Nowadays, we’re witnessing a work-from-home pandemic due to understandable reasons. While many people have difficulties adjusting, freelancers rejoice. The main trick when working from home is to maintain social relations, which seems to pose a particular problem to people unaccustomed to online communication.
Cheer up – working from home is great, so great, in fact, that when everything has passed and you find yourself, once again, at your office, you’ll soon start missing the good old days when freedom was synonymous with work.
For starters, though, you’ll need to adjust the mindset to embrace the possibilities. Here are some expert tips for enjoying work from home from a long-term freelancer who wouldn’t go back to the office even if it was a matter of life and death.
Sounds funny? In fact, it isn’t. As one acquaintance of mine niftily put it on the first evening of his home isolation: it’s time to dress in my nighttime pajamas!
The main trap stay-at-home-workers fall into is to fail to divide work and leisure. Imagine waking up after a very long while and not having to rush to your pre-work morning routine. That’s what people call freedom, but office workers have completely forgotten about this concept.
Albeit it’s a godsend, it’s quite easy to get disoriented. Many people tend to waste time on trivial matters, wasting large portions of a day on menial tasks.
Get dressed when you wake up! Seriously! Not having to rush anywhere doesn’t mean you have nothing to do. While it may be enjoyable to laze around on the first day, in the long run, it is plainly detrimental.
Find the balance, though. Whereas some people find that dressing in their “business clothes” does the mental trick for them, others enjoy wearing more relaxing clothes. Whatever works for you is just fine, just remember to change your clothes when you go out.
Make a Schedule!
Again, the main challenge for stay-at-home workers is that they are bound to be wasting enormous amounts of time on their newfound freedom. Binge-watching your favorite TV shows (and especially now when more and more content is being distributed/streamed online for free) is an easy mistake to make.
The simple truth is that your tasks will still be there once you realize you’re still supposed to be working, even if the setting has changed.
To increase your productivity, make a schedule and stick to it. Working from home does offer that astonishing benefit that you can take a break exactly when you need it: to eat home-cooked meals when you’re hungry instead of when the break is, to exercise when your body craves it and not after leaving the office, etc.
Keep in Touch With People!
According to numerous accounts of unaccustomed workers-from-home, the lack of social interactions is what seems to be most burdening.
Cheer up, people!
With the myriad of apps developed just to make communication across the globe seamless (think in terms of international work teams), communication has never been easier – nor indeed more relaxed.
I would even go so far as to argue that my social interactions took a turn for the better back in the day when I used to teach language lessons online. Not only did I meet many people from abroad, but I was also able to enhance my views for the experience.
The key is in thinking of benefits instead of lamenting over your established way of life. Having the freedom to arrange your days – in their entirety – just the way it suits you best is, no matter how you look at it, a great improvement.
Take Regular Breaks!
Your daily work schedule should include regular breaks. As mentioned above, the only difference as opposed to office work is that you get to choose the optimum time to unwind.
Enjoy your workout and your food, and do listen to your favorite podcast. Think in terms of a lazy Sunday break.
A note on food, though. Although my cats would argue that eating regular meals 7 to 15 times a day with some food left on the carpet for later snacks is the best practice, keep an eye on the subconscious binge eating.
Indeed, one of the greatest challenges people who work from home face is coping with a myriad of snacks. Keep those sweets at arm’s length, and soon the routine will be established.
Choose Your Work Spot Wisely!
Although, personally, I prefer laptops to desktops simply because they can accompany me while venturing outside, office workers turned stay-at-home-workers would do best to choose one place to serve as their home office.
The practice has been proven to do wonders to one’s psyche and not only because you will only be commuting from your work desk to the kitchen and the bathroom, instead of from one part of the city to another.
When you’re not working, don’t linger around your “workplace.” In that way, your brain will get accustomed to different parts of your home being linked to different activities.
Working from home for people with families may be a challenging task – there’s that curious link between children and lack of concentration.
In regular times, kids will be playing outside, doing their homework, etc, but now with the COVID-19 outbreak, things have changed drastically.
To solve this conundrum, stick to the work spot strategy. Choose a corner in your house that will be off-limits for your family and look at it on the bright side: you’re having it easier than loners. At least you’ll get to socialize during lunch breaks and leisure activities.
Limit Your Social Media Activities!
Nowhere is time-wasting more apparent than in case of social media. Don’t we all know it all too well how easy it is to get sidetracked while “just checking my newsfeed?”
With whole days spent at home, “just checking” easily turns into hours and hours spent on browsing irrelevant content at all times of the day, to boot. No good!
This is very similar to wasting time on checking incoming email. For both cases, the recommendation is to designate two time slots when you’ll be checking on the news. Don’t do it during your breaks either – they should be spent on quality activities.
The whole point of making your work life at home more enjoyable is that you get used to your apartment/house being your office, gym and home at the same time. To enhance productivity, stick to your schedule, and by all means – don’t do anything but work from your designated work spot.
Once this has hit home, you’ll find yourself thoroughly enjoying the freedom to design every day just the way you like it. Cheers to freelancing freedom!