How freelancers can avoid the work from home blues
Working from home as a self-employed person can have many benefits. Many freelancers choose this lifestyle for the flexibility it affords them. Working from home can mean a greater ability to travel, the ability to make one’s own schedule, and more freedom overall. Even studies show that working from home can lead to enhanced health, increased productivity, and a more positive outlook.
While working from home comes with numerous benefits, it can also have some downsides. Working from home (alone) can be isolating and many self-employed people report struggling with the “work from home blues.” Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or someone new to the game, we have some tips and tricks to keep you from falling into a blue streak when working from home.
Make space for your work
This may seem like a no-brainer but it can be very easy to fall into a work-from-bed phase. When working from home, you should set up a designated space that is for work only. For some, this means using a room or studio as an office space. Even if you don’t have an entire room that can be dedicated to work, you can still find ways to separate "the office" from the rest of your home.
Start by creating a space that is free from distraction. Ideally, this means away from TVs or other noises that could interrupt the work vibe. Try to keep this space separate from your sleep and relaxation spaces where possible. By separating these elements of your life, it's easier to turn off work at the end of the day and avoid confusing work and play.
Get ready for work
Even though you may be your own boss and dictate your own dress code, it is probably in your best interest to get up and get dressed every morning. Even if you can work in pajamas, it doesn’t mean you should. Getting ready for work the same way you would if you worked in an office can be another way to delineate between work life and home life. Stick to a morning routine that mentally and physically prepares you for the day of work ahead. Then, when you wrap up for the day, throw on those comfy sweatpants.
Add a commute
This one might sound crazy, but we promise it’s not. Working from home can become monotonous. Without a commute, it may get easier to stay at home all the time, which can become unhealthy. Consider working outside of your home a few days each week.
Whether you hunker down in a popular co-working space or find a comfy spot at the local coffee shop, getting out can be good for mental health. For one thing, it can add some human interaction to your day. It may also motivate you to actually get ready for work (see the last tip). The next time you’re feeling cabin fever, change up your routine and head out to a place with wifi to get some work done.
Up your social game
Working from home can be isolating. Freelancers and other self-employed people often have to go the extra mile to have human interaction throughout the day. This can be easier than you think. We recommend signing up for some networking events in your area.
There are plenty of places to find out about such events, but you can start by searching for your area on meetup.com. You’ll be able to find professional events along with general social gatherings to keep you flapping your social butterfly wings. You can also join local professional groups and get on e-newsletter lists for professional organizations in your city. Stay plugged in and be willing to connect when the opportunity arises.
Start a new passion project
If you’re feeling especially disconnected — even from your work — consider mixing things up. When we’re too busy (or not busy enough), it can be easy for obsession with work to takeover. This is a surefire way to experience burnout. Instead, consider working on a passion project. Even work-related projects that are low on your priority list can snap you out of a funk. Consider updating your own marketing materials or updating your blog. If you need a break from work-related tasks, turn to something personal that keeps you motivated and reminds you that you have the flexibility to work on things you love from time to time. It’s easier to tap into happiness when you feel inspired, and sometimes you need to inspire yourself.
Check in with the doc
If you’ve been feeling the work from home blues for awhile and can’t seem to shake them, you may be suffering from a more serious form of depression. It can be helpful to check in with your primary care doctor to see if there's an underlying reason for the way you're feeling. Your doctor may suggest small changes to your exercise, activity level, or diet or she may suggest that you get in touch with a specialist. The best way to tackle extended “blue” feelings is to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Did you know that Decent offers health plans with free primary care? That’s right! Our plans are centered around the doctor-patient relationship. That means that you get to see your doctor whenever you want, as often as you want and pay $0 out-of-pocket. Pretty cool, right? We understand that self-employed people face unique challenges when it comes to finding affordable, comprehensive health care. Our plans make it easy. Get your free quote today to see if one of our plans makes sense for you.