There has been an increase in the popularity of work-from-home jobs due to the many benefits associated with them such as reduced company expenditure, flexibility in work hours, potential to earn better, and what not. It is the very convenience of being able to work from home wherever it is and to be able to contribute your knowledge and utilize skills in the making of something useful that makes such jobs popular.
While it may seem like an overly easy-going alternative to traditional workplaces, work from home or freelancing is quite a tedious task. You may find it a case of flexibility, but as the time passes by you will realize that freelancing requires many adjustments from your side. It is due to the fact that working from home demands you to establish boundaries between your personal and professional lives—and trust us on this, it is not at all a piece of cake.
When we say boundaries, we do not mean to convey an impression that there is a definite set of things you should or should not do. There are a whole lot of things you can do and not do, but much of them depend upon you and your circumstances. However, a few of them remain to be common for any freelancer, and those are the things we will talk about in this article.
In this article, our focus will be on how to ensure that there remains equilibrium in your work and personal life, and for that, we have a few tips for you to consider. With a sincere implementation of these tips, you will be able to maximize your outputs, impress your clients, and live peacefully at your home.
Here are 10 tips to determine your work-life boundaries in an effective manner:
1. You Need A Workstation
While a workstation may not seem like an important factor to many of you, it actually is. In order to prepare ourselves mentally to carry out some work, a contextual environment helps a great deal. It is our psychological need to work in an environment which gives us the impression of a workplace.
Now, we ask you not to take it too seriously and start renovating your place—it is not a requisite. All you need to do is to choose an area, possibly a room, with basic necessaries such as a chair, desk, drawers, and others and sufficient lighting to get started with. Keep your stationery such as notebooks, sticky notes, markers, etc close to your desktop or laptop.
Of all the things, you must ensure that the area is excluded from noise or frequent physical interventions. While working, we tend to get distracted easily and hence, you need to take care of all these things in your workstation.
Once you have established your workstation, you will be better prepared to carry out your work-related activities efficiently.
2. Know Your Time Commitments
Many of the people think that we have all the time in our hands when working from home. Sadly, we do not. When you work from home, there will be a constant overlap of commitments—and you need to figure out how you allocate time for them.
Smart allocation of time is not easy. There are many ways you can, however, obtain the required smartness. For example, you can download any of the time-management apps on your mobiles or laptops such as the ones mentioned here. In addition, you should also resort to traditional ways for saving time such as making to-do lists on your sticky notes and posting them in the most conspicuous places, journaling, etc.
One very effective way which can help you avoid overcommitting is by not making hasty decisions. Many of us feel that refusing to commit to a task indicates laxity and incompetence; it does not. You must think through before making any commitment: thinking through requires you to consider and prioritize tasks of the day(s), week, or month and accordingly decide what you can and cannot do. Once you are clear of this, you will be able to allocate time.
3. Take Breaks
Yes, take breaks because you are not a machine. You are a human being with a limited amount of energy which needs recycling after some time.
There is a common misconception that taking breaks is a waste of time which could otherwise be utilized for doing something productive. Let us tell you a secret (which is not really a secret!): your brain has limited capacity and has not been oiled to work continuously for hours. You may continue working for straight 24 hours, but your work will most likely not reflect the maximum you could have given.
Also, talking about breaks you need to understand that breaks are brief periods, not a vacation. They should be taken at regular intervals for a brief amount of time in which you should anything you like, apart from work (in case you are a workaholic). Go out, wash up your face, take a nap, sing songs, or do anything else which pleases you. Just do it.
4. Go Out And Work
Working from home has wider definitions nowadays. We no longer stick to the conservative outlook towards a person working from a room in his house. Today, we also bring into this group those people who work in places such as cafes, libraries,and other outdoor places.
One of the drawbacks of working from home is the lack of interpersonal interaction in a physical environment. This affects our ability to connect faster and better. There are, however, ways this could be remedied. You should consider going out and working in cafes, libraries and other places where you will probably come across people like you.
