The home alone freelancing life has many
benefits; however, it’s not without its challenges. One of the biggest is
Working alone is brilliant for uninterrupted
concentration on the task in hand, but when there’s no getting away from the thoughts
in your own head, it can get deflating, and nobody can perform well when
deflated. At this point, it’s all too easy to feel the creeping doubt that
everyone else is massively successful and doing great work while you’re at home
It's good practice to benchmark yourself
against others, but if you're not connecting with people, it’s easy to lose
perspective when you only see the success of others and none of the struggle
and the failures they experienced as they slogged it out for five years to
achieve overnight success.
Ultimately, we’re social creatures, so how does the home worker avoid cabin fever? Here are the Enterprise Steps top 10 tips gathered from my many years spent working from home. A time when the best conversations often seemed to be between me and myself.
1. Get dressed:
Tempting as it may be to work in your favourite pyjamas, it’s probably not be the best choice for a productive working day.
Getting ready is important, we all know how you dress can affect the way you feel. One study, published by Sage Journals, suggests that dressing formally changes the thought processes.
2. Get out of the house:
Even if it is just once a day, and even if it's just a walk around your local area. Do some window shopping, or keep the corner shop going by doing some actual shopping. On the way back home, take a different route.
You may well be rolling your eyes and thinking "that’s great, but I don't have time for that, I’ve got work to do". That’s true; however, if you never leave the home office in the belief that staying in means staying productive you may well end up unproductively wasting time stressing about upcoming tasks and not focusing on the task in hand.
3. Attend events:
Some obvious choices are conferences, networking, and training. Get out there not with the thought of gaining business, but to meet people and build a support network. Remember to check out upcoming events on Enterprise Steps.
4. Work outside the home:
Pick up your laptop, tablet or other device of your choice and leave your home. Great places include local parks, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, libraries, museums, galleries, or any public space with decent Wi-Fi.
Working away from home
presents its own challenges. If you’re not using a cloud based storage
solution, it may limit what you can do. Using a cloud based service will solve
a lot of access problems when working from your favorite not at home location.
So, who has the best Wi-Fi, the most power sockets, and the easiest going staff? To get you started, check out Workfrom.
5. Morning Phone Calls:
Try to do some work calls first thing. This means that each working day will start with you instantly engaging with life outside of the home.
Chatting with friends and family is good, but don’t encourage them to call during working hours.
Great for putting a face to a name in business. Instead of a long email thread, maybe a Skype or Facetime call would be more efficient and help with the isolation caused by too little face to face contact.
7. Social Media:
Great for connecting with likeminded people, but be disciplined and always be using the time spent on your socials with a defined goal in mind. Importantly, step away when you need to concentrate.
8. Make a Designated Space For Work
Just like getting dressed, see above, dedicating work to a defined area, such as a sectioned-off part of your home, can help build that all important productive work environment and creates a mental commute out of the bedroom.
9. Make Sure Your Business Has an Off Switch
Remember to shut off when the day is over. Making yourself available all hours of the day should be the exception, not the rule. Ignore this and it will become an expectation, and you can then say goodbye to any work-life balance.
Let everyone know your working hours. That way, you set the expectation that you’re not available around the clock. If you ignore this, expect to be overworked.
10. Create 5 Minutes of Work to Non-work Transition Time
Try having a period of transition between work time and non-work time. Even just 5 minutes to decompress and recalibrate your mindset from work life to home life can help.