5 Tips on How to Stay Energized While Working from Home
When working from home, it can be all-too-easy to fall into a ‘remote rut.’ Here are some tips that have helped me stay motivated, energized, and feel less lonely while working remotely as a full-time freelancer.
To many, working from home sounds like the ultimate dream. When I tell friends that I work remotely as a freelance copywriter, the conversation usually goes something like this:
“You work from home? You are so lucky! Do you get to work in your pajamas all day?”
It’s true that there are some days I work from home in my pajamas, or a local coffee shop, or a coworking space. And, while that may sound like a dream to many, it is very easy to get into a rut when working remotely. There are some days, especially when I work from my apartment, that I will go eight or nine hours without speaking to a single person. Without coworkers and a defined workspace, it is far easier to feel lonely during the day. Having a social routine in place can play a significant role in helping freelancers combat the solidarity that can come with this career path.
Here are some tips I have found most helpful as a full-time freelancer:
1. Make After-Work Plans at Least Twice a Week (not including weekends)
As a full-time freelancer, you will spend a lot of time alone. Even if you are in a coffee shop surrounded by other people, you are still working on projects solo. Occasionally, you might meet up with another freelancing friend and work together, but for the most part, it will just be you and your computer.
Working solo does wonders for productivity because you are free of distractions from coworkers, bosses, etc., but it can get a bit tiresome after an eight-hour workday. Therefore, it is imperative that you spend quality time with friends, family, loved ones, former coworkers, and anyone else who is important to you.
Try to make plans at least twice a week, not including weekends. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy; grabbing breakfast with a friend one morning or happy hour drinks with a former coworker after work will help you feel more connected to those around you. It also offers great motivation to complete your work on time, allowing you to step away from a project and breathe for a bit.
2. Speak with an Accountability Partner Once a Week
In most standard offices, team members conduct weekly meetings and check-ins to keep themselves motivated and on-task. Before I became a freelancer, I worked in a corporate environment for several years, where my team and I had weekly check-ins with our boss, quarterly reviews, etc. I was always held accountable for my work, the status of specific projects, etc. Although this is frustrating to some, it is helpful to have someone hold you responsible for your work.
This doesn’t exist in the freelancing world.
Although freelancing full-time requires tremendous discipline, it can be easy to get knocked off course. Having an ‘accountability check-in’ with a motivated friend or another freelancer does wonders when trying to stay on task.
If you know you will need to check in with someone a few times a week, it will motivate you to complete that work before the check-in. You can also set up goals for the following week and have your accountability partner check on those deliverables.
3. Book a Short Trip Every Few Months
Here’s the best part about being a freelancer: you get to work anywhere you want. Living in New York City, I tend to forget that I have this flexibility sometimes and become so immersed in the hustle of this city. But having the opportunity to travel whenever and wherever you want is a true blessing, and it’s something that freelancers should really take advantage of.
With that being said, being frugal is a necessity for freelancers, particularly when initially starting out. So, I don’t advise doing this until you establish a consistent client base and a steady flow of income. After the first year or so, however, you should have a fairly predictable schedule and can allow yourself more flexibility. Taking some time to get away every few months enables you to continue running your business (as most freelancers only need their laptop) while offering a new environment, new people, and new inspiration for your work.
Unsure where to go? Check out Hacker Paradise, which books destinations around the world with vibrant coworking spaces and high-end housing, making it easy for freelancers and remote workers to ditch the desk and work from the beach in Brazil or the stunning city of Athens.
4. Switch Up Your Work Space
Working from home has its perks, but that can get tiresome and distracting. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, and a whole slew of other interruptions present themselves at home that aren’t existent in a coffee shop or coworking space.
For that reason, I recommend setting a ‘workspace schedule’ at the beginning of every week and map out where you will work each day. It may be something like this: work from home Monday, work from a coffee shop on Tuesday, work from home again on Wednesday, and work from a coworking space Thursday and Friday.
Not sure where to find a coworking space? Check out this handy map that lists coworking spaces around the world.
5. Get Involved with the Community
When you’re running your own business, it can consume every minute of your time. Even when you’re not working, you’re thinking about working. For that reason, it’s essential to do something unrelated to work a few times a month to keep your mind fresh. Beyond that, it can also provide much-needed social time after a day of working on your own at home.
I can promise you that doing some sort of extracurricular will not only improve your personal growth but will also positively impact your business. Although I try to shut my “work brain” off when I am participating in extracurriculars, I have passed around quite a few business cards.
Here are some ideas: join a non-profit, book club, hiking club, running club, happy hour club, intramural soccer league (or some other sport-related activity), take dance classes, yoga classes, try online dating or speed dating, attend networking events.
If none of those ideas appeal to you, check out MeetUp.com, which has tons of events, clubs, and classes available.
Have other tactics that have kept you from going crazy while working solo? I’d love to hear about them! Please feel free to drop a comment below. :)