According to The Freelancer’s Union, one in three Americans (roughly 42 million) is an independent worker. And by 2020, many predict that freelancers will make up 50% of the labor force. So basically that means, a lot of you reading this are probably working from home right now and may not be wearing pants. The beauty of freelance is that you make your own rules. You are your own boss. No one is watching you. The downside of freelance? No one is watching you. Which means, amongst other things, it is up to you to be as productive as you want.
Now, people who aren’t freelance think you have the ultimate life full of sleeping late, yoga classes in the middle of the day and of course, a pants optional work environment. However, when you are actually surviving off of your freelance money (as I do) you know that the phrase “Get sh*t done” was never more important then it is now. Besides putting on pants here are a few tips to actually being productive for when you work from home and for yourself.
1. Get out of bed
To quote Lauren Conrad, “beds are for sex and sleeping”. I don’t care if you think you can be productive from your bed, you need to move to a table or a desk and sit up straight.
2. Get dressed
A lot of people make this mistake of staying in their pajamas all day and it will not help you. Getting dressed helps you get into work mode. You don’t have to put on a ball gown and curl your hair, but just a pair of jeans will even help or workout clothes. And if you have a video call or conference, better make sure you are business from the waist up.
3. Have a defined work area
Going off of the bed thing, do make sure you have a designed work area where you can have an organized system.
4. Stick to a schedule
This really depends on the person’s work habits and what kind of clients they are working with regularly. What is important is that you get used to some kind of schedule so your body and brain can get accustomed to this schedule. If you find sleeping until 10 a.m and then working until 9 p.m. works better for you then go for it, but many people tend to find that the classic 9 to 5 or around then works best.
5. Make sure you are communicating clearly
Sometimes when you are home, you fall into home mode. This may translate into your emails not being as clear. Because you are not with people in the office, you are already automatically at a disadvantage. Be articulate and clear in all communication and make sure it is well thought out.
6. Try to interact with people when you have the opportunity
Even though you may have hated working in an office with annoying people in your face all day, unless you are a total misanthrope you will actually miss not only talking to people but hearing people around you talk.
Even though you may have hated all your co-workers and boss and are thrilled to not be in an office with them anymore, you will start to crave interaction. Humans are social by nature. Instead of just writing long emails ask to have a phone call or even meet in person.
8. Go to a coffice
Working from home doesn’t mean you actually have to work from home. Some people just need to get out of the house everyday. They need the ambient noise of a coffee shop along with just seeing other people around.