Learning What Works Best for YOU in Your Freelance Career

"Discipline" is the major buzzword associated with becoming a freelance professional because it often means working from home.

It’s true that you need the discipline to get your work done despite all the distractions and comforts of home, but just as important is your commitment to learning how to make that discipline work for you.

There’s a learning curve inherent in transitioning to a work at home job. If you are about to be or are currently in that process, you have to engage in some trial and error, so cut yourself some slack and take note of what works and what doesn’t. Consider the following elements as a starting point:

Schedule

If you feel comfortable with the classic 9 to 5 hours, then stick to it and see how it feels when you’re not in the office. Or, did you wake up at five or six to get to the gym before the office? If so, continue getting up early but get straight to work instead of the gym. You might find those are your best hours for getting work done, and then you can hit the gym in the afternoon. Then, see what happens if you start later in the day and work into the night.

Dress Code

While it sounds great in theory, most people find being productive difficult if they get straight to work without getting out of their pajamas first. Give it a try and see how you feel. Or, what if you dress as if you were still going to the office? If formal dress feels strange but sweatpants feel unproductive, think about investing in a new work wardrobe. Be comfortable, but presentable enough to meet an acquaintance for coffee on the fly.

Boundaries

No work after 8:00pm. No work in the bedroom. Ten minute breaks every hour. At least five hours of work before playing with the dog….The boundaries you set up will be highly personal, but it’s important that you have them. Think about setting up boundaries for time, space and communication.

There are plenty of “how to’s” out there that will tell you the best ways to be productive while working at home as a freelancer, but it’s different for everyone. As you experiment, take five minutes at the end of the day to jot down how you structured it, what worked, and what didn’t. Commit to finding your process and you’ll soar!

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