There are numerous pros with working from home — like wearing hideous, cat-hair-covered sweatpants and dodging soul-sucking commutes. The cons? Procrastination and overwork.
When you’re a freelancer, you are your own boss. You decide your direction and your fate. There is no one to blame, no one handing out gold stars. You must continually find work and keep your pipeline healthy.
Although your pipeline is important, so is your health. Establishing a healthy work-from-home routine grounds you, helping you be more successful with your freelance business. So, counteract the entrepreneurial chaos with these tips for working from home.
How to create a healthy work-from-home routine:
On and off time
You’re already chuckling about the idea of being “off.” Being your own boss means you are never off. You’re either working on your business or thinking about your business.
To avoid a meltdown, designate on and off times. Maybe you work on Saturdays and take off Mondays, which is usually a quiet catch-up day for your clients anyway. Even if you need to align with your clients’ weekday schedule, consider having meeting-free days for tackling complex projects.
Start and stop time
Figure out what time you will begin and end your workday. Without a dedicated start and stop time, you will struggle with productivity and stamina long-term. The goal is to unplug and unwind before bed, then ease slowly into a new day.
Your start and stop time does not need to be 9-5, which we often associate with “the grind.” If you feel more productive at night, shift your schedule accordingly. But, if you start at 7 a.m. and keep going until 7 p.m., work on being more disciplined about stepping away as overworking yourself will only lead to burnout.
You’re not a machine. Even the smartest, hardest workers out there can’t work endlessly and perform at a high level. You work from home, so taking breaks when and how you want is a huge advantage.
Step away from your screen every two hours — work in sprints (aka time-blocking), then treat yourself with a break. That break might involve a workout or a long walk, making tea or lunch. Doing the dishes or laundry is surprisingly therapeutic. A mindless domestic task allows you to disconnect just enough to sort through challenges or organize the rest of your day.
You may have learned the Italian saying “Dolce far Niente” if you were part of the ‘Eat Pray Love’ fan club. For the rest of you rolling your eyes, “the sweetness of doing nothing” is a particularly relevant practice for a busy freelancer to consider.
“Doing nothing” isn’t something we value in driven workforce cultures like (clears throat) the United States. You should try it sometime. Don’t pressure yourself to sit on a cushion and meditate if that’s not your thing. Sitting still outside — or simply leaving the room and taking a few breaths — lets you reflect and recharge before jumping back into your priority list.
Rule number one in wellness is to take care of yourself before you take care of anything else. If you deprioritize yourself, you won’t be able to do your best work. Running a business takes courage and discipline. Establishing a healthy work-from-home routine keeps your mind and body in a positive state so you have more space to thrive.