It’s actually a way more important topic than you think. If you follow these simple recommendations, you will be amazed by the results they produce.
Are You a Freelancer Yet?
Old methods and approaches to working are slowly dying out. Days of well-groomed men in suits and ties hurrying on their way to the offices are long gone. Today’s office has expanded way beyond its four walls and freelancing is becoming increasingly important.
You don’t need to be at the office anymore to do your job well and get paid. In fact, your boss (current or potential) may not want you to be at the office anymore because it’s beneficial for both sides.
However, working from home provides for a rather different experience than working in an office – there are some things you should get right before going freelance all the way.
One of these things is setting up your freelance workplace at your home for maximum productivity and efficiency.
In this article, we are going to give you tips and recommendations on that.
Is Freelancing Really That Big?
The data compiled by Upwork, a major platform for freelancers, gives us a great insight into how the working habits of Americans are changing:
- 57.3 million people freelance (roughly 35% of the total U.S. workforce – Statista data), which means that every third adult is a part-time or full-time freelancer;
- judging by the current trend, the majority of the workforce will become freelance by 2027;
- 54% of the U.S. workforce believe that the work they currently do will not exist in the next 20 years – therefore, they need to be able to reskill.
This data shows how important freelancing is – if you haven’t been doing it already, there is a good chance you will in the nearest future.
Why Is It Important to Have a Properly Set Up Workplace?
Whenever you hear someone saying «I’m a professional, I can work from any place at any time with the same efficiency», these people probably are overestimating their potential.
It is an established fact that employee productivity does depend on the ergonomics of the workplace and how their working environment is organized.
When you’re working at an office, the workplace organization issues have already been taken care of by the employer (ideally). You have your desk, computer, meeting rooms, conference rooms, presentation areas, coworking cafes, and more. Most importantly, you have the appropriate mindset.
After all, work is work and home is home.
Despite all the employer’s efforts to trick you into thinking otherwise, work is a place where we come as guests and spend several hours a day with the intention to finish the current tasks, leave at the end of the day, and come then back home.
It is not easy to switch your mind from «home» mode to «work» mode and maintain consistent productivity throughout your working hours as a freelancer at home.
Therefore, you should create a special «work» environment within your house or apartment being in which will help you concentrate and focus on work without leaving the house.
How to Organize Your Workspace for Maximum Productivity
The tips below ought to help you.
Tip 1. Create a designated area or zone for work
You need to separate the place where you will be working from the rest of our house or apartment. It is really important to create that «work within home» environment and get you in the right mood since there are too many distractions not usually present at the office.
Here are the distractions you might be facing:
And here are the steps you might want to take to minimize those distractions:
- find a desk and a chair you are only going to be using for work only – not for eating, playing computer games, drawing, or other activity not related to work;
- put some sort of physical barriers – a divider, a curtain, etc. to separate yourself from the rest of the room/house/apartment.
Tip 2. Get rid of all the unnecessary things
Now that you’ve set up a designated place for work, it’s time to optimize it. By optimizing, we mean throwing away anything that you are not going to use while working and that could possibly distract you.
You may want to avoid following items:
- books, magazines, newspapers, and other print materials (if they are not related to your business);
- excessive furniture (you don’t really need two armchairs, do you?), cups, plates, your kid’s toys, your spouse’s clothes and personal effects, etc.;
- miscellaneous stationery (except maybe a pen or a pencil if you need one);
- phone, TV, music player, and any smartphone or tablet you are not going to be using for work.
If you are not yet convinced of the fact that a neatly organized workplace boosts your productivity, here are some facts. According to a “The Price of Disorganization in the Workplace” white paper published by Neatasapin in 2012, just the simple inefficiency of full-time employees looking for misplaced items in the office cost companies in the U.S. $89 billion annually.
Tip 3. Invest in ergonomics and comfort
If you’re working from home, you might as well get comfortable. Do spend enough time to buy yourself a chair you will be fully satisfied with and feel comfortable sitting in.
Trust us, you are going to be spending A LOT of time in that chair so it’d better be comfortable.
Also, anything you don’t need every other second should be stored nicely in a cabinet (if it’s documents) or shelves (if it’s miscellaneous items). As a German saying goes, «There has to be order».
Tip 4. Don’t work in pajamas
Even though you don’t really need to dress up and wear a business suit, some form of more or less formal clothing won’t hurt. At least, a pair of jeans or shorts and a T-shirt.
Again, it’s just another psychological trick – to help your mind switch from «home» to «work» mode faster. As the research in this Guardian article shows, what we put on ourselves changes our perception of ourselves.
Pyjamas are associated with rest and comfort, suits are associated with work, jeans and sneakers are associated with creativity. Sounds simple but it works!
Tip 5. Establish your routine and stick to a schedule
Even though flexible working hours is one of the reasons people choose to freelance, there still has to be some schedule.
Take your day and divide it into two major parts: before and after lunch. Never go more than 3 hours without a break.
In fact, studies have shown that the most efficient workers would work for 50 minutes straight and then take a 17-minute break. Working efficiently does not mean working your tail off.
Tip 6. Always keep track of time
When you are working on multiple projects and tasks, it is always important to measure how much time you spend on each.
Although you can go old-school and use your wristwatch, there are numerous tools for that designed to relieve you of the burden of tracking time.
Most of these time-trackers are usually integrated into various project management tools with other abundant functionality, which not everybody needs but still has to pay for.
However, there are some standalone time-tracking tools like Screenshot Monitor, which have a free account you could use for your basic needs and upgrade if you want more.
Tip 7. Don’t forget about inspiration
Formalities, order, and schedule – all these are necessary things. But what about creativity and drive? Can’t work without those, especially if you are a designer or copywriter.
Decorate your workspace with a motivational poster or picture of a person you admire or anything else that is going to raise your spirits when you get caught up in a lot of work.
Thanks for reading today’s «How to Organize Your Freelance Work Space for Maximum Productivity» article!
The tips we have given you may sound super easy and obvious but start implementing them and we guarantee you are going to see the positive results very next day. Do you have other best practices that help you to organize your workspace for maximum productivity? Share them with us in a comments section below!