Working from home is increasingly a reality for many of us millennials. According to Gallup Poll’s State Of The American Workplace 2017, 43% of Americans are working remotely, and that is not even taking into account the “gig economy” and side hustles scored off sites like Craigslist or ProBlogger’s Job Board.
Working from home can be a dream come true, but it can also be a total nightmare. Living where you work makes it difficult to truly attain a life/work balance; leaving you feeling like you’re always working. Add to this the stress that can come, if you’re working exclusively as a freelancer, from not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from. Maintaining healthy habits while working from home is a necessity, if you have any hope of doing remote work long-term.
Whether you’re just starting out working from home, or you’re a seasoned freelancer, we hope that you’ll find some comfort and food for thought from our guide to preserving your sanity while working from home!
Create A Dedicated Work Space:
If you use your dinner table as an office desk, you might be tempted to work while you’re eating – which is not only unhealthy, it’s also highly unproductive. It will also help your work from taking over your home. Imagine trying to get a good’s night sleep, right next to your inbox. It’s a recipe for bad dreams and a restless night!
Have Firm Electronic Boundaries:
As freelancers and remote workers, we often work with clients from all over the world, spread across every conceivable time zone. It’s always 9 a.m. somewhere, and some of your clients might be getting into the office and their workday while you’re just brushing your teeth and getting into your PJs. First of all, you have to have a dedicated work e-mail, if you’re even dabbling as a freelancer! Turn off the push notifications and alerts from your work e-mail when you’re done working for the night and absolutely, under no circumstances, do not check it until you’re ready to clock in again! Not only is it mandatory for our peace of mind, as freelancers, but it’s also a service to our clients. We can’t do good work when we’re tired and unfocused.
If you’re concerned about missing messages, and the opportunities they might contain, automation can save your sanity! In fact, anyone who’s even remotely serious should be using automation for at least some of the more mundane, time-consuming tasks of the day. Consider automating your social media posts, using a program like HootSuite or SproutSocial. For automated e-mail messages, such as “I’m Out Of The Office”, try using e-mail automation/autoresponder software like AWeber.
Having firm boundaries is essential if you’re going to make it as a work-from-home freelancer. Imagine if a boss at some 9-to-5 job asked you to come into the shop at 12:30 a.m., to do five minutes of work, possibly without pay. Now imagine that happens every single day! One of the main advantages of working from home is the flexibility and freedom it provides. This advantage goes out the window if you’re constantly chained to your laptop or phone. It’s also not doing our clients any favors, as you’re likely not working to your peak potential, and run the very real risk of burnout. Remember: Work Smart, Not Hard! (actually, Work Smart, AND Hard!)
Learn How To Say “No”:
This is essential for freelancers of all kinds, for many reasons. Maybe the client is in a field completely outside of your niche or industry, and the project won’t contribute to your portfolio or freelance career. Or, most often, they’re just not offering enough money, or even worse, asking you to work for free. These are necessary evils, especially when you’re just starting out as a work-from-home freelancer, while building your portfolio and honing your skills. You absolutely will burn out – FAST! – if you work for too little money. There are multitudes of unscrupulous business owners who are looking for great content, cheap!, and they’d be more than happy to pay you $3/hour to do it! Freelancers don’t have any of the protection of “regular jobs”, including a minimum wage, so nobody’s looking out for you. You have to look out for yourself.
What are some of your thoughts, questions, or concerns about working from home or freelancing? What are some industries you’d like to know more about? Is there anyone out there who’s already a remote worker, with any experiences or insights to share? We’d love to hear from you! Say hello in the comments!