You have handed over your resignation letter and have finished saying your goodbyes to your beloved colleagues and boss. You have prepared months before the last day of your work and you have clients waiting for your deliverables. The first few days, you feel like you are in office heaven, with no distracting chitchats or micromanaging superiors looking behind your shoulders. You can wear whatever clothes that you want, and thank goodness no more of that horrible time-wasting traffic to and from your house and workplace. You get paid on time and you control your own activities. You are now alone ranger and you are doing a great job professionally speaking. Life just feels so much more fulfilling when you work for yourself and working at home.
And then you notice that time just moves so slow, and your tasks are being done at a snail’s pace. You noticed that your productivity while still good is not as great as you thought it would be. You observed that your computer is not exactly as good and fast as your workstation back in corporate headquarters, and you ask yourself if freelancing or being self-employed is worth it.
One of the most difficult steps in any business operations has always been starting or transitioning from one business environment to another. It sounds so easy to be the boss, but it is actually harder than you thought it would be. You are now doubting yourself, thinking that you bit more than you can chew.
You might be suffering from one of the five key problems that freelancers and people who work at home did not prepare for.
Not being productive when working at home
With most of the workstations of freelancers and people who work at a home located near or at the bedroom, chances are it’s so easy to just lay down and close your eyes for a few minutes, and then those minutes became hours. The great advantage of working in an office space is that distractions are not that strong or tempting. That is very unlike working at home since we usually treat our homes as the place where we relax and not do activities related to work or your occupation. It may take some time before you can make the mental transition of equating your office to your home.
One way to work around that kind of issue is to simply add either a ritual or an object that can anchor your thoughts to work. For instance, putting a calendar in an area that is prominent, or doing hand exercises to prepare your hands for the many words to type or videos to edit. By preparing your body and your space to transition from relaxation to work, you can definitely get some work done and you can show the results to your clients. Lastly, clean up your work desk, and the organized setup can somehow calm down your brain and help you focus.
Deciding on what to prioritize
One thing that could have given you analysis paralysis is the fact that you know how important every step is for your service or production. Knowing the whole business structure and the value assigned to it is both a blessing and a curse because you may be and motivated due to the knowledge about the business on one hand but you can feel immense pressure due to the fact that you know that you cannot screw this up.
You can deal with this by making a list of the steps that have to be taken to ensure quality work. This list could be chronological in the sense that the list follows the process and stages from beginning to end. Another kind of less that you could do is to make a separate list of important things that are critical and then put a deadline on that said critical event. That way you can give a hundred and twenty percent on that event.
Burnout is actually pretty common to freelancers. This is because they do not know how hard they are working already. Because the buck ends at the freelancer’s table there is no one else to play. This added pressure can actually for freelancers to do more time and effort and sometimes even resources free particular project.
While some projects do need the extra care and attention, not all of projects do. One way to stop yourself from getting burnt out is to put a specific time when you operate and when you are relaxing at home. Just give overtime to the critical activities as mentioned above and for some unexpected circumstances. Other than those two, then just finish it at your working hours.
No one is an island
The good thing about working in an office is the team synergy. While some coworkers may not contribute as much, we actually gave a deeper sense of urgency that makes the office environment conducive to working. That environment is seldom present in a home office. Sometimes you get to lux and then when the deadline is near that is when you unleash all of your energy and then you get burnt out.
A simple solution would actually be to be kind to yourself. Call a friend perhaps, talk to your previous officemates and other industry acquaintances, and just have a night out. Another great thing to do is actually to network. You might get a referral or a new client or better yet a mentor.
The mentality of the lone ranger
Since you are the boss, the employee, on the marketer of your product or services, everything lies on your shoulders. You will feel like you’re carrying the world. It is actually a very enjoyable feeling if you do not get crushed by the pressure. One way that offices benefit the employees and the team is that it gives a sense of camaraderie between people. Being a freelancer or working at home can honestly be very lonely.
The solution is actually the same as the previous one. Be kind to yourself. You are your own boss and your own employee. You are valuable. Another solution would actually be to get a partner, or maybe even get some of your work outsourced, offshore or onshore.
You do not have to carry the weight of the world. Freelancing is an exciting lifestyle, but it can also affect you negatively. By knowing these 5 problems and some recommended solutions, you can be the best freelancer if you apply the learning here strategically. May the force be with you and may you have success.