As someone who’s been working as a freelancer for years now, I believe I am among the best people to talk about the benefits and downsides of working from home. While I have personally always loved the fact that I can do some serious work in my pajamas, save on makeup and not worry about whether I’ve washed my hair that day, the fact that I’ve spent all the time at home working, and failing to have a comfort zone to go to after, has been killing me for a while. Things got so bad that at one point I started detesting my work which resulted in me being less productive, breaking deadlines and lowering the quality of material I was, usually, amazing at. That’s when I realized I needed to change something… and I did.
Turns out things were way simpler than I had expected them to be. Once I realized I needed to break the monotony of sameness I was surrounded with, things changed for the better. All I needed was some little, personal space that I have turned into a home office, and things went back on track.
If you too are one of the fellow eager freelancers working from home, I am giving you some of the best ideas that will help you manage your time, keep the quality of your work high, help you stay driven and, above all, keep you comfortable and stimulated.
Here are the steps to follow:
Decide on the location
Go around your home, searching for a perfect spot that can be turned into an office. It doesn’t have to be a big space – as long as it’s just a little bit private, and is not the hot spot of the house – it can serve this purpose. A good location that allows you to focus is half the job done, so make sure you choose wisely. If you’ve got some time on your hands (and some extra cash), you may always turn your basement/pantry/laundry room/garage into your office space and get the right office visual.
Create some comfy space
The desk you are sitting at is your main working surface and you should make it a number one priority. However, every now and then (at least once or twice a day) there’ll come the time when you need to decompress and rest for a bit. This is why it would be very smart to build your office space with an addition of a stylish ottoman, sofa or rocking chair — plus a table for your coffee and a great table lamp. To make things even more inspiring, throw in a luxurious pillow in rich colors and a comfy blanket, and the space will not only immediately get a completely different tone, but it will also become your personal haven. In most cases, a comfort zone is the most often overlooked perk of the home office, and it is high time that changed!
Surround yourself with beauty
Beautiful things are stimulating for all senses, and they tend to positively affect your creative thinking and focus. Depending on their preferences, different people will find different things inspiring and beautiful, so this is your cue to start searching for that one inspiring piece of art you simply must have in your office.
As for me, I love the ocean and motivational quotes, so I dedicated one whole wall to my inspirations. Each time I am feeling down, or the inspiration is failing me, I glance over at my inspiration wall and I instantly feel better.
Here are a few ideas for the things you may incorporate in your inspiration wall:
- Family photos or photos of moments dear to your heart
- Motivational quotes you have an emotional reaction to
- Photographs/pictures of landscapes that motivate you, or give you peace
- Your first earned dollar framed/your hard earned diploma to remind you of success and motivate you further
- Frame pieces of your published work/your favorite articles (if your scope of work has anything to do with writing)
- Mirrors (this is particularly great for small spaces as mirror reflections give small spaces the needed depth)
- Paint your wall a color you love, or find interesting/inspiring. You may use wallpapers, too
Be ergonomic and practical
Regardless of how big or small your space is, to work productively you need to be sitting in a clean, organized space. While creative chaos is just fine if you are Picasso (which you are not), chaotic spaces tend to reflect negatively on the way we function, resulting in an even greater chaos in our minds. This is why you should make it your business to keep your space tidy, organized and ergonomic.
- Rely on cabinets for things you don’t use: Stock and pile up files and folders you rarely use and store them away. Don’t just throw everything in, though. Place all those things neatly, so that – when you need them – you can find them in a few moments
- Use wide spaces like the surface of your desk to place your phone, keyboard, an additional computer screen, scanner, laptop (whichever piece of equipment you use) in an orderly manner so everything is at your immediate reach
- Build shelves above your desk to store books, boxes with additional paperwork, etc.
- Throw away things you no longer need
People respond beautifully to all things green in their office space. A plant in your work space is sending out a subliminal message that you are actually outdoors, enjoying – not stuck with your deadlines, working. Plus, most plants tend to have a wonderful smell, so you’ll have your natural refresher. Place a few plants close to the window so they can grow. You can place one plant at the top right corner of your desk for success (well, at least according to Feng Shui).
See? Not all is that complicated. All you need to do is brainstorm a little, go by some of these advice that fit your space and working style and you are good to go!