Tools, Tips, and Timing
Working from home sounds like a dream to most people, but there are potential problems and pitfalls that you must first consider when starting a freelance business that you intend to run online from home. In today’s lesson, we will look at both the physical and mental spaces that we need to assess, organize, and create in order to achieve the optimal level of both productivity and comfort when working in a freelance environment.
Tips for the Physical Space
Many freelancers who start working from home for the first time will do so under a principle of maximum comfort—for example, hanging out on the sofa with their pets and perhaps having the television or music on in the background as part of the joyous freedom of working in their own space and atmosphere. While this is all highly enjoyable, it doesn’t always lead to productive time spent as a freelancer and can reduce your value for money per hour due to the distractions and inherent problems of working so casually. The more hours you spend as a freelancer working from home, the more important that staying motivated, maintaining focus, and keeping a good physical posture become.
You don’t necessarily need to have an office at home in order to make freelancing work for you, but it is desirable to have a permanent space set up where you can engage with your freelance work. Not only will this allow you to have physical elements that are convenient and comfortable for the many hours you will spend freelancing—for example, a chair with excellent back support and all your resources filed and organized within easy reach—but it will also help you separate leisure from work, which is an important distinction of mental space that we will discuss in the next section.
If you have other people, animals, or children in your household, it is important that they fit into your freelance work life in a specific way. It must be clear to those you live with that you require the same level of peace, quiet, and lack of interruption from them that you would if you were in an office, so setting up dedicated office hours where you do not wish to be disturbed could be a good step moving forward. This is not always possible where children and animals are concerned, but if you can identify times in your daily schedule where they are less likely to require your attention, be sure to utilize those for your working hours.
Tips for the Mental Space
As we begin to touch on the physical space tips, it is important to make a mental distinction between your working life and your leisure time when both these things are happening in the same household. While it is highly fortunate that you can often stop and take a break within your own space, with all the entertainment elements around, you must try to physically move yourself away from your office and the current project you’re working on when you do so. I have often struggled with a temptation to either work all day without breaks or fall into leisurely activities, promising to work later but never actually doing it. The physical dimensions and space in which you work will play a huge part in the structure and sense of balance that you find within your mind.
The motivation to continue working when you don’t have a boss watching over you is an issue that many first-time freelancers may struggle with. To achieve your own sense of discipline and structure, it can be handy to set timers for regular breaks—and avoid watching the clock in between.
With the physical and mental work preparations underway, you’re almost ready for the full experience of freelance life to begin. Lesson 9 teaches another essential element that you must master if you want your freelance career to thrive, and that’s the art of scheduling and time management.
Until then, enjoy setting up your space for your new freelance life.
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