Well, how do you feel after being in a pandemic for the last 18 months? Have you become accustomed to working from home or can you not wait to get back into the office? Working remotely full time comes with challenges and if you’re not careful it can cause stress, anxiety and lead to burnout. Here are some tips on how you can stay at the top of your game.
So, you decided to give the freelance lifestyle a go, or perhaps the office dynamics have changed and now you work more from home? The first thing you need to do is get into a routine and start the day correctly. Get into the working mindset and dress like you’re going into the office, instead of commuting to work, commute around the local park, maybe get a dog – I did once I decided I’d be based 100% from home.
It’s all about creating boundaries and that includes where you work. Ideally you need an office space, I know I do. During the school holidays the kids can be at the forefront of your attention and you need separation. Create a clean, clear environment with just you, the laptop and a coaster for a strong coffee to give your brain some space to focus. On hot days I work downstairs with the doors open, some cool beats in the background to create some atmosphere with a new family addition – ‘Cooper’ our fluffy pet dog to keep me company. It’s also a good idea to move around maybe for meetings and keep things fresh, it really does make a difference.
One of the most challenging aspects of freelance or remote working is ending your working day. If you’re new to freelance what your instinct may tell you is that you need to work long hours and do as much as possible in case work dries up. You have to be realistic with the hours you work or your family life will suffer and this is why lots of freelancers fail. Always remember, you are successful if you’re in control of how and when you work, don’t let anyone dictate that to you. Make a rule – at 5pm you close your laptop and check emails again the next day. This will keep your relationship, wellbeing and mental health in check.
You’re looking at your screen for several hours a day, move around and get out of the house especially if it’s a nice day. I tend to find I can solve a problem twice as fast if I step away from my screen, I become more assertive and don’t over think things and this definitely improves remote working.
Get a schedule in place, be in control of your own time and the plan your workload. The key thing to this is to stick to your timings and be honest about when you can deliver projects. Try and focus on one client per day and book a maximum of 2 meetings in, that way you’ll feel like you’re making the best use of your time which will help boost your productivity.
This is probably the most important key to success as a freelance designer. You need to be efficient with this as you’ll want to stay within budget and use it as a benchmark to quote for future jobs. Your time is precious and you can’t get it back so make sure you make the best of it so you can enjoy an actual life outside of work and feel happier, healthier and more satisfied overall.