Freelance: 10 ways to keep from losing your mind when you work from home

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Over this past year of freelancing I’ve found it’s all too easy to create a never ending to-do list, work late into the night (no, I’m not doing that right now…) and do all the things, all the time. It’s also easy to stay in your pjs all day, get sucked into Netflix and lose your motivation for days on end.

So here are my top 10 tips to keep from losing your mind when you work from home.

1. Create a schedule. It doesn’t have to be 9 to 5/40 hrs a week, but get to bed and wake up at a consistent time and make sure your schedule includes a couple days off!

2. Track your time (we’ve talked about this one before!) Know how long it takes you to complete tasks, when you best time to work is, and how much time you’re wasting doing unimportant things.

3. Take an afternoon vacation when you just don’t feel like working – take a bath, go to the park, treat yourself to dessert. You have the ability to create your own schedule, so take advantage of it!

4. Say no to things you just don’t want to do – no excuse needed. People sometimes think since you work at home you have all the time in the world…nope, still have a full-time job.

5. Hire people to do the things you hate, but can’t avoid. For me, it’s cutting the lawn. Not work related at all, but it’s one thing I never have to worry about doing. For work stuff, a virtual assistant might be a good idea.

6. Have a space that is just for working. Lots of times I work from my couch or deck, but I’ve found if I really need to get down to business and am procrastinating I need to be in my office, at my desk. (Where I’m currently writing this from) It’s also nice to have a few workspace options at home if I’m feeling restless or unmotivated.

7. Work outside the house once or twice a week or start your day with a brunch/brainstorm session.

8. Get dressed or at least shower. I don’t always follow this one if I’m not planning to leave the house, but if I’m feeling stuck or lazy it helps to get ready even if I’m headed right back to my desk.

9. Process things in bulk. Go through your email three times a day, fill in spread sheets twice a week, fill orders once a day. This will keep your head clear instead of constantly attending to whatever is popping up.

10. Be done when you’re done. When you work for yourself there is generally a slight panic at the end of the day that you should keep working because there’s always more to do. Decide at the beginning of the week what needs to be accomplished and then plan your days. When you’ve accomplished all the tasks for a day, close up shop. Hard to do, but a habit well worth forming.

OK all you freelancers – what are your tips for keeping your head on straight when working from home?

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Comments

  1. says

    Yes, yes and yes!

    I totally need reminding of these. Sometimes the simplest of acts can make me more productive. This includes leaving the house to work elsewhere a few times a week. Getting dressed and having a proper desk area to work. (said desk is currently under a pile of paperwork – must tidy pronto).

  2. Sydney says

    Thank you for sharing! I loved all your tips. I would be extremely appreciative if you could tell me more about your spread sheets. I’m assuming you use google docs, I’m kind of a caveman with spread sheets. Thank you. :)

  3. says

    These are all things we need reminded of from time to time. For work space I’d also like to add — a nice, comfy, ergonomic office chair! A backache is never fun. My husband works construction and makes fun of me for complaining about having a backache from work, and I “sit all day”… it’s no joke! lol

  4. says

    Great tips! :) The afternoon vacation and taking a shower work for me! Sometimes I can’t get my writing juices on so I watch a favorite movie on my laptop for a while, or read a book, or do some chores I’ve been putting off (like laundry!). Sometimes I ‘forget’ to shower since I’m home all day anyway, but it does help when I’m fresh and cool after a shower. It makes me find the energy to work! :)

  5. says

    thank you for sharing this! i am hoping to make the move to self employed in the next year or so and articles like this are exactly what i need to get inspired + stay prepared for it all— eep!

  6. says

    Loved this post! I have an outside job but also blog (do that work) from home and also am contemplating continuing my degree online. These are all great tips to help alleviate some of the stresses I’ve found from “working” from home! Thanks again! x

  7. says

    A cup of tea and a shower or a lemon scented bath work wonders for me :)
    Also having a 45 minute nap in between when nothing’s working for me can really help reset my mood and productivity.

    Lots of good tips here!

  8. Dori says

    Tracking time is the most important for me. If I don’t, I can get carried away, fast! I also like that you added to note what time of day you do things best. I will have to try that out!

  9. says

    Thank you for this! I’ve been struggling with working from home for a while. I just can’t seem to get it together. I start off strong then putter out after a couple of hours and then go into melt down/panic mode. Thanks again, lady!

  10. says

    Your tips were much needed at the moment – I have a couple days off and it’s so hard to schedule what I need to do without attempting everything! I’ll especially have to remember this when I’m working from home in a couple months.

  11. says

    I like to have a regular coffee date with a friend either Monday or Friday mornings – a nice way to either plan the week or planning doing the end of the week cleanup. Talking to someone else is great, just to get out of your head a bit.

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