If you work from home everyone thinks you have it easy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether you’re a freelancer, telecommute or own a home-based business, working at home has its peculiarities. As a life-long freelancer, over the years I’ve learned to adapt to working in different situations, including a party during which I had to wear earplugs while working at my computer so I could meet a deadline.
It may be difficult for people who hold regular jobs to understand that just because you don’t go to an office to work, you are not always available. This can include members of your own family, of course. If you have a separate room as a home office you can shut the door. And that’s great. But if you don’t have a separate room to work in, you’ll be joining the ranks of people who work at the dinner table, in a corner of the living room, or even propped up in bed with a laptop on your lap just to get the job done.
If you’re starting a homebased business, or are working remotely, here are some tips to help you get the work done:
1- Block out hours on your planner during which you need to work.
If you´re a freelancer and your work-load and deadlines fluctuate, you may need to do this on a per-project basis.
2- Dress the part even if nobody else will see you.
While it´s great to be able to work in your PJs, I find that I have more drive when I´m dressed and groomed as if I’m going into a corporate office. This also helps me be more assertive when I need to be on the phone for work.
3- Get out of the house.
Some people prefer to work in the same place all the time because it helps them get in the right frame of mind to concentrate. However, at times I prefer to go to the library, a Starbucks or the local bookstore. It helps me not get sidetracked into cleaning the house or taking a nap.
4- Turn off your e-mail and phone alerts.
Better yet, turn off the phone. Checking your e-mail and answering the phone can be very distracting. It takes time to get back into gear every time you take a call or pause to answer emails.
Also read: Loving your job no matter what you do
5- Schedule breaks during your working time.
By scheduling regular breaks every hour or two, I find it easier to stay on task. Click To Tweet
Freelancers and home-based entrepreneurs may find it difficult to completely shut off from work. But it’s healthy to take time away from the computer or from your business so that you can enjoy friends and family and recharge your mental batteries.
7- Pace yourself.
When I was younger, I was afraid of turning down freelance gigs. So I took in all the work I could and finished it even before deadline—even if it meant no sleep. Later on in life I realized that it´s ok to tell a client that I’m booked for the next two weeks. Most of the time, they can wait and I’m less frazzled.
8- Explain your work to your kids.
Your kids may not understand that your work is just as important as that of their other parent who has a regular job. Explain to them what you do for a living. If they’re very young and you must work around them, tell them how long you need to be left alone for. When my girls were younger, I would say, “Mommy needs to be on the computer (or the phone) for as long as three Dora the Explorer episodes.”
9- Work during your peak hours.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to choose, I suggest you work during your peak hours. Click To Tweet
I’m not a morning person. I’m a lot more productive later in the day, but I can’t always take advantage of that because I’m the mom of young kids. I can, however, get twice as much done in the same time if I work at night.
10- Keep in touch with other freelancers or home-based entrepreneurs.
And if you have any other tip to add to mine … please share them!