How To Efficiently Work From Home
I’ve written two of thee blog posts over the past two and a half years since I started freelancing full-time (HERE + HERE), and while many of those tips still apply that I’ve shared, I never ever want to stop evolving and continuing to learn what works best for me.
The first post (HERE) was written just a few months after graduating from college, and to be honest I didn’t know much about freelancing. The second (HERE) was written about a year in, and I was just starting to get the hang of things in Los Angeles. Since then, I’ve taken on new clients, lost new ones, and have continued to grow in all aspects of my career.
I think in general, anybody can work from home but it takes practice to work efficiently. This is something I’m definitely not perfect at, but do my best to focus on working smarter, not working harder. Some of these tips may not apply if you work full-time out of your home, but I’ve found these extremely beneficial as a freelancer working from home. I do that with the help of a few tools and practices that I hope can also assist you!
A few of my best tips:
Instead of jumping from one client to the next, from one project to the next, I structure my time so I’m not so overwhelmed by what’s on my plate. In general, I like to section off work my client or task and I won’t move onto the next item until I’ve finished one. Personally, I can’t stand having little things piled up (email this person, post that picture, etc.), so anything that will take me less than 5-10 minutes to get done is first up. After that, I order everything by priority.
Say No To Notifications
I have all notifications turned off except for text messages (no Instagram, emails on my phone or computer) because I’ve learned that unless I know there’s something urgent coming, it can usually wait. Even with text messages, I answer when I can unless it’s clearly an emergency from a loved one. As for emails, it’s far less productive for me to have my accounts open throughout the day and respond as they come in instead of in the morning, mid-day, and at night. That way, I’m not constantly taking my focus away from other projects.
It can be easy to fall into the glamorized ‘hustle + grind’ mentality that is often presented on social media, but ignore it. Personally, I work best in the morning and in total silence, or in a coffee shop (there is no in between). Once my boyfriend is up for the day and moving around the kitchen/living room (my “office” is in the living room), it’s difficult for me to get writing done, but I can usually do some tasks that require less deep focus. If something here isn’t resonating with you, that’s perfectly fine!
I prefer hitting the gym or a class in the morning before I start working so it’s out of the way and I don’t have to feel pressure to fit it in later when additional work inevitably piles up. I usually have a second cup of Four Sigmatic coffee or will treat myself to a chai latte in the afternoon, and depending on my schedule I’ll work out of a coffee shop (Alfred Coffee, Bluestone Lane, Philz, Coffee Dose, are a few of my L.A. favorites) if I have the availability. Most days, I take a walk in the afternoon/early evening to clear my head once work is done for the day.
A few of my essentials:
Blue Light Glasses: These have been a total game-changer and have significantly reduced the amount of strain I put on my eyes when staring at the screen all day.
Daily Planner: After high school, I stopped using written planners and switched to strictly digital through college. I quickly realized when I began freelancing that I wanted to start writing things down because maintaining notes on my phone and computer weren’t cutting it anymore. Right now, I use this to detail out my schedule for the day, and any tasks that need to get done, separated into various categories. These pens are my absolute favorite and the only thing I write with.
Mouse: I haven’t used a mouse with my computer since my desktop days over a decade ago, so this feels very vintage. I don’t use it all the time, but if I know I’ll be sitting down to work for a longtime I’ll whip this out to cut down on any potential wrist pain.
Do you work from home? I’d love to hear your tips and advice