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How to work productively at home (freelancers)

It can be tricky as an entrepreneur when you’re working at home, to actually WORK when you’re at home.

In my line of work, remote work is highly discouraged and many clients want you on-site. This makes no sense to me but it does mean that I very rarely work at home as a result.

For the rare times that I have been afforded the luxury of working from home, I’ve noticed a few things have helped me stay focused.

1. Get dressed at least!

Sounds dumb but if you stay in your pyjamas, you are very likely to not switch on from “home” to “work” time in your brain.

A nice shirt, some jeans and you’re good to go.

I personally put in a nice dress, maybe even tie my hair up (no makeup), and wear at least a watch or a piece of jewellery.

2. Have your office face away from the kitchen

Maybe this is just me, but facing the kitchen makes me think of snacks, eating, cleaning dishes and anything BUT working.

As a result, my desk faces away from the kitchen when I work. Otherwise, I am thinking – what should I make for lunch? Is it time for snack #2?

3. Leave the TV and radio off

Sure, it might seem enticing to have reruns of Seinfeld on in the background but that saps productivity when you’re trying to get something done.

That isn’t to say that you CANNOT multi-task or that you’re no good at it — it is to say that NO ONE is good or efficient at multi-tasking.

I don’t care what you’ve heard about men and women and how some brains are wired differently — the bottom line is that when you’re concentrating on ONE task at a time, you’re more efficient than if you are spread out over a bunch of tasks.

Don’t fall into that trap!!

Make your 3 Things To Do Today List, and go down it one by one, knocking each one out.

If you have to leave one task for another time, snooze it until a certain time (use a timer if you must) and go on to #2 on the list until you’re done and you’ve accomplished something.

4. Leave the home if you must

Go work in a cafe.

Starbucks has become popular for this reason as the third environment people enjoy being in. I can see why… it gets you out of the house, you aren’t at work, and you have no other excuse but to work.

It also lets you have some indirect human interaction by way of hearing others speak around you or just talking to the barista.

I find that even just going to the lobby or to a common room helps put me into the mood of working.

5. Take regular breaks

Every half an hour, get up and stretch. Grab a tea or coffee, breathe, then sit back down to work.

6. Log off when you’re supposed to

End of the day?

Shut down.

No more working.

If you don’t set limits on “Personal” and “Work” times, things can bleed into each other and feel like you haven’t enough of either!

Do you work from home?


  • Tre

    I find the biggest challenge is having people respect that I am working. My husband and kids seem to think that because I am home I can run an errand or do some chores. It took some time to get them to understand that although I am home I am working.

  • SarahN

    My place is a library – it’s where I go for internet on my laptop (at home, it’s my phone) and that’s where I apply for jobs. Or read blogs. More of the latter, I must admit! I eve procasti-cleaned today!

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