When You Live Where You Work: 4 Tips For Freelancers
When you were in college, did anyone ever tell you not to study in your bed? They would say that either you’d fall asleep on your books or not be able to fall asleep at night. Mixing your work and your rest would be destructive to both. How, then, can we apply this logic to working from home? It can be hard to draw the line, leaving work and personal lives muddied together.
In today’s gig economy, many of us fill at least some of our time doing freelance work, and while we can occasionally afford a fancy cup of coffee at the hip cafe, that won’t work all the time on a freelancer’s salary. Simply put, working from home is more affordable – after all, you can make your own cold brew! But to make it work, you need to arrange your space right.
Before you sit down to tackle that next assignment, take a look around and assess your environment, then consult these 4 tips. They’ll help you engineer your space for optimum productivity.
Even if you don’t have a whole room to turn into an office, it’s worth buying a small desk and creating a workspace for yourself. With a dedicated space, you won’t find yourself distracted by the cell phone bill or your kid’s report card and you won’t feel rushed to clear up your work to eat dinner with your family. Your working quarters may be tight, but you’ll feel more focused when you’re at your own desk.
Maintain Personal Boundaries
There are a lot of ways that your personal and work lives can get overly integrated when you work from home, and one of those ways has to do with who you see and interact with. Do you chat with your friends all day while trying to work or answer personal emails? This wouldn’t be acceptable in many professional environments, so why is it okay here? Instead of dropping the rules, it may be necessary to draw even stricter boundaries between your social life and your work life when you work from home. It’s not fun at first, but it will help you focus.
Keep Regular Hours
As a freelancer, you set your own schedule. Sure, you may sign on for a particular time-bound commitment occasionally, but most of the time the rules are your own. In order for this philosophy to work, however, you need to set work hours just like you would if you worked in an office.
What does that look like? If your work schedule is 9AM to 5PM, for example, don’t check your work email when the day is up. You don’t offer a 24-hour support line with your freelance contracts – that’s a different kind of job altogether. Additionally, when you answer emails at all times, you may find that clients overstep boundaries regularly, leaving you unnecessarily stressed.
Dress It Up
While you don’t need to get fancy to work in your home office, many freelancers find it helpful to get dressed for work, even if they aren’t leaving the house. Take it step up from sweats and a ratty t-shirt that you could mistake for pajamas and wear something you would consider office casual. You’ll be surprised how much it helps you focus.
Make Working From Home Work For You
Working from home poses unique challenges compared to heading to the office every day, but it also has its luxuries. Done correctly, you get the best of both worlds – flexibility, independence, and (hopefully) work you enjoy. Why work any other way?