Freelance Tips: Pros and Cons of Working from Home

Working from home gives you a lot of freedom but there are also some lifestyle constraints. To have a successful career you have to follow some simple rules.

“Freelancing is tough. It can be very difficult, in fact. It can wear people down, making them lose sight of what they used to love because they have to do everything else just to get by.”
― Mason Hipp, The Unlimited Freelancer

I started working from home 5 years ago and I still do. I do like it but at times it can be a bit frustrating. There are many reasons in favour of working from home and I usually tend to find additional ones to support my decision.

It all started in 2011 when I was looking for a web design job to support my final year at the university. I am currently based in Sofia but at that time I was attending a university in Scotland, UK. I found a job in a European company and my boss at that time was flexible enough to adjust to my university schedule.

Working from was weird at the beginning as was not used to it. I have been working as a teacher for almost 10 years and I was used to communicate with people all the time. I was going to work early at the morning, coming back late in the evening. I was used to be around people at different ages, so it was a shock when I had to be glued to the screen all day long. It was weird and overwhelming. But it was not that bad, after I figured out that I need a clear plan and schedule.

Now, after these five years, I can say that I have a well-developed working system of how I can feel better and not be socially disconnected. It took me some time to figure it out. There were times that I have felt a bit depressed as I was not going out at all. But I have learned some valuable lessons the hard way and feel confident to pass some wisdom to the ones that are just starting to work from home.

Have a look at these tips and I do hope to be useful for you.

#1 – Define a working-only space

Freelance Tips: Pros and Cons of Working from Home
It is more than crucial to create a space at your home that is going to be dedicated only for work. You do not need to invest in expensive furniture to create one but you have to dedicate a certain space, especially if you are not living alone. Define your working space and use it only for work. It will help you stay motivated and focused.

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#2 – Plan you time

Freelance Tips: Pros and Cons of Working from Home
Creating professional habits is important, especially when you are a home worker. There will be days that you are not that busy and you will finish work in 2-3 hours. As long that you have a clear schedule of when you are starting to work, how long and what you are doing. Do this every day. There will be days that you have to spend 15-16 hours of work if you have a deadline. Make sure that you do not overwork yourself. It will be difficult to deal with such schedule for a long time. At a certain point of my life I was working more than 16-17 hours every day for a few months. I was feeling terrible at this time. I could not sleep, I gained weight and was feeling miserable. I like working but it was much more than I could take. Make sure that you rest. Work will never stop coming… and you cannot do it for one day, week or month.

#3 – Focus on work

Working from home requires a lot of concentration, particularly at the beginning. Turn off the TV! If you have any pets, make sure that you take care of them before you start work. Create yourself a quiet and calm working atmosphere. Listening to music will also help you concentrate. Also, make sure that you are comfortable while working. Your space should be light and have your favourite things around you, such as a nice flower pot or some creative posters. Whatever makes you feel happy.

#4 – Take breaks

Freelance Tips: Pros and Cons of Working from Home
Do not forget to take regular breaks. Spending 10-12 hours in front of the screen without breaks will make you nervous. Allow yourself time to stop working and get away from the computer. You will be able to stay focused and do your job better and faster. I usually take a small break for breakfast at 10 o’clock and a longer one to prepare and eat lunch.

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#5 – Social Isolation

Working from home is fun but sooner or later you will start missing the social connection with people. This is particularly true for people who are used to working with a lot of people. Search for social contact. Consider going to the gym or find yourself a new hobby. I recently started a photography course and it is great. I go out twice during the week, I have met new people and I learnt new things. Do not forget your friends and meet them at least once a week. Go out to the movies or pubs. All these things will help you live a balanced life and feel happy.

#6 – Stay Healthy

Freelance Tips: Pros and Cons of Working from Home
During the winter months and not only, working from home can cause a sedentary lifestyle. You have to be aware of this issue and find a way to take care of your well-being if you want to be productive, healthy and happy. It is crucial that you are doing some kind of sport or exercises. Sport will help you cope with the stress. You can start going to the gym or to the swimming pool. You can just go to the park for a long walk or go cycling.I figured out for myself that I like doing cardio exercises and I do a 50 minute training 4 days a week. I gives me a lot of energy. It is also crucial to have a healthy diet. Take breaks for breakfast and small snacks. Allow yourself a bigger break for lunch and cook yourself a nice healthy meal. This is one of the greatest benefits of working from home as you will totally forget about junk food. Not bad at all?

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of working from home.

Advantages:

  • Freedom and flexibility
  • Free time
  • Less stress
  • More productive atmosphere
  • Better balance between work and personal life

Disadvantages

  • It takes a lot of self-control and effort to build a working discipline
  • Can lead to social isolation
  • Some people tend to forget of their personal life and free time
  • Inability to cope with the distractions at home
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