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Early on, I knew what I wanted. It was crystal clear: It seemed simple enough: I wanted to make a living with words.

However, I found myself where many new grads do: stuck in a cubicle. Sure, I got to write for a marketing firm, but the office environment stifled my creativity. Working under fluorescent lighting all day began to test my sanity.

About a year ago, I was offered an opportunity to begin working from home as a freelance writer. Finally! I had always imagined freelancing from home and setting my own schedule, so I leapt at the opportunity. Little did I know how challenging it would be.

I wish someone had shown me a better away to approach my new lifestyle as a freelance writer, which is why I am here to share the knowledge that I learned the hard way with you.

Step 1: Create a Space In Which To Create

One of the main reasons I wanted to work from home was that I felt more comfortable and productive. And unlike an office, you have full control over your workspace. Treat yourself to a new desk, clean out your computer, and surround yourself with artwork and colors you love.

A great article on how you can create a relaxing and simplified workspace can be found here.

Step 2: Remove All Distractions

If possible, try to dedicate your workspace to just that. When you work from home you can create the ideal working environment, but be honest with yourself if something is too much of a distraction. Remove distracting elements such as a television or use site-blocking software like this to help keep you productive. Don’t let something control you, be the boss!

Step 3: Work Separate Work from Home

Don’t let chores distract you. Doing laundry or mowing your lawn are not part of your job. It’s ok to take breaks from time to time, but don’t get too caught up in an activity, especially when facing deadlines. Self control is a must, and if you don’t have that skill then you are going in the wrong direction.

A great, free program available to help you stay on task when working from home can be found at planner-software.com. Create separate lists for everything that needs to be done, both work related and for household tasks, to better stay focused during the day.

Step 4: Get Your Family & Friends on Board

One of the biggest challenges to working from home is making sure your housemates understand that you are actually working. You may still be in your pajamas at 2pm, but that does not mean you aren’t busy. Have a discussion with the people you live with (roommates, spouses, children, whoever!) about expectations in order to avoid unnecessary distractions or arguments.

Step 5: Maintain a Realistic Schedule

It’s easy to get off track, especially with broad deadlines. For a while I only had one deadline: finish everything by the end of the month. This made it very easy for me to procrastinate and get distracted (see Steps 2-4!) and often found myself locked in my office the last week of the month trying to get everything done on time. I always made my deadlines, but felt there had to be a better way.

The answer?  Don’t overload yourself to the point where you are working 14 hour days, but don’t spread yourself so thin that you think “I can do this later” only to have all your work pile up. If you maintain a balanced schedule, you may even find yourself finished before your deadline with time to spare!

Everyone’s work-from-home circumstances are different, but no matter what your situation is it is important to create a separation between work and home. Without it, you can find yourself frustrated and won’t get the most out of this liberating and rewarding opportunity that many do not have the luxury to have.

Did you enjoy this article? Have any personal tips for freelance beginners? Comment below and let us know! Please don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS-feed and follow Inspirationfeed on TwitterFacebook (100% Spam Free!) If you enjoyed the following article we humbly ask you to comment,  and help us spread the word!

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Posted by Abbi Cox

This guest post was written by Abbi Cox of Phones 4u.

14 Comments

  1. i know what you mean as i’m able to work better since i have removed all the distractions around my table and stay restricted to a set time for house chores … thanks for the article.

  2. Thank you very much for this article which I found it very useful and full of great tips and links!

  3. Great advice here on working at home. Setting up your work space is an essential step to be your most productive. Please see the Stand’nSit Workstation which can be set up in any room of your home to help create the perfect work environment.
    find us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StandinGH

  4. Great article.

    I really think a lot of people don’t succeed working from home because they don’t create the right environment and mindset.

    When I first started to work from home I did not have my own work at home space, now I do and it does make all the difference.

  5. Great article. I’m working at home as a Web Designer/Developer and I’m currently working on a big one, alone.
    For all of the reasons you mentioned above, I’m working at night. No one will interrupt me, Nothing else to do, etc.
    It might cause some problems (as I see what it has done with my friends!), But it’s quite relaxing and nice, in my opinion.

    Sorry for my English 🙂

  6. Great advice, thanks for the post. Separating work from home is so important, I had trouble with this when I first started out, especially with the constant distractions from friends and family members refused to acknowledge I was actually working!

  7. I was a home based entrepreneur for many years. This January, I got my first away from home office and my productivity increased. But around June, July, I felt that pull to work from home again. The only thing was I couldn’t work INSIDE the house. I couldn’t get that same flow going again. So I went out, got one of those tailgate tent things, set it up on my deck to block the sun, and I can be super productive writing outside on my deck. I still have my office, but I write from my deck.

    Adrienne Graham
    Empower Me! Corporation

  8. cool advice,i like your post,carry on dear 🙂

  9. Very interesting, I feel like I would be more productive if I had an actual office somewhere as well

  10. Very nice article, and thanks for pointing people towards Organiser (which I wrote! 🙂 ). I’m very often busy trying to keep focused on the important stuff, and keeping my head clean of all the things that need to be done. I still plan the projects around 1 or 2 weeks ahead using a small agenda, the rest goes into Organiser…

  11. I find the ‘slivers of time’ concept v useful for housework. A dirty/dusty home depresses me, but my deadlines have the priority. So while I’m boiling the kettle, say, I’ll go out and pull some weeds. (Not allowed to pull more than 10, otherwise I become absorbed…) The slivers of time can be as small as 5 minutes. But they go a long way.

  12. I have found that when I keep the same schedule at home I would at work, everything runs smoothly. Keeping my cell off and in another room is a must too. That distraction thing.
    Thanks for the great post!

  13. Wow, you seriously hit every point on the nail head. I’ve worked from home for ten years now and until I implemented much of what you have discussed it was an uphill battle trying to stay motivated to keep working! Obviously space is an issue for many, buy having a separate office, or work space is critical. Also, having family and friends on board is critical to success. They need to know that if/when they drop over to visit, you may be busy and in the middle of something, unable to just drop what you are doing! Great article 🙂

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