When asked most people will probably tell you that working from home is the dream. You get to spend your days tapping away on your laptop in your pyjama’s from the comfort of your sofa whilst Friends is playing continuously in the background, right?
Well unless your goal is to get a big fat nothing done all day…There comes a point with working from home that you have to be a little more sensible with your decisions in order to maximise your productivity. I won’t lie to all you budding freelancers, full time bloggers or entrepreneurs out there, I have found the transition from full time 9 to 5 office job to self employed home worker a real toughie. I don’t want to spoil “the dream” in any way but the lack of structure, lack of physical company in the form of co-workers and lack of differentiation between home and work life have all been difficulties that I’ve faced so far.
With this, I thought I’d pull together a list of 5 of the ways that I’ve been attempting to make the transition that little bit easier and have been helping me over the past couple of months with my journey into full time freelancing.
Create a Workspace You Love
One of the best parts about working from home has surely got to be the fact that you have the freedom to create a working area that you love? Wave goodbye to ugly corporate office furniture and hello to Instagram worthy interiors! You don’t need to have a lot of space/money to create an inspirational desk setup either, my current working area consists of a wooden desk made by my boyfriend which sits in a corner of our living room. I picked up lots of cute office supplies from Søstrene Grene which were SUPER cheap et voila, you’ve got yourself a Pinterest worthy desk. Having a dedicated working space can really help with the differentiation between work and home life as well as boost your motivation levels!
Switch up Your Working Environment
Now if you’ve nailed my previous point then you might just have created a workspace that you never want to leave but trust me, switching up your working environment can do wonders for your motivation levels! I find I get VERY easily distracted whilst at home, I’m constantly thinking about the load of washing I could be putting on, whether my bedroom could do with a tidy or if I could get away with having YouTube on in the background so in an attempt to avoid the distractions I’ve started whisking myself off to a coffee shop a couple of times a week. I tend to set myself a goal of what I want to have achieved by the time I leave and that means I have much less time to procrastinate and subsequently find that I am much more productive. The only thing you’ve got to be careful about is that you’re not spending ALL of your hard earning money on fancy coffee’s and fresh croissants!
Turn off the Distractions
This piece of advice is something I took from Jess’ post all about turning off push notifications and I implemented myself a couple of weeks ago. It’s fair to say that I spend an alarming amount of time on my phone which has become especially evident since installing the app Moment which I urge you all to do too, if not only for the shock of finding out what a huge part of your day is spent aimlessly scrolling! I found that I was constantly being distracted throughout the day by the various notifications flashing up on my phone usually from Instagram or Twitter and for some reason I felt a real need to tend to them straight away. This was seriously damaging my work flow and meant that a task that should have taken me half an hour to get done was instead taking me much, much longer to complete. Removing this distraction has meant that I’m spending less time checking my phone and more time actually being productive!
Arrange Working Dates
One thing that is for certain, the transition to working from home for the first time can be a pretty lonely one so one piece of advice I urge you to take on board to is to try and seek out other local freelancers/full time bloggers/self employed folk before you take the leap.
I’m pretty lucky that I have the Bumble side of my freelancing which means I’m constantly getting out and about and meeting new people but I’ve also really put myself out there over the past couple of months and tried to meet more local self-employed people who understand exactly what you’re going through. I recently went along to a freelancer workshop which is held in Nottingham on a weekly basis and is great for meeting like-minded individuals. I’m sure if you have a research there might be something similar happening in your local town or city, or if not why not try setting up your own co-working meet up? Networking and creating connections has been a key factor for me throughout my transition into working from home full time.
Set Your Own Routine
This is one which I’ve REALLY struggled with so far, moving from a strict 9-5 schedule which is a structure I’ve been used to for the past four years since entering full time work means it’s taking a lot of work to shift my mindset. Going self employed for the first time also means there’s a lot of pressure to make sure you succeed and prove to others that you are spending your days working hard and not just lazying around in your pj’s catching up on the latest episode of The Kardashians…
Because of this I’ve found myself working much longer hours than I used to even in my full time job. My schedule looked a little bit like this; getting up at 7am, switching on my laptop, being chained to my desk until 1pm, taking 20 minutes to guzzle down some lunch and working again until Adam got home at around 6:30pm. I quickly realised that this wasn’t particularly healthy and the main bonus of working for yourself is that you have the flexibility to decide your own schedule and the freedom to structure your day however you like! Since then I’ve been trying my best to mix things up a little, taking an hour out at lunch time to go to a gym class, heading down to a local coffee shop for a couple of hours in the morning, treating myself to a hairdressers appointment midweek when I’d usually have to brave heading into town at a weekend. These are all the small perks that come with being self-employed so I’m trying my best to make the most of them!