I have chosen to work from home for several reasons, the main one being that I can work flexibly around the kids. I can do the school runs, I can be around during the holidays and I can make those assemblies and workshops at school. It’s important to me that I can do these things. I like working from home for the freedom it gives me to set my own hours, to take on my own workload, to be here for Herbie, and for the reassurance that I can be here if the children do need me. I also love not having to sit in long commutes – I really do not miss those commutes! There is a lot to be said for working from home, especially for yourself, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. It can be challenging to stay motivated, there are a lot of hours spent alone and as anyone who is self-employed knows, you don’t get paid when you don’t work and there is always that uncertainty around income. Which is why today I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips about how to work effectively from home.
Create a work space
This one helps for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it means that in your work space you will have everything that you need to hand so you should be more efficient. Secondly, it will give you that sense of ‘going to work’ and put you in the right frame of work to do so.
Give yourself some structure
It is a good idea to give yourself some structure, rather than just working as and when. This helps you to make sure that you put the hours in that you need to and it can help you on those days when you might not be feeling very positive and motivated.
You might choose to work a certain pattern of hours, or perhaps a certain number of hours suits you best. You might assign yourself tasks that you need to complete each day, or perhaps break your week up into things that you need to do on Mondays, Tuesdays and so on.
Set yourself some goals and targets
Just as you would if you were out and about in the workplace, set yourself some goals. Working without any real aim can be difficult as you will never get that opportunity to stop and recognise that you are doing well. A goal can also serve to motivate you and keep you going through those tougher days.
Build in breaks
Just as you would at work, build in some breaks. Along with the lunch break you’d normally have if you were out at work, there are often little breaks during the day where you might grab a cup of tea or catch up for a few minutes with a colleague. Have those breaks at home as they will help you to be more productive. For me, that’s normally taking the dog out for his walk, as it’s good to get away from my screen out into the fresh air for a while.
Add some variety
For me, this is key. There are various aspects to blogging and copywriting, so I tend to break things up and do a variety of tasks each week. Sometimes I m not inspired to blog, so I might use my time to work on social media, complete admin tasks, take some photos for upcoming posts, or I step away and work on new content ideas.
Take the rough with the smooth
There are likely to be good months and then there are likely to be bad months. Accept this and you are most of the way there with this one. It is a good idea to set yourself an income target, and then during those good months aim to only withdraw your normal income so that any extras can be held there to offset the quieter months.
Working from home is still working
The great thing about working freelance, flexibly and from home, is that I can choose my own hours. The problem with this is that people think that means I want to push my work around so that I am still doing it at 10pm. I don’t want that!
Wherever possible, you need to let family and friends know that you are now working from home, and give them an idea of your typical work schedule or hours that you keep so that they understand that just because you’re at home it doesn’t mean you are available to them.
This one can be hard when you work for yourself from home. No-one is telling you what to do, so work or watch Netflix? It can be tempting! The best way to stay on track is to follow all of the above tips. Set a schedule, stick to it, work towards your goals and take those short breaks to keep you going.
What other tips would you add if you work from home? I’d love to hear more.