February 2, 2018 10:33 am
Being your own boss and working from home is pretty much the dream, right? Especially when you’re used to hitting the snooze button five times, shoving half a soggy Weetabix in your mouth, slurping your coffee on the run and sprinting off the tube to be at your desk for 8:59 on the dot. But, whilst working from home beats working for ‘the man’, any day, (in my opinion) it’s not without its challenges. Without the structure of a standard 9 to 5, you can easily slide into a life of lazy breakfasts and working in your pyjamas till 11:30 am. Whilst on some occasions that kind of behaviour is totally necessary and hella enjoyable, it’s not a great habit to be getting into. It leaves you constantly on the backfoot, you’re never ‘ready’ for that unexpected conference call, it’s much harder to just quickly nip out to a meeting… Plus, you can only take so much judgement from the postman. So, I thought I’d put together 5 tried and tested ways to nail working from home.
ONE – Set a routine. You’re freshly out of your 9 to 5 and you’re probably thinking fuck routine, I’m free!!! But in all honesty, a routine will keep you honest, it will be the thing that keeps you on the path to achieving your dreams. Without a routine you’ll quickly become aimless and wasting time will be a regular occurrence. Now, the beauty of this is, you can create a routine that works for you! Are you a night owl? Great! Plan to work later than usual and then wake up at a more reasonable hour. Do you suffer from that dreaded afternoon slump? (We all do!) So plan for it. Use that hour or two from 3 pm to take a break, walk the dog, go to the gym, watch Netflix, whatever it is you want to do that will help with your productivity during your working hours. The world is your oyster, my fellow freelancer, set yourself up for success.
TWO – Make a plan. Not having a plan will be the death of me, I swear. Without a plan my mind can wander faster than Usain Bolt. I start to make a plan and then before I know it, 3 hours have passed and I have 15 tabs open and a half-finished to-do list! The ideal situation is to make a plan the night before, section it off into an order of priority. Things that absolutely must be done the following day, things that need to be done ASAP, but there’s a little wiggle room, things that need doing at some point. Make sure you start with your important task and get that done when your energy and brain power is at 100%. (Your emails can wait until later!)
THREE – Stop scrolling. I work online (obviously) and this is something I really struggle with, I find myself checking apps mindlessly throughout the day. So, this year I’m making a conscious effort to stick to a few ground rules where social media is concerned. I have allocated certain times during the day as when I can use and engage on social media, aside from that I’m not picking up that damn phone unless it rings. You’ll be amazed at how much quicker you finish your to-do list when you’re not wasting time on social media.
FOUR – Make plans. It’s quite easy to get sucked into a routine of work, eat, sleep but remember why you’re doing this. You’re freelance and working from home because you knew that there was more to life, more enjoyment and fulfillment to be had. Make plans with friends, hit up a co-working space, work and socialise with someone other than your cat every now and again, you will feel refreshed and re energised once you do. As an introvert, I struggle with this one but the irony is, as much as I need time alone to be able to work well and efficiently, I also start to lose my marbles if I don’t see people for a prolonged period of time.
FIVE – Save as much as you possibly can. Cash flow issues are the bane of a freelancers life. People don’t pay on time. When you’re ill you don’t get sick pay. Your laptop / phone / camera breaks – it’s all on you to fix / replace it. Tax season is hell on Earth… There are any number of things that can come up and cause you some serious financial stress. First off, just know that it happens to the best of us and not having thousands in the bank does not make you a failure, it’s always a slog when you first start out and it was never meant to be easy but trust me, things will even out over time. The only real solution to this is to save as much as possible when the work is rolling in and then you’ll have a safety net for when times are leaner, or the tax man takes everything but the shirt off your back. I would also recommend having a credit card, for work-related emergencies, that way you should never be in a position where you’re unable to carry out work due to unforeseen circumstances.
Also, here’s 5 things I wish I knew before going freelance.
If you’re already rocking that freelance life, here is how to bag those dream clients!