were going to a “real office”.
That means take a shower, do your hair and put on clothes. In other words, make yourself look and feel good and you’ll feel more refreshed, productive and ready to start the day.
(Plus, making sure that you look acceptable means that you don’t have to frantically slap a face of makeup on when a client randomly Skype-calls you…)
#3 | Have a working space
On the first day of my working from home experience, I had nothing to work on besides an old laptop that took north of a minute to load a single web page… Not. Fun.
This meant that I was able to work from my bed, which then lead to me fighting the overwhelming urge to watch Hell’s Kitchen (which in case any other HK fans are reading, I’d LOVE to chat to you about it!).
Since I became a freelancer, I made it my mission to create a workspace that I could dedicate to my work. My home isn’t the biggest and I don’t have a spare room to use as a home office, so I settled with a desk in my bedroom.
Your workspace doesn’t have to have every single office supply that you could think of.
I have my computer, two monitors, a notepad and a calendar on the wall above to keep me up to speed on where my workload is at. Simple, but it works.
Having a space that is dedicated to your work is key when working from home. Once you sit at it, you’ll feel motivated to knuckle-down and complete your jobs for the day. It also helps you keep your business organised when everything is in one place!
#4 | Take a lunch break
Whilst this sounds like a strange thing to recommend, you might be surprised at how many freelancers work through their lunch break and eat at their desks.
This might be because they have a huge project that they want to work on, or get so encompassed in their work that they’re afraid to lose momentum.
However, taking your lunch break will help make you more productive working from home, because it gives you chance to relax and re-evaluate what’s coming in the afternoon.
Working yourself dead into the ground is only going to make you more stressed and overwhelmed, so step away from your desk and have your lunch elsewhere - even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
#5 | Work (away) from home
The beauty of being a freelancer and running your own business is that you’re free to work whenever - and wherever - you want.
Whilst this might sound contradictory to the point about setting up your own workspace, a small change in scenery could do you the world of good.
Take your laptop or notebook to a local coffee shop and use this as your workspace. Even if you’re only there to grab a coffee and have a call with one of your clients, it’ll make you feel less homebound and give you some well-needed fresh air.
What are your favourite productivity hacks for working from home?
Elise is a freelance marketing and careers writer who loves nothing more than seeing fellow entrepreneurs successfully grow their biz online. She can be found on her blog at elisedopson.co.uk.
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