There is a lot happening in the world right now and as a result, more people are working from home for the foreseeable future. But if you’ve only done it sporadically over the last while, having home as both a workspace and a living space can get repetitive and isolating real quick.
I’ve been freelancing full time since last year, but my previous job let staff work from home twice a week. It’s been somewhat of a smoother transition but I learnt some lessons about my own productivity and how to make sure I don’t feel cooped up.
Figure out when you’re most productive
The one good thing about working from home is that you can find out a lot more about your actual productivity (useful for any other aspect of your life). Despite what capitalism says, 9am to 5pm isn’t always the most useful way to work and time at home can help you figure out what does. Personally, I wake up between 7am and 8am. I prefer getting an earlier start to my day so I can end off before I get cranky and tired. I’m not very helpful after 4pm so I try and organise my day to be as productive as possible in the morning, with the least amount of interruptions. You can also try out productivity methods, like the Pomodoro Technique or check out what apps might work for you.
Have a designated workspace
Carve out a desk space that’s just for work and try not to work from your room where possible. I find having a space that is just related to job stuff makes it easier to wind down from “work mode”. My bedroom is strictly for rest and relaxation, so I don’t feel anxious when trying to chill out from a long day. I personally don’t work from coffee shops on my own, because I find it distracting and expensive in the long run.
Lock down a morning routine
Wash your face, brush your teeth and get the coffee/tea or breakfast going. It’s very VERY easy to get stuck into your work and before you know it, you’re unwashed in pajamas with unmatched socks. It’s not great for the rest of the day, I am speaking from experience.
Test out what works for you, maybe you enjoy a morning workout or tidy-up to wake up your body.
Get a planning method that works for you
I can’t stress enough how much planning factors into a successful work week. I have Trello, a physical diary, a notebook and my Google calendar. I have a lot of projects running at the same time and admin I have to keep track of. In order to stay on top of things, I fill in my G-cal on a Monday morning, since that’s my official admin time. Trello acts like a digital board, where I can place all my projects and see in one go, all that needs to be done.
Schedule proper breaks
Yes, taking a break is important. I have a set lunch time between 12pm and 1pm. I also do my workouts before 1pm because physical activity late at night doesn’t work for me. I do the dishes in the morning and sometimes, do a load of washing so I get to switch off from work and get away from my computer screen.
Try not to work over weekends
It’s very easy to get into this habit, but I promise you, don’t do it. You need to know when your work stops and life happens. You can’t be online all the time and boundaries are important. At some point, you have to take responsibility for you own health and realize that you’re not helpful to anyone if you’re exhausted.
And if you’re interested, I wrote more about what to know about going freelance over on All the Pretty Birds.
Stay as safe as you can, help flatten the curve and assist your community. Hope this was helpful!