Staying Sane When Working From Home

So if you’ve been checking out my blog/Twitter/Insta recently, you’ll know that I’m now officially a freelance copywriter! HURRAH! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time now and it feels good to say that it’s finally happening.

It’s still scary (I was thinking of vlogging my first week as a freelancer but on the very first day I had a meltdown over something to do with tax), but I’m determined to make it work! Even the vlogging thing maybe, once I’m more settled and can potentially provide more value than me crying over working out a complicated contract.

Anyway, one of the best and worst things about being a freelancer is working from home. Until you experience it, you assume it’s all rainbows and sparkles but the reality is that working from home can be lonely…and distracting.

Having only been doing it since Monday it might seem like I’m ever so slightly under-qualified to impart any advice on staying sane because I haven’t exactly felt cabin fever sink in yet but I feel it lurking you guys, like an insidious presence just ready to pounce. So here’s how I’m gonna shut that shit down.

Structure your days

I am organised to the point of obsession – but when you work for yourself this is actually a bit of a blessing. I said to myself at the beginning of the process that I was determined to stick to working normal hours (i.e. 9-5) and the only movement might be if I want to start or finish earlier/later, I would simply shift the time around.

To make sure those hours spent working are as constructive as possible, I use Google Calendar to block out time and how I’m going to use it. I wrote a post all about this AGES ago but it’s still the method I use to keep myself in check. It’s especially useful when dealing with different clients and an easy way to report back on actual time spent on projects.

Oh, and don’t forget to factor in a lunch break and to remember that we all need time to stretch our legs and get a cup of tea throughout the day. That is hella important.

Arrange to meet people

This is a double whammy for freelancers because it’s all about networking! In my first week alone I have already made arrangements to meet two other freelancers for coffee and also to go to two networking events coming up in the next few weeks.

Those plans for social interaction and potential business development are crucial so that I don’t forget how to socialise with other human beings.

Know when to switch off

So I know I’m going to struggle with this for a while, but it’s important to at the very least *try* to stick to only thinking about the business during business hours.

When you first start out, like where I am now, it’s near impossible to not be thinking “what can I be doing to get clients?”, when really it’s the time of day when all I should be thinking about is “why aren’t I in my PJs yet?”.

When you work in an office, you have to physically leave and commute home, so it’s easier to have that separation. My office is in our spare room so I can close the door but sometimes I just keep it open ajar…it’s got to stop!

Make evening plans

One of the nicest things about working from home is that you have this extra time that was previously spent driving/walking/getting public transport home from the office. To make sure you actually still get some air in your lungs, it’s good to make evening plans.

This might be as small as a short stroll to the shop to pick up dinner, or a proper date night with your other half. Either way, maximise the evenings doing things that get you away from the temptation of checking your emails…

Equally, try make the most of your morning before working hours too. I’m not saying get up at 6am, because why would you if you didn’t have to? Just try and avoid getting up just before you’re due to start work. I am trying to get to the gym more, but even on non-gym days I wake up in enough time to have a cup of tea at the very least.

Do you work from home? Any tips on not losing your damn mind?!

oh and p.s. you know autumn is here cos the pictures on here are about to get real grainy thanks to the lack of natural light!

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10 Comments

  1. September 22, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Making sure to go outside is the best tip for working from home! Otherwise I go a bit stir crazy. And I try to get up and stretch my legs every hour or so, if I remember (I never remember).

    On a side note, I’m an accountant so feel free to email/DM me if you have anymore tax wobbles and I’ll give you a hand ☺️

    Julia x
    http://www.juliarachelday.co.uk

    • Cat
      September 22, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Yes! Fresh air is so so important and I totally take that for granted sometimes. I don’t struggle to get up every hour or so though as that ties very nicely into topping up on the next cup of tea!

      Thank you so much for the offer, I will likely take you up on that once my ducks are a little bit more in a row!

  2. September 27, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    Making sure to go outside has been absolute sanity saver for me. Also making sure you get up early enough for a cuppa. I get up about an hour before I actually start work, and use that time to have a cuppa and do a few chores.

    • Cat
      September 28, 2017 / 10:47 pm

      Yes! I always aim to be ready 30 mins early so I can chill with a cuppa before the day starts…it’s a life saver!

  3. October 10, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    I love reading these blog posts! I’m super introverted but being alone indoors does actually take its toll after a while! I work from home too and find that getting up every half an hour to do quick yoga or exercises really helps me out – my body does not feel great sitting at a desk for a long time and then just hopping into bed to sleep! I also force myself to get out of the house whenever I can, even when I sometimes don’t want to!
    http://www.jennyrosee.com

    • Cat
      October 13, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Good tips – I definitely need to get moving more often and not be so glued to my desk!

  4. courtney kelly
    October 12, 2017 / 10:31 am

    Do you have any advice on becoming a free lancer? Like what do you do with tax and NI if you’re not earning any money? I’ve wanted to become a free lancer but have no idea where I start x

  5. Laura
    October 12, 2017 / 10:34 am

    2.5 years in and I still haven’t found the perfect routine! My office is in a room that is also a studio and has no door, maybe getting one would be a good start! 🙂 Good luck Cat, you know where I am if I can help with anything.

    • Cat
      October 13, 2017 / 7:08 pm

      Thanks Laura! I don’t think I’ll ever have a real routine now I work for myself…and I haven’t quite used to that yet!

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