You’re stuck on the horns of a dilemma, staring down the barrel of a potentially life changing decision. You’ve been freelancing as a creative or running your own home business as a side hustle for some time now. You’ve built up a network of loyal customers and / or happy clients and you’re thinking about making the jump and going full time. That means quitting the drudgery of your day job but it also means turning your back on a reliable wage, half decent benefits and the little things like vacation time and sick pay that you’d miss if you went freelance on a full time basis. Moreover, you’re not sure how you could cope working from home.
Establishing your own home office and getting all the equipment you need might incur some overheads and how could you avoid all the myriad distractions around the home that threaten to derail your productivity? Luckily, anyone can make a success of working from home, it’s simply a matter of finding some balance. Here’s how…
There’s a time and a place for everything
The key to finding balance when working from home lies partly in compartmentalization. The home is littered with distraction and the quotidian duties of the home from unwashed dishes to dusty skirting boards. If you hit a spot of creative block while working in the living room, it’s likely that you’ll be on your knees dusting the skirting boards within minutes. That’s why a home office is essential. Manage your time effectively by deciding on set working hours and sticking to them. Not only will this aid your productivity, it will also help you to maintain your work / life balance.
Know where to invest and where to save
There’s also balance to be found in the financial realm. Like any small business you’ll need to learn where it’s best to save and where it’s important to invest. This could mean treating yourself and your business to a new laptop or it could mean finding the cheapest place to buy HP ink cartridges. It could mean investing in soundproofing your office or searching for a free equivalent of software you previously paid for (like switching from MS Word to Google Docs).
Don’t multitask, you’ll just wind up doing two things badly
Working from home will offer you a million opportunities to multitask. Whether it’s juggling your household chores alongside running your business or simply working with the TV on in the background… Don’t do it! At best it will slow you down and reduce your productivity but at worst it will compromise the quality of your work and risk alienating your clients or customers.
Know when to work from home… away from home
Even if you’ve invested heavily in your own home office, it’s worth recognizing when it’s a good idea to get out for a change of scenery. Take your laptop to your local coffee shop or do a little brainstorming in the park. A change of scenery can re-energize you and boost your productivity while a brisk walk can improve your concentration by facilitating oxygen flow to your brain.
It might take some patience and a little trial and error but balance can be achieved!