Working as a freelancer or being self-employed can sometimes get very complicated. It feels great to not have to clock in and out of work but it can get weird when you’re not feeling it and deadlines are quickly approaching. Working from home can also get very crippling because you are not getting a sufficient amount of sunlight, physical activity, and human interaction. As human beings are brain begins to flow through activity whether it is physical or mental. Moving your body, working through your thoughts and actually articulating them to others increases your creativity and productivity.
In all honesty, sometimes it is just impossible to leave the house when your emails are piled up and you have to finish your work. There is no time for a workout or a lunch date with friends. While we are busting our asses to knock out deadlines it is still important to get those brain juices flowing because after all our work depends on our creative minds, so we must nurture them. Here are a couple of exercises and practices that can help you stay motivated and focused while working from home:
Wake Up Early
Set your alarm clock as if you have to be at work at 8 a.m. Even if your office is only a couple of steps away, make that mental transition from your home to your office. Make sure you are at your desk and ready to work by 8 am. Don’t work in your bed or on the couch! Be on time for yourself, this will make deadlines seem like a breeze. Routines are also your best friend, hold yourself accountable. Follow standard business hours.
Create A Distraction To-Do List
Because of the easy access to phones and the internet, we tend to get distracted much easier. When something crosses our mind we jump right to it and out of what we were focusing on originally. “I wonder what how the Azealia Banks Breakfast Club Interview went?” “What’s the weather going to be like during my vacation next month.” Consequently, we get to googling and completely lose track of time. Once you are distracted it takes about 25 mins to return back to your original task. Get your life and make a quick list of the little things that pop up in your head, get to those later.
In the words of J.Cole, you’ve got to meditate, meditate, meditate. Vashtie stands by this and it has proven to work wonders in her life. Every morning take a moment to focus on meditation for about 20-30 minutes. Meditation will help you stay cool, calm and collected throughout the day and aids in having a healthy thought process. Research shows that after 4 days of meditation you will notice a change in your attention as well.
Mindfulness often gets put into the same category of meditation but this is something that you can practice throughout the day without anyone noticing. Mindfulness is simply focusing completely on what you’re doing, slowing down, and observing all of the physical and emotional sensations you are experiencing at that moment. For example, when you’re eating take the time to really chew and enjoy your food, concentrate on the flavors, the smell, and the texture. This may sound kind of wacky but it really helps when it comes to bettering your attention span and concentration. Mindfulness will help you push back against distractions when they arise. When you are working on a task and start to feel restless or over it, think to yourself, “Be here now.”
Curate Your Space
You may not be in a beautiful sky rise office space filled with tons of windows but you can curate your very own space. Light and ambiance are so important when it comes to your workspace. Set your desk up close to the nearest window and open up your blinds. Make sure your work area is clean and organized, your space reflects what’s going on in your mind. A cluttered space makes for a cluttered mind, so get to spring cleaning. Bright colors also make a work environment feel much more alive, add different tapestries, plants, and flowers to the mix.
15-2o mins At-Home Workouts/Take A Walk
Exercising your mind is important but physical exercise can also help with concentration. Look up a quick 15-20 minute at home workout and do it in the morning, during your lunch break, or when the day is complete. Physical activity will release the necessary endorphins that will help you have a better and more joyful day. The discipline that happens when you a commit to a workout helps you when developing the willpower to ignore distractions when focusing on your work at home.
All of the above practices will help you better your focus and concentration as a freelancer but if you are looking to go the extra mile we encourage you to take the time to do concentration exercises as well. Here is a list of different exercises that you can complete on your free time to strengthen up those brain muscles: Concentration Exercises .
Learn Something New
Getting stuck in routine can diminish your motivation. While working from home it is important that you take initiative when it comes to learning new things and broadening your horizons. You don’t have that talkative co-worker next to you putting you on game to the latest trends or new ways of thinking. You also don’t have a boss who is urging you to learn new skills so that you can work your way up on the corporate ladder. It’s up to you to learn new things, get on YouTube or get an account with LYNDA and take time once a week to learn something new whether it is for your career or your personal life. Growth is everything.
Find Time For Office Management Duties
When you’re working for yourself you have to keep up with your own payroll and other technical things. Save all office management duties for the 2nd half of the day or during your most unproductive times. These tasks don’t need that much brain power so don’t waste your brain power on billing, technology upgrades, expense reporting, and other office management duties.