Do not sit back on your chair all the time. Get out, change the place, and work. You will notice that such changes will produce salutary effects.
5. Ask For Feedback
Even if you are in a traditional work environment, you can still have people to assist you. You can ask your family members, friends or neighbors to review your work. Their views can help you broaden your perspective and make you work better.
While they may not necessarily give you feedback which a professional would, they will anyway have their own points to state which could be relevant for you and the work.
6. Give Yourself Vacations
“When you work from home, there is no such thing called vacations” is an ill-informed statement coming from people who do not appreciate the idea of relaxation in work life. You can have vacations if you choose to have them.
There is no gainsaying that the work schedule of a freelancer is generally erratic. Work often comes inconsistently which might affect our schedules. However, this should not be understood as causingimpossibility to find some time for yourself.
Every time you take up work, especially long-term work, be clear of when you can and cannot offer your services. Allocate a day or two every month as your no-work day(s). Go on a week-‘s break and relax. Your client will have to address your terms because the freelance community puts both a freelancer and a client at par. So, your say in deciding when you cannot provide services will generally be heard.
7. Save Money
We all know that freelancers do not usually get benefits such as maternity leave or pensions unlikemost of their traditional counterparts. So, it becomes important to save money.
The fact that you work from home can be of great use to you. You will save a lot of money which would otherwise have gone into transportation, food, lodging,and others. The amount you save will be enough to be kept as monthly savings which you should earmark for future.
As a freelancer, you cannot be sure when work stops coming or payment is made. You have to be fully prepared to handle any unexpected financial exigency, and hence, saving will be your lifesaver.
In fact, it is more than just what we have talked about. You should consider making monthly accounts, earmarking a certain sum for various activities or under heads, and spending accordingly. For example, if you are a sole-earner in a family comprising your wife and a young boy, you should consider earmarking a certain sum to be diverted for your wife’s monthly allowance and your kid’s education.
8. Make The Best Use Of Flexibility
When you are working from home, you are at a slight advantage over in-office workers as it is relatively easy for you to adjust your schedule and spare some time for developing skills. You need to make the best use of this advantage so that you can develop skills in other areas or improve the ones you already have.
You can enroll in various courses conducted by many websites which provide certificate courses and help you gain access to an abundance of knowledge in any area you can think of. All that is expected from you is a dedicated time slot and you are good to go!
9. Only Take Up Work You Can Do
Do not remain under an impression that you can take any type of work. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, many people start overloading themselves with any kind of work assignments a few of which they might not have taken had they been working in a physically monitored environment. Avoid doing that for your own good.
Even though you have a lot of time in your hands, you cannot compromise with quality. Be very clear of your terms and only accept work which you can sufficiently deliver. Overconfidence is a bad thing—and you always pay for it.
10. Sleep Well and Eat Healthy
The last tip is the most important one in the whole list. Freelancing can be really hectic and may cause you to skip meals or/and spend sleepless nights. You must not push yourself beyond what you can handle because if you do then your body will take measures to protect itself—and the first thing to get affected is your brain.
It is extremely important to take meals at regular intervals and sleep for at least five hours every day. Spending sleepless nights unless extremely required is excusable, but it should not be made a routine. Similarly, surviving mostly on junk food without eating vegetables and fruits will do more damage than good.
You may not believe us but there are diet plans for freelancers as well if you scroll down the Google page. While there is plenty to read, you can consider following suggestions written here. Stay healthy and fit, and you will wake up in a good mood every morning.
Work from home is catching up. Lately, there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of freelancers across the globe. While there are good enough reasons to work from home, there are also reasons why you should not be too comfortable about it. You need to understand that work from home can take a toll on both your personal and professional life.
There are so many things which freelancers can do to ensure that they are able to demarcate their work life and operate it the way it should be operated. We have, however, listed 10 such things which can help you effectively create boundaries in your work life.
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