For many freelancers, working from home is the perfect solution. They don’t have to spend hours commuting to an office each day, and it also works out a whole lot cheaper than paying to use hot desks in co-working space. Setting up a home office is certainly the cheapest and most efficient option for many freelancing professionals.
Even though there are many obvious perks that come with working from home, there is one distinct issue that quite a few freelancers find difficult to overcome – keeping their professional and personal lives completely separate from one another. It’s easy to keep these separate when you work full-time from an office – after all, your professional life stays in the office and usually doesn’t come home with you. But the split between the two can become a bit of a blur when you work from home.
So, are you wondering how you can keep both of these lives separate even when you work from home? Don’t worry; it’s not quite as difficult as you might think as all of these tips can really help you.
Set Up An Office Space
If you do decide to work from home, it is incredibly important that you set up an office for yourself to work from. A spare bedroom is perfect for turning into such a space, as it gives you a dedicated space in which to work. You will need to fill your office with all of the necessary equipment, such as a desk, office chair, and a printer. Don’t have a spare room that you can easily turn into an office? No problem; you can simply make a small office space in the corner of your living room or bedroom. This needs to be big enough to place a desk in, all your filing cabinets, and any other equipment that you need. This is one of the most important things you will need to do once you start working from home, as you will have a dedicated space set up for all your work. It can also help you stay in a professional mindset, even though you are working from the comfort of your own home. If you were to simply work from your sofa, you might find it incredibly difficult to concentrate, and all too easy to procrastinate. At least working from a desk will give you some structure and stability.
Always Dress Professionally
As well as creating an office space to help you stay in a working mindset, it will also pay to dress professionally every day as well. Ideally, you should put on the same outfits that you would wear if you were heading to the office for the day. Just like working on the sofa can make it difficult to concentrate, so too can working in your pajamas! You just won’t be able to get in the mood for work as you will be way too relaxed. Ok, so you don’t have to wear uncomfortable shirts and suits, but trying to dress smartly can really help you work more efficiently in your home office. Plus it can help you split up your personal and professional time a lot better – after you’ve finished your work, you can get changed into something a lot more comfortable!
Keep Professional And Personal Finances Separate
Two other things you need to distinguish between are your personal and professional finances. It’s really important that you don’t ever get these two mixed up as it can really confuse your taxes when it’s time to sort them out. One of the best ways to ensure that you never confuse your personal and professional finances is to think about hiring a CPA to take care of all your business expenses and taxes. They will be able to take over with your professional finances and ensure they always add up. This will also half your workload as it means you only need to take care of your personal expenses and taxes.
You should also get two bank accounts: one for personal money and the other for professional cash. Then, if you ever need to buy anything for your business, you have a separate pot of money to use for it. Make sure that all of your invoices are paid into your business bank account as well.
It’s also important that you have somewhere to store all of your business receipts and other proofs of expenses. If you get any personal ones mixed up with your business ones, you will end up messing up your books and getting your taxes wrong, which could end in some very hefty fines from the tax man!
Set Yourself Deadlines
You need to set a time at which you go to your home office and start work, and also a time at which you call it a day. These deadlines help you compartmentalize your day, so you have set times at which you should be working. This then means that you are a lot less likely to end up doing your laundry, vacuuming, or any other chores for instance when you should really be getting on with your work. Even though you might have to work later on some days, it’s really important that you end your working day on time as often as possible. Otherwise, you will find that your free time is limited, and you will end up working all evening. That can be bad news for your mental health, as you will end up extremely stressed and with very little time to relax and chill out after work. If you find that you end up working every hour in the day, you need to review your work schedule.
Don’t Eat Meals In Your Home Office
You might be tempted to eat your lunch at your desk and continue working without taking a lunch hour. Sure, this can help you complete your work quicker and finish earlier for the day, but it really is important that you take a proper lunch break. Firstly, it’s a good idea to take a lunch break as it gives you the chance to get out of the house and stretch your legs. You will find that when you return to your desk, your mind will be clear and you will find it easier to concentrate again. Secondly, you might be able to fit in a workout or a quick nap to your lunch break! So, when it is time to grab a quick bite to eat, have your lunch at your dining table or head out to your favorite cafe.
Set Up A Work Phone
You will probably already have a landline set up at home for all your family to use. Well, it’s also very much worth setting up a dedicated business line for your home office. This then ensures that your clients and customers aren’t calling the home phone line and end up talking to your kids or anyone else in your family. But it also helps you organize your expenses better as you won’t have to go through your regular phone bill and pick out the charges for business calls. You will simply be able to put all of your business phone bill towards your company expenses. As this line will also be set up in your home office, you will be able to easily take all your professional calls in the privacy of your office.
Get Out As Often As Possible
I’ve already mentioned that you should try and go for a walk at lunch as often as possible. But it’s also a good idea to try and get out more during the day if possible as it can really help you free up your mind and concentrate better when you return to work. If you regularly need to meet up with clients and other professionals for clients, it’s worth arranging the meeting for somewhere else other than in your home office. I really can’t stress how important it is to get out of your home office as often as possible, and this also includes meetings. A change of scenery can help stimulate your brain, which is great for inspiration and creativity.
Turn Social Media Push Notifications Off While You Work
Do you get distracted whenever someone retweets your tweet or somebody sends you a message on Facebook messenger? Well, there is a really easy way to get around that – you just need to turn off all of your push notifications from social media sites and apps. You should be able to do this by changing the notification settings on your smartphone, tablet device, and laptop. You will then be able to carry on with your work without any distractions making your phone or tablet buzz!
As you can see, your professional and personal lives don’t have to get so jumbled up together when you work from home. There are some key ways you can keep them very much separate from one another. Hopefully, all of the tips in this article can help you keep the division in place!