A Freelancer's Guide to Working from Home Effectively

Working remotely sounds like a dream come true for a lot of people. No office politics, working in your PJs, constant snacking. Sounds pretty perfect, right?

The truth is, remote working isn't as easy-breezy as people may think.

Whether it’s that pile of laundry that suddenly looks more appealing than your to-do list or a "quick" three-hour binge of Gilmore Girls, staying productive at home can take a little extra effort.

Over the past week, working from home has become a reality for many people globally.

As a freelancer who works from home on the regular, I thought I would share some of my tried and tested tips for keeping productive and sane during the next few weeks at home.

But first thing's first...

Sit up straight, put down the snacks and eat some breakfast, and PLEASE.... put on some pants!

Maintain a Morning Routine

How you start your day sets the tone for the day, and thus, your productivity.

While you may be working from home, it's important to continue with your normal routine as you usually would if you were commuting into the office. This signals to your brain that it's time to work- not to rest/relax.

While the intrigue of working in your pyjamas may be high (and trust me, I'm with you!) getting dressed will actually make you feel more productive and will help develop a WFH mindset.

Dedicate a Space

It’s easier than you can imagine for work and personal life to bleed together when you work from home. The ensure you set yourself up for success, it's important to dedicate a space that is only for work.

Avoid working from your bedroom. Nobody wants to wake up in the same place where they have been working all day long.

Where possible set yourself up at a table with a chair that provides some back support.

If you don't have a desktop computer, try to set up your laptop in a way that your neck isn't strained. Consider putting a stack of books under your laptop to raise the screen to eye level and use an external keyboard and mouse.

Some great general ergonomic tips can be found here

Talk to People... Seriously!

While some of you might actually find it easier to be productive without your chatty coworkers constantly buzzing in your ear, maintaining social interaction is key to alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Keeping in contact with others can also increase our productivity.

If you work as part of a team, schedule daily check-ins to share updates and progress.

Assign somebody as your accountability buddy to motivate you to stay productive.

Keep a schedule

When the lines between work and home are blurred, it can be difficult to keep to a schedule.

Aim to mimic your previous work schedule as much as possible.

Start each day with a list of everything that needs to be completed and assign specific action items and deadlines to each task.

Make use of an online project management tool to keep yourself in check.

I've written a separate blog on 3 of my favourites here.

When your workday is over, whether that is at 3, 4, 5 or 6 pm, shut your laptop and leave it behind until the next day.

Set boundaries

Where possible, it is important for both your physical and mental health to maintain normal working hours. This avoids overworking which in turn can leave to burnout or unnecessary anxiety.

Partners, kids and family members also at home may not understand that the work you do at home is as important as the work you do in the office. Let everyone know your schedule and ask them to respect it as they would if you were working outside the home.

As a parent, it might be useful to set up shifts with your partner, taking turns to entertain/ look after the kids. Within your team, set out guidelines for how your teammates, manager, clients etc can reach you.

Be Kind to Yourself

Working from home can provide an opportunity for self-care.

Try and make the most of this new reality by creating the most pleasurable working from home environment that's possible.

  • Make time for regular breaks and get out for some fresh air regularly.

  • Keep hydrated and try to eat healthy snacks and meals that won't make you feel sluggish.

  • Create a "productivity" playlist on Spotify with your favourite songs or use the time to catch up on a new podcast series.

What are some of YOUR working from home tips? Please share all below in the comments!

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