Most people are familiar with the typical characteristics of a work-from-home position, but everyone’s work-from-home styles differ. While the independence, flexibility and lack of distractions from co-workers can be enticing, it can also be isolating and challenging to have an appropriate work-life balance when there’s no physical separation of work and home.
But those who have been working from home for a few years are wise to the other (more insidious) challenges, too. Working from home can present a whole host of consumption traps. Consider the proximity of the fridge and the lack of managerial oversight. Sure, it’s an all-day snack heaven. Before you know it, you’ve put on 10 pounds. And how about that escalating coffee habit? There’s always another cup available when nobody else is drinking from the pot.
Then there’s the binge-watching. Let’s be honest, every work-from-home freelancer has deferred a job or two to the afternoon or evening to finish marathoning “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones.” The temptation is just too real.
But to be truly successful as a freelancer in the long run, you need to learn how to manage the temptations in front of you. It’s the same as finding the will to set regular hours or get things done when there’s nobody pressuring you. Avoiding over-consumption is key. Here are five different work-from-home styles to help you find your groove and avoid falling into a rut.
1. The Compartmentalizer
One of the best ways to better structure your environment is by physically separating your office space from your home space. Having a dedicated room as your office is great, but if you don’t have the space, try dedicating a nook in your apartment where you only do work. Don’t bring your work outside this space, and don’t bring non-work things (read: the contents of your fridge) into your work space. This will create a psychological cue every time you enter your work space: This is where work is done, so get to it.
2. The Minimalist
The minimalist knows how to keep the snack situation under control. What’s the solution? Not stocking large quantities of unhealthy snacks. It sounds simple enough, but when the temptation isn’t there, you can’t succumb to it. You don’t always want to be battling your inner snack fiend, so make it a little easier on yourself. Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time so they’re the easiest go-tos when you’re feeling peckish.
3. The Traveler
Many freelancers find that working from home every day simply isn’t possible. Sure, you may enjoy the quiet when you really want to focus, but sometimes the same old space can be a little uninspiring. That’s when distractions like Netflix start to beckon. Try researching some co-working spaces in your area. You may be surprised: Many places have flexible options for those only interested in getting out of the house one or two days a week — or month.
4. The Socializer
It’s amazing what ranting to other freelancers about the perils of working from home will do for the psyche. Finding like-minded communities to connect with both online and offline is one of the most effective ways to boost your mood and motivation. It’s also a fundamental business development activity, so that’s a win-win. If you’re having trouble finding your niche group, why not make your own? I guarantee you’ll end up finding plenty of people to connect with who can remind you just why you decided to do this work-from-home thing in the first place.
5. The Architect
The architect is someone who tailors every aspect of their day right down to the details. After all, the details matter. Design a work space conducive to productivity: Keep your desk clean, find a place for privacy and quiet, maximize your natural light and spend time choosing the perfect chair. Plan your time throughout the day to make sure you’re taking regular breaks and exercising. The reason for all this advanced prep is to set yourself up for success as best as possible, so don’t underestimate the importance of each detail. It’s much easier to avoid temptations calling from the rest of the house when you’ve primed yourself for productivity.
These work-from-home styles work well individually, but they work spectacularly well all together. Start with one and see how it changes the way you work (and the way you feel about work).