This is a guest post from Kevin of Broadband Search about how to work more efficiently from home. If you’re interested in guest posting on Samanthability, check out my guidelines here. I love to feature creative experts!
Improving your personal efficiency and productivity is essential to growing your freelance business. After all, it’s just you, so being able to do more with the same amount of time is one of the most effective ways of increasing your earning potential.
As freelancers, most of us do not have to stick to the 9-5 grind. This is a great perk, and it explains why so many people are expected to make freelancing their career. But working from home does make it harder to resist distraction and stay focused. Becuase you’re on your own, there is no one there looking over your shoulder to keep you in line.
As a result, to be a successful freelancer, it’s important you develop good work-from-home habits, ones that put you in a position to be as efficient and productive as possible. Here are some ways to work more efficiently
Set up a Dedicated Office
Not having to trek into work everyday is a great perk of working from home. But you do need to fight the associations your brain will make between being home and relaxing.
A great way to do this is to set up a dedicated office. This will be the place where you sit down to work. Soon, your brain will associate this space with productivity and not leisure.
Ideally, this office would be a separate room with a door and a lock. This provides a physical distinction between the different spaces of your home, which will have the biggest impact on your psyche.
But many might not have this option, so think about setting up a table somewhere in your house or apartment and designating it your workspace. It could even be the kitchen table, if you must, so long as you commit to the idea that when you’re there, it’s time to get things done.
Make a Schedule
Believe it or not, but the freedom associated with working from home can at times be a burden. Because you’re only bound to deadlines, you do not need to set up a rigid schedule of when to work.
But it’s important to only use this freedom when you have something out of the ordinary planned, such as a trip away or a visit from a friend. The rest of the time you should try to stick to a strict (ish) schedule.
Choose the hours you are going to work each day based on what makes most sense to you, but then plan your life around them. Don’t make lunch plans on the other side of the city if that’s going to ruin your day. Instead, meet up after work.
Don’t sacrifice your productivity time for anything, and you’ll be able to increase your overall output without having to extend the
Treat Freelancing Like a Job
Yes. If you want to, you can work in your pajamas. But ask yourself: what kind of a mood am I in when I’m in my pajamas? Do I want to sit in front of my computer and type out a 2,000-word article? Or do I want to flip on Netflix and put my feet up with a glass of hot chocolate and the pitter-patter of rain?
Set yourself a schedule, and then build a routine around meeting that schedule. Get dressed and prepare yourself as if you were going into an office where the dress code is whatever you decide to wear. However, as a freelancer working from home, it doesn’t matter if you don’t start work till noon, so long as when you sit down, you’re fully present and ready to work.
Adapting this mindset to a flexible lifestyle is critical if you hope to become more productive and efficient when working from home.
This is a case of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Thanks to smartphones, we are capable of doing many things at once, but the more quickly you learn that it’s best to focus on one thing and do it right, the better you will be at working from home.
For most of us, this means ignoring social media, not responding to texts and turning the TV off in the background. While we like to think these things don’t interfere, they really do. Save these activities for your scheduled breaks so that you can be fully focused on the task at hand while you work. (Sam’s edit: I highly recommend the Forest App! It’s only a dollar from the app store, and it helps you block your phone while you use the Pomodoro Technique.)
This will allow you to see more projects through from beginning to end in as few sittings as possible, helping you increase your overall output.
Shake Things Up
Much of what we’ve focused on has dealt with creating routines and good habits that will help you be more efficient and productive. But we must always be careful to not let routine morph into monotony, as this leads to stagnation.
As a result, make sure to remember to use your flexibility to your advantage. Grab your laptop and spend a morning session in a cafe or coworking space. Set up a space outside on the patio if you can. Or pop out for an impromptu walk and a blast of fresh air during one of your scheduled breaks.
These jolts to your reality will help you cherish more the flexibility your work provides, which will inspire you to make the most out of the time you do spend working.
The practices we’ve mentioned here will certainly improve your efficiency and productivity, so long as you adopt a mindset based on self-discipline and accountability.
ltimately, you’re responsible only to yourself. Make sure to spend your time in a way you’ll feel comfortable living with as you move forward.
This might be hard at first, as is the case in any transition, but you’ll soon adapt to something that works for you, allowing you to take full advantage of the freelancer lifestyle.
Kevin is the founder and CEO of Vast Bridges,