The Handbook
The Handbook

Hats off to all you freelancers because while working from home might sound like an absolute dream, the reality of it is actually a lot harder than you might have first thought.

Of course, there’s the luxury of working in your pyjamas, not being judged for your crazy bed hair and the comfort of indulging in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s without getting the stink eye off Debra from accounts, but it’s important to stay motivated and treat each day as if it’s just your average day in the office. 

Here’s eight tips to help keep the ball rolling when you’re self-isolating or looking to go freelance:

Jazz up your workspace

I’m sorry but as tempting as snuggling up under the duvet with your laptop might be, it’s not going to cut it when it comes to optimum productivity. With things being so up in the air at the moment we don’t know how long we’ll be stuck working from home so building a workspace that combines both motivation and comfort is integral for your productivity. 

Your sofa and Netflix might be calling your name but it doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Of course, you might not have room for making a little study area but even clearing your cluttered up desk or dining table will help declutter your mind and provide you room for creativity.

Set yourself to-do lists

While being stuck in the office with your boss barking orders at every corner might seem really frustrating at the time, we’d all be lost without it. Writing yourself a schedule or a to-do list will help you keep on top of your workload and will save you the sore ear when you return to the office in a few weeks time.

Stick to your usual working hours

Thank goodness we won’t have to endure the dreaded commute each morning but that doesn’t mean we’re getting away from the loathsome crack of dawn wake up call. 

Hitting the snooze button on your alarm has become a daily occurance, but it’s obviously beneficial to keep your working hours to their usual consistency. Just because your boss is at the end of the phone waiting for someone to slip up doesn’t mean you can’t play around a little. 

Everyone works differently. Some can power through the eight hour days with little breaks, while others find it easier to work in block periods. A fun way to keep up the momentum is popping a load of laundry on, working through the cycle and treating yourself to 15 minute breather before you head on out to go back at it again, or pop on your favourite film in the background on mute, work through the film and then enjoy a break once it’s finished. Whatever it is, it’s important to find something that works for you. 

You got this – we believe in you.

Communicate with your colleagues

Who said self isolating meant you can’t still natter away with your colleagues? Hello – we live in the 21st-century – there’s a thing called Skype, FaceTime and [insert any other video streaming chat]. 

Jump on call and natter away as if your pal is sitting next to you except you’ll have first, second and all of the dibs on the work snacks – heck yeah!

Match your music to your work task

Whether you’re working in the office or at home, one underlying factor that’s hugely important is keeping a clear mind and staying focused. For many, working to the beat of a song helps massively. We’re not talking about bashing out a report to heavy metal, we’re talking about learning to match your music to your work task. Spotify is abrim with playlists that are designed around working, whether it’s relaxing melodies to soothing sounds. 

Try one out and prepare for a productive day at home.

Resist the temptation of social media

When you’re self isolating it’s going to be extremely tempting to grab your phone every five minutes to scroll on Instagram or to watch yet another episode of your current favourite Netflix show but it’s all about resisting that urge.

One easy way to combat the urge is by using apps like AppBlock and Moment, who block your use of certain apps throughout the day so you lose the temptation to scroll away your hours on Insta. These apps might seem taunting in the moment but you’ll end up thanking them in the long run after your day of speedy productivity. 

Another way that might work for you is working in bursts. Think two hours of working away and 15-30 minutes of play, i.e. scrolling on your social feeds or indulging in your fave Netflix series. Just, er, make sure your boss doesn’t catch you out.

Think two hours of working away and 15-30 minutes of play i.e. scrolling on your social feeds or indulging in your fave Netflix series.

Meal plan the day before

Wave goodbye to the soggy sandwiches and hello to your new ‘freshly’ prepped lunch! 

We’re not recommending you take a two hour lunch break just so you can make yourself a three course meal but why not make an extra batch of lunch goodies for the week ahead on the Sunday so you can munch and work on the go while you feel productive. Another great way to prep ahead is whacking out your trusty slow cooker, fill it with your favourite canned goods, veggies or meats and let the aroma taunt you until lunchtime.

Go ‘home’ after you finish work

After a long day of productivity at home, it’s important to give yourself a break and go ‘home’ after you finish a day of grafting. Just as important as it is to set up a work station in the morning, it’s equally important to pack up for the night and remove yourself from your work environment so you can relax too. Reward yourself with an evening off – go on, you deserve it.