Something that’s not often mentioned when talking about freelance work…it can get kind of lonely. When it’s summer and I can leave the house whenever I like, walk the dog, go to brunch, skip out on work and spend the day at the beach – that’s when working from home on my own schedule is the best. But on days like today when it’s barely above zero degrees and the sidewalks are buried under a foot of snow, things can get a little depressing.
Here are a few ideas to keep you motivated to work when you’re stuck inside all winter long…
Work from a room with a view (or at least a window)
For most of the year I work from my couch which is positioned facing a wall with the window behind me. Totally fine when I can also work outside on the deck or take breaks to walk the dog. But in the winter the deck is covered in snow and dog walks are seldom, so I’ve started working upstairs in my office at my desk, which sits in front of a window. It’s much warmer up there and some days there’s even sunshine!
Shower when you wake up
I know, I know, as freelancers we’ve earned the right to work in our pjs all day. I’m currently wearing leggings and slippers, so I’m not great at following this rule, but when I do it really helps. I end up feeling more energized and motivated than I do on days I stay in comfy clothes until 5pm.
Work outside the house
Another one I’m terrible at because warm/cozy/pjs/puppy/couch. Working from a coffee shop, library or cafe with free wifi would probably really help with cabin fever. Ya know, doing normal work-type stuff like being around other people and putting on pants.
Connect with “coworkers” on Gchat
Mandy is my constant connection to the outside world most days. It’s like having a coworker in the cube next door except I’m working from my couch in my pjs and we can talk about stuff that’s really inappropriate for a work environment.
Stick to a workout plan
I luckily have working out included in my job description and am at the studio teaching six to eight times a week. But if you don’t have that luxury, then you need add some sort of class or exercise DVD to your schedule a few times a week. I was hooked on P90X cardio last year and I’ve heard lots of good things about cycling and barre classes. I bet you could even find a Groupon or Living Social deal right now to get you started.
Sit in the sun
The thing making me most happy today – the sun is out! And it’s streaming straight into my office window. Every few minutes I tilt my head to the side, close my eyes and enjoy a face full of sun. I live in one of the most cloudy states, so when the sun is out I take full advantage. You should too!
Keep your house tidy
This may seem like an obvious one, but I know when I have a full client load or a show coming up my house is going to end up trashed. The dining room table becomes a dumping ground for everything, I run out of clean undies, my kitchen ends up grimy and gross. But just the other day I scrubbed the heck out of everything and I was so happy to walk into a clean bathroom in the morning. If this is a challenge for you, try my grandma’s trick – assign a day to each job. Laundry on Monday, vacuum on Tuesday, dust on Weds.
Plan a mid-winter trip
You work from home – take advantage! Even if it’s just a little day trip to somewhere slightly warmer or a night in a hotel with a pool. Treat yo self! My brother is getting married in California at the end of February and I’ve been thinking about warmer temperatures and ditching my snow boots every day. I’ve been day dreaming about seeing the ocean and grass and palm trees and it’s absolutely helping me beat the winter blues.
Adopt a pet
You know who I talk to all day long? My dog. It might not speak all day long if it weren’t for his furry face. It’s nice to know there’s another living thing hanging out while I work and he gives me a reason to get up and go for a walk when it’s not so damn cold out.
I asked my freelance friends to weigh in on Twitter too, here’s what they said…