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Freelancing

How I Stay Productive While Working From Home

I’m blessed to be able to work from home. Millions of people go to work and spend their life on trains, buses, and cars. They age in traffic jams.

When I was still commuting for my 1-year internship, I have to wake up at 5 every day to catch the bus. It took me 1.5 hours to arrive at the office, and 2 hours to get back home.

So now when I work from home, I use all of my hours to work/learn/just do something productive. Or did I?

No, it’s not as easy as you think

You might think it’s easy and pretty convenient to work from your own home. Well, it is, but it’s not exactly that easy. It’s not as simple as pulling up your laptop and sitting down in front of it for 8 hours straight.

Your house is full of distractions. Especially if you’re living with your 4 family members who stay at home all day (that’s me!).

Don’t expect a smooth, undistracted, productive day, unless you’re living alone. Two hours in work, then you’re asked to drive someone somewhere. Or buy someone something. It will just happen because they see you’re there, you’re available. In contrast, if you work at an office, you’re gone completely from their sights, and they assume you’re busy at work. They can’t bother you for 8+ hours straight.

How do I stay ‘productive’?

  1. Set your expectations, understand that you’re not going to have an entirely undistracted work. Remember that you’re also not working 8 hours straight a day in an office. This is going to happen when you work from home, but with a different set of distractions. Start with this mindset so you know what to expect.
    Working from home also means that you can be there for your family. It’s a beautiful thing, right? You shouldn’t measure your productivity solely based on the work being done. I mean, the ultimate goal of working from home is to have a balanced life, am I right? 😉
  2. Have a morning routine. I know this is something that everyone tells you to do, but I find it really beneficial for me. My ideal morning routine consists of waking up at 5.30, meditating for 10 minutes, doing a 25-minute yoga routine, journalling, then reading my current book for 10-15 minutes. After doing all that I can have my breakfast.
    Doing my morning routine equals self-care for me. I want to tend to myself first before taking care of others.
  3. Sunday is admin day. When you don’t have someone to boss you around, you have to be the boss yourself. I got this idea from my favorite Youtuber, Kalyn Nicholson (I watched every single video she made. Watching morning/night routine videos weirdly make me want to be productive.).
    In this video, she explained the importance of having a Sunday routine, a day to manage your whole week ahead, to see and plan what you’re going to have in that week. She even came up with a cool name for it, GYST, or Get Your Shit Together.
    This system has worked wonders for me. My week has been structured but not boring. I’m able to plan out my workout, blogging session, and work in advance. I would say this is the key to productivity as a freelancer, because you have to manage your own time.
    In addition to planning, I also review my previous week. It’s fun to see how my blog/brand/work is doing, and it motivates me to do better next week. Slow down and add meaning to your busy life.
  4. Don’t just sit, stand. I usually alternate between sitting and standing while working. We all know it’s not healthy to sit for a long period of time, so stand! This is not something that is available to me when I was still interning. We all got our own desks and PCs, which are not made for standing. But in my own house, I can move my laptop wherever I want to, even to odd dressers with just the right height for standing. It’s also a nice way to change your surrounding.
  5. If all of the above doesn’t work, find the nearest coffee shop/co-working space. Sometimes this is the only way to get productive. I mean, who doesn’t get bored staying in your room for 8 hours a day and 7 days a week? I’m lucky because there are lots of coffee shops in my neighborhood, but I usually limit my ‘coffee shop’ day to 1 day per week.
    I’ve never used a co-working space before, but I think I would try it someday. It would be a great way to socialize and meet with like-minded people. (Let me know if you’ve worked from a co-working space, would love to hear your thoughts!)

Working remotely looks really easy, when in fact it’s not. You get a ton of benefits over the regular 9-5 employees, but it also comes with its own challenges. I hope these tips can help you, whether you’re a remote worker or are going to be one, to be more productive when working from home.

Do you have your own tips when it comes to working from home? Leave some comments down below! 🙂

 

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Hello! My name is Ascencia Fike. I’m a fresh graduate, a freelancer, and a blogger. I write here and on Medium.

2 Comments

  • Andrea Hall

    Great tips! I also use Sunday as strategic planning day. I block of 3 hours of time every week. I would also add buffer times to the schedule. That is when I check emails, schedule quick meetings or return phone calls.

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