Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Working in My Pajamas: A Freelancer’s Guide to Staying Productive



I admit it. I work in my PJs. I roll out of bed in the morning and go right to work without passing go or collecting my $200. (Though, the $200 would be a nice benefit.) This is a luxury that I can afford now because I work at home.

My pajamas are Doctor Who themed, by the way.

Lots of work from home experts suggest that, in order to learn discipline, you should always dress for the home office just like you would for any other office. I decided I wanted to reject that notion entirely. So, unless I have a face-to-face or a skype meeting I skip the morning shower, keep my hair in a ponytail and work in my pajamas.

And I have found that I am not less productive. 

My work is conducted almost entirely on the internet. I source clients through a variety of online sources. I write in Microsoft Word and submit my content either through email or directly onto my client’s blogging platform. I follow up with those clients on line. Even if I do have a phone call, I may not change out of my PJs to talk.

So, how do you remain productive when you work from home with all the potential distractions? I’ve been working from home since 2012 and I find it refreshing and comfortable. But, besides staying in my PJs most of the day, here are the other things I do to keep up with my work.
  •  Weekly To Do list. Each week, I write down everything I have to do Monday through Friday. I don’t use a special calendar, just a notebook. When I complete a task, I cross it off. I can add tasks as they come up too. Over the course of the week, the page gets filled in with lots of other notes as well.
  • Start with breakfast. Okay, with that weekly task out of the way, I start every day with breakfast and a hot cup of chai tea. 
  • Recognize my own patterns. Everyone has different patterns. When you’re working from home, it is more important than ever to understand and work with them. I am a morning person, so I work best between when I wake up and lunch time. Critical tasks are done during this time frame.
  • Return emails. I also make sure I return any emails that I wasn’t able to respond to when I was away from my computer either at night or over the weekend. I do all of this in the morning so I am not tied up with checking back and forth all day.
  • Apply to jobs and market. For a freelance writer, like me, marketing is just a part of the job. For the most part, clients don’t just fall in your lap. I visit the job boards I like best and try to apply to at least one job a day. I also update my social media.  
  • Work on content. Then, I type. I do research. I type some more.
  • Allow myself minor breaks. While I am typing, I allow myself the chance to check Facebook from time to time. If I have to do laundry, I just go do laundry. I get the mail. I pet the cat. I haven’t found that any of these small breaks impede my ability to perform my job.
  • Save the big stuff as a reward. But, I know there are things I love that would inhibit my productivity, so I save those for when I am done with my work for the day. Those big rewards generally include watching a favorite TV show or going out with friends. 
I don’t have set working hours. When I am done with my work, I am done. I may, if I choose to, work on other projects once I have crossed the last thing off my list, but they are not required.

That is how I stay productive during the day while working from home. What works best for you?



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