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How to Stay Sane When Working From Home, According to People Who Do It

by Susie Benitez

Whether it has been your life’s mission to transition into the “freelance lifestyle” or this is a career pivot that’s totally out of left field for you, it looks like (at least for the foreseeable future), those who work in some sort of an office setting will be officially working from home. So before you either a) jump for joy because you’ve always secretly dreamed of taking conference calls in your sweats or b) collapse into a pool of uncertainty because your finely-tuned daily structure no longer applies (which, by the way, it’ll all be okay!), we spoke to six freelancers who do this every single day on what their best tips are when their home is their office. Or their couch, or their bed.. you know, we don’t judge! So scroll down for tips from some of the seasoned pros and remember: we’ll get through this together– even if that means doing so while six feet apart.

Cheyenne Adler, Freelance Brand Strategist

What are your best tips for working from home?

Set up a work space where you feel your most productive and lay out everything you need for the day: notebook + pens, chargers, water bottle etc to minimize small interruptions.

Work your normal hours. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean your schedule should shift! 

If you struggle with setting up your day, try scheduling work blocks for when you’ll get certain things done. (I.e emails from 1-2pm, work on content calendar from 2-3:30pm)

Stock up on yummy snacks. The biggest thing I miss about an office is all the snacks so make sure you’ve got your favorite bites to brighten your day between tasks. 

What is the one thing you couldn’t WFH without?

Oh, I couldn’t WFH without my two cats, Salem and Artemis. They’re the ideal coworkers – they’re quiet and mostly keep to themselves, but every now and then they pop over for a little belly rub which serves as the perfect work break.

Kelly Peacock, Content Marketing Writer

What are your best tips for working from home?

I like to drink a cup of warm lemon water right after I wake up and right before I brew my morning coffee—drinking water when you first wake up is a great way to get your body moving! Set up shop at a table away from your bed and if you can, your bedroom too. Write out what you have to do for the day—I like to handwrite my to-do list so when I finish things, I can cross it off and feel more accomplished. Take breaks every once in a while too! I like to go outside (if I can) or do some light stretching.

What is the one thing you couldn’t WFH without?

My laptop! 

Maitreya Brooks, Freelance Community and PR

What are your best tips for working from home?

Set up an area that can serve as your desk (no working in bed!), and set it up to have everything that will help you stay settled. I make a matcha latte before I sit down, and usually bring a snack over! Try to knock out the most boring work early in the morning, and then make little to-do lists for your day, or your week! Slowly being able to cross those off is a nice way to make sure you’re on track. Working for 2-3 hours then taking a break to either get some fresh air or sun, or make a snack is helpful for me to refocus! 

What is the one thing you couldn’t WFH without?

I couldn’t work from home without my Sonos speaker! I’m always listening to music as I work!

Tristan Daly, Senior Cost Manager at WeWork

What are your best tips for working from home?

Make your bed as soon as you wake up, because once you make your bed, your whole day starts and you don’t back track.

If you can, step out of the bedroom and into a workspace like the kitchen table or desk so you don’t feel over-relaxed in your place of peace. 

What is the one thing you couldn’t WFH without?

Couldn’t work from home without my laptop.. Duh!

Connor Donahue, Freelance Writer

What are your best tips for working from home?

Take breaks when you need to to clear your head so you don’t get cabin fever. Shower and get dressed even though you’re not going anywhere; it will make you more productive. Avoid working from your bed: it’ll just make you want to stop working. And most importantly: make the most out of the time you save by not having to commute. Work on your hobbies and passion projects, read a book.

What is the one thing you couldn’t WFH without?

I probably couldn’t freelance without a way to unwind when I get too in my head while working. Video games, books, TV, they’re all great ways to break up your work day that you can’t do at the office. Just remember to use them in moderation.

Mollie Suss, Freelance Designer/Illustrator/Animator

What are your best tips for working from home?

My best tip would be to find out what works for you personally! There are countless tips online about WFH and they’ll all tell you a different “secret” about how to succeed. But the reality is that we all work differently, and the best part about WFH is the flexibility (a really great option for someone like me, whose health is often in flux and cannot endure the often rigorous demands of the 9-5 workplace), so take advantage of it! All of the freedom can be a little intimidating at first, but looking at it as an opportunity to learn about yourself and your needs can be really freeing.

What is the one thing you couldn’t WFH without?

I couldn’t WFH without my feline assistant, Osiris. He acts as a great sounding board and source of entertainment for when things get dull! He also really helps me get a start to my day when he begs for breakfast, which is often the hardest part of WFH. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a pet at home at the moment, now more than ever is a great time to foster a fluffy friend.

Feature Image via Bridget Badore

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