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!