The idea of working from home can seem like bliss to someone who has been working nine to five in an office for their entire lives. The idyllic days of working in your pyjamas, getting up late, supping your favorite cuppa or venturing to your local coffee shop to people watch while checking emails can appear like heaven. However, working from home while working for yourself takes some will power and if you’re a parent too, you need to be organised. It’s all too easy to procrastinate, scroll through your social media feeds for hours on end, and check out the latest rolling news ticker feed.
If you are starting out on your first entrepreneurial adventure, you might be a little overwhelmed at the sorts of duties that now fall on your shoulders. Being concerned with money will be the number one worry. However, by working from home you can save massive amounts of cash on hiring an office. Instead, working from home could be the ideal solution, at least until you expand and have to hire staff. Take a look at the joys of working from home, and also how to survive by ensuring that you maximise your own productivity.
Wake Up Early
Ok, so the lie in is a huge incentive to work from home, but have a lie in every day and you won’t wake up productive. You’ll feel sluggish and meander downstairs still in your pyjamas, switch on morning TV, and before you know it, it’s the afternoon. You need to be self disciplined and set your alarm just like you would on a normal working day. Get up, have a shower, eat breakfast and start working at your desk. Check your emails with your favourite coffee in hand, and set a plan of action for the day, ensuring that you tick off your duties you complete them. This way, you can see the impact that you are having while working from home. Although working from home affords you more freedom, if you take it, you will end up working fewer hours and being less productive. Remember, this is your way of earning a living now and you rely on no one else but yourself, so you have to get it right,
Don’t Work On The Sofa
There are way too many distractions if you choose to set up your laptop in the living room. Your sofa may be the most comfortable place in the house, but it isn’t conducive to working. Set up a home office and equip it as you would expect your desk to look if you were employed and working in a commercial premises. By setting up a wholly different area of the house, you are able to separate your work and home lives more easily. There’s nothing worse than being on the phone to a client, only for your little darlings to rush in and demand something to eat. You need an area that is for work only.
Your living room needs to be the space where you can escape your new freelance existence. This is the area where you retreat to after work, where you rest your weary bones and where you chill out in front of the TV. Your work laptop remains firmly in your home office.
Take Breaks when working from home
Just as you would if you were still employed, it’s crucial that you take breaks throughout the day. Being cooped up at home sounds lovely, but you can soon get cabin fever. Rather than running the risk of turning into Johnny from The Shining, you need to stretch your legs every so often. If the weather is good, take a stroll to the park, find a nice bench and have lunch, and take the dog for a walk halfway through the day. This gives you time to clarify your thoughts, work through what you have achieved already throughout the day, and allows you to return home reinvigorated to carry on.
Even taking a break to watch a bit of TV is no bad thing. Just don’t fall into the trap of making a sandwich, sitting down to watch the next episode from your favourite boxset only to catch forty winks. You may never wake up ready to continue with your working day!
Be Equipped Online
It’s vital that you hit the ground running as a freelancer when working from home. Get some help with your web design, enjoy updating your social media feeds, and set up a business blog. With a solid online presence, you are more visible to your potential clientele. This means that you will be busier with leads and will have less time to procrastinate. When you go freelance, there is always the nagging worry that you won’t get enough work to make a living. By ensuring that your online presence is maximized, you can attract potential clients by showing off examples of your work, by setting up a whole host of online profiles and by answering queries quickly.
Get Family On Board
Working from home may seem like an easy life to many of your friends and family. They probably have images of you relaxing in the garden, cocktail in hand as you catch a few rays while surfing the Internet. The reality is very different, so you need to try and communicate how you will be working to those closest to you. You have to have the support of family and friends when you undertake such a massive shift in your professional life. No longer will you have the camaraderie of office colleagues, so it’s important that you can chat openly with family.
If your spouse or kids are home when you are working, they need to realise that you need your professional space. Without this, you risk procrastination or frustration.
With your newfound freedom at home comes newfound isolation. This can come as a shock to many. No longer do you have your best office pal to have coffee with mid-morning. You don’t have work social events to attend. And you don’t have time to call up a friend for a catch up. Instead, you need to be proactive in keeping communication channels with friends open. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by your work life, especially in the first few months when you go freelance. You need to work hard but you also need to ensure that you don’t work yourself into the ground. You have to ensure that you not only take breaks during the day, but that you also maintain your weekends for family time and social events. Head to your pal’s barbecue, go to the movies on a midweek evening and relax with your favourite tipple every now and then. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of succumbing to pressure and stress.
Working from home means that you’ll need to become more organised with your chores. Get your lunch made the night before, put the laundry on first thing in the morning before you even switch on your laptop and think about getting yourself a dishwasher if you don’t already have one. The last thing you’ll want to do after a hard day’s work in the home office is do the dishes. Chores are boring, but they quickly build up if you don’t get on top of them. You need to set out a weekly plan for chores and stick to it. This will help you manage your time more effectively, and your home will never look like a bomb has hit it.
Becoming a freelancer is exciting, but it can also be daunting. You need to ensure that you hone your organisational skills, you prevent procrastination at all costs, and you have the support of friends and family, so you can make your foray into freelancing a success.