Many of us freelance writers work from home, and as you know, that can be a double-edged sword … with many advantages, and an almost equal number of disadvantages.
Here are some tips that have helped me to make the most of my home office, and I hope you find them helpful too.
1. Network online, both for business and socially. It helps you keep things in perspective even if you don’t have an active F2F social life out of working hours. I’ve made some wonderful friends through my online networking, including some from the early days of Ecademy, and that’s quite aside from the many useful business contacts I’ve made through the same channels.
2. Network offline for business, i.e. get out and meet people. But don’t fall into the trap of networking for its own sake – with people with whom you have little in common and who are not likely to become clients, colleagues or “work-friends.” Before you rush out to join the local Chamber of Commerce, ask yourself exactly how much new business you’re likely to get from other local businesses, and how much of a contribution you want to make to the local business community.
3. If there isn’t a gym near you, a good walk will work wonders if you feel your energy levels drop. Don’t feel you have to power-walk, either; a stroll in the countryside or local park is what you need. Recent research has shown that the mere fact of wandering about with the flora and fauna is a good tonic, and we’ve even got a term for it as a treatment for depression… “ecotherapy.” Alternatively, if you have a garden you can get your ecofix and pull up weeds at the same time – how’s that for multi-tasking.
4. If you live alone (or everyone else is out all day) consider getting a dog or a cat. They’re great company and a dog will make you get out for walks. Cats don’t need exercise but demand attention which will take your mind off stressful work. And someone once said that a cat’s purr is in “beta waves… ” I don’t understand the technicalities, but apparently that’s soothing for humans.
5. Try, if you possibly can, to dedicate one room or at least one area of your home to your work. That way you can literally shut your work away when you have finished for the day. Also, there’s nothing more depressing than trying to run your business from the kitchen or dining room table, especially if you live with other people who are wandering around while you’re working.
6. Make sure your office or workspace is comfortable and attractive. So many people use old furniture and a broom cupboard as “it’s only for my office/study” but when you think about it, you’re going to be spending more hours per day in there than you do in your living room. So it needs to be pleasant.
7. Avoid clutter. I’m a terrible hoarder and would end up invisible behind piles of old magazines and documents if I didn’t force myself to do a good clear out at fairly frequent intervals. Filing is a pain, but – rather as in the case of banging your head against a wall – it feels so good when it’s finished.
If you work from home whether as a writer or other profession, what are your tips to make it work well? Please share your advice!
While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family…