If you’re like me, the first day of working from home feels strange. No one is filling your work pipeline with more to do. No one is there to fix a technical issue with your laptop. No one’s approval is required for a day off.
That’s all you, boss.
The combination of freedom and responsibility can be overwhelming to new freelancers – especially when there are clients waiting for your service or product. Pleasing your customers is No. 1 when it comes to running your own freelance show. Because without customers, you’ve got a hobby instead of a business.
And making customers happy comes down to one thing: Productivity. Are your home office operations efficient? Professional? Streamlined? Or are you a bit scattered, mixing in laundry, errands and mid-day jogs that get in the way of your productivity and workflow?
Working from home is hard but you can do it.
Here are three ways to make increase your from-home freelance productivity:
Write (or Type) Things Down
A pen and notebook can be your best friends when trying to balance a growing client list. Who needs what and when? Once you have five to 10 concurrent projects under way, you’ll understand the need for written reminders.
If you’re a digital native, a mobile app like Evernote may be more in your wheelhouse. Find one you like by testing out a few. Check for ease of use and storage capabilities. Also look for one that can be synchronized between your smartphone, laptop and other devices.
You’re projects will be on track in no time.
The entrepreneur in you may be inclined to work 70 hours per week and make as much money as possible. But how long can you sustain that kind of workload? Burn out is a real thing. It can stress you out and make you second-guess why you’re working freelance in the first place.
Remember to take breaks. Not just 15 minutes here or there to eat or catch up on the news. Take Fridays off in the summer. Take Wednesday mornings off to have coffee with friends. One of the main reasons you chose to work from home was flexibility, so why shackle yourself to the desk?
Don’t wait until Thursday morning to start on a project that’s due Thursday afternoon, even if it’s something you can crank out in an hour. Start Monday and work on the project in pieces to give your mind time to reflect on it while it’s in progress.
And turn it in on Wednesday, even if you agreed on Thursday. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
Besides taking notes, making time for breaks and setting mini-deadlines, there are other home office productivity hacks to consider. They include investing in the design of your space to make it fun to spend time in. Paint your walls in bright, creative colors. Add inspirational quotes in vinyl lettering. Buy an office couch to give you an alternate sitting space.
Also, don’t forget to make your health a priority. No one can be focused at work – even if it is at home – if they don’t feel good. Stay on top of your physical, emotional and mental health to optimize your productivity.