Freelancing or working from a remote location often times conjures up images of endless back and forth trips to the fridge, lounging in pajamas, and drinking milk from the carton as you fall into a self-employed slump. Your parents think you might as well be selling friendship bracelets for a non-profit organization on Venice Boardwalk, and your friends assume you’re available at all hours of the day to chat and for the occasional house visit. While the Netflix and Chill appeal is definitely still there, alongside the temptation to take a nap or FaceTime with a friend overseas, the key is to manage your time, stick to your resolutions, and remain self-motivated.
Maintaining productivity outside of an office environment is no simple task, as both your patience and ability to focus is constantly tested by distractions from the likes of phone calls from friends to the dangerous, all consuming access to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
The current freelance economy is burgeoning with well over 50 million freelance workers in the United States today. Amongst this large population are copywriters, designers, bloggers, editors, and web developers who actively set their own hours and work from a remote location.
Set up your workspace to meet your needs and maximize on your productivity. This can mean anything from a hammock in the park, a local coffee shop to supply your frappuccino fix, or rentable office spaces sporadically sprinkled throughout the city. There are a few things to think about when it comes down to choosing the right space for you- the first being, not your bed, or your couch, or anywhere else you utilize as a chill space on non-working hours.
While you may feel most at ease lounging on a lazy boy with your laptop propped on your elongated legs, think twice before getting comfortable. Comfort is not exactly a recipe for productivity and your workspace should be the optimal atmosphere for you to focus, work hard, and remain on top of your assignments.
Establish a routine or schedule that is right for you. You can only live with them, and without them work and play tend to blur together and ultimately drain your energy. Although the most popular perk to freelancing is its flexibility, you should still be setting your own schedule and following it. Set aside distinct hours to be dedicated strictly to work, just as you would distribute your time during a conventional 9-5 shift. Give yourself incremental breaks of 30 minutes, every four hours or so to maximize on your productivity.
Get an early start. Do not let the freedom of setting your own schedule paradoxically get in the way of your productivity. Working from a remote location allows you to have more hours in the morning that you would otherwise be spending commuting to work. You can use this hour to get some extra shuteye, however, be careful not to take advantage of your newfound freedom. Waking up early allows you to get more done and have time left in your day to meet all of your deadlines at an efficient pace.
Get out of your pajamas and into some professional clothes. This goes along with finding a productive space to work, that is not your bed. While pajamas are comfortable and require little to no effort, they can stifle your success by keeping you in an overly relaxed, lazy mindset.
According to University of Hertfordshire and fashion psychologist Dr. Karen Pin, “when we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”
Set aside all forms of technology while you’re working. Checking a simple message may take a mere second. However, our phones are overloaded with information that draws us in and makes us forget why we picked up the phone to begin with. Once the spiral begins, you will find yourself checking your snapchat, scrolling through food porn on Instagram, and feeling completely and totally unmotivated to get back to work. Try to go straight into working in the morning.
Outline your work early in the week to avoid wasting time everyday. For freelance writers, this means outlining a list of potential article topics for each day of the week. That way, you are able to wake up in the morning and get straight to work, minus the excessive time spent brainstorming. Get the pre-work done before to better manage your time and put out the best work possible.