Pyjama days, unlimited snacks plus no long commutes or annoying colleagues, sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? On first glimpse, the perks of working from home seem really rewarding. However, when the lines between personal and work life begin to blur achieving work/life balance can face quite a few obstacles.
With the onset of global pandemic covid-19, more people than ever are working from home. For some, this will mean a mammoth adjustment and a steep learning curve as you are now faced with juggling conference calls around spouses, flatmates, pets, and kids. Suddenly, switching off from work can seem impossible and forget finding your flow.
Whether you’ve chosen this lifestyle or suddenly find yourself in it, we’re more than happy to help you! We’ve compiled a list of our best tips and tricks to make freelancing from home a happy, healthy, and productive time.
1. Routine is everything
Whether you set your own hours, or you’re expected to adhere to business hours where possible, it’s really important to put a structured routine in place. Humans are creatures of habit and most thrive from creating and sticking to a routine. There are many different ways to design a routine. Some freelancers love a Bullet Journal or Google Calendar, whilst many are happy with a simple pen and paper to-do list. Whether you embrace digital or analogue daily structure is completely up to you but by implementing small changes you’ll start to notice increases in productivity and the optimal time to do focussed work.
2. Establish good boundaries
Creating boundaries will help you keep your sanity in check when you’re freelancing from home. Boundaries are uniquely yours and introspection is required to find out what your values are and how you can communicate these.
Whether these are boundaries with yourself, with the people you live with, with well-meaning friends who call you up when you’re working, or with your clients, it’s up to you to set, communicate and put the digital tools in place to help minimise disruption.
3. Enjoy a slow morning ritual
As tempting as it is to wake up, grab your smartphone and start checking emails or worse, roll over and open up the laptop in bed, why not create a morning routine. Make the most of the time you spend not commuting, and sit down with a cup of coffee, cook a nice healthy breakfast, meditate, do some yoga. Take your time to focus on the things that gives you physical and mental benefits before you jump in and start the workday. Get dressed in clothes that are comfortable to work in, think about what you want to achieve that day and adjust your mindset accordingly. Once you’ve prioritized some self-care, you’ll be in a better headspace to get down to focussed work.
4. Take regular movement breaks
When you’re a freelancer, it’s so easy to overwork and that means too much desk time. Even if you aren’t doing billable work, there’s also business administration, taxes, and marketing activities to take care of. It’s no wonder so many of us end up with sore necks and bad backs! Find an excuse to get up from your chair and move around. Clear empty dishes from your desk, do some light cleaning, healthy meal preparation, body stretches, jumping jacks or dance around to your favourite tunes. You can also set a timer or install software that reminds you to take regular movement breaks. This will lead to improved concentration which means better productivity and sharper focus.
5. Go outside every day
Depending on the season, it can be really easy to bunker down, order everything online and avoid the outside world but going outside does have many positive benefits. You can use this time to run errands or schedule appointments at times convenient to you. When we’re no longer socially isolating, you can meet up face-to-face with potential clients or take a break from your home office environment by working from your favorite cafe.
Taking a long walks or runs also gives you an opportunity for a much-needed Vitamin D boost, a chance to listen to podcasts or playlists, work through some potential work blockages, give your eyes a solid break from the screen, and to meet up with other freelancers in your neighbourhood.
6. Design an ergonomic and aesthetically-pleasing work environment
How comfortable are you? Does your office chair support your lumbar? Is your screen level at the right height? Are you working off a table at all or are you working lying down on a sofa? Stop right there! Remember the conditions you had in your office job? Now is the time to recreate them at home. Whether it’s a standing desk, a Swiss ball, a second screen or a footrest, it’s important to invest in an ergonomic set up that will support you for the long haul. And since you’re now in charge of the office supplies, why not stock up on your favorite stationery, household plants and inspiring images that boost your mood. Don’t forget to keep the receipts for your tax expenses.
Having a designated workspace or area is essential for freelancers working from home. Designing a routine that works for you, establishing boundaries, and setting up a space that’s ergonomic and inspiring, will ensure that you’re that you maintain that perfect balance between work and home life.