I’ll be honest. I am a newly self employed copywriter based in Bridport, Dorset and am therefore relatively new to the whole ‘working from home’ thing. So, to hopefully help others, I thought I would put some points together about working from home based on advice I have gathered from friends, family, colleagues and professionals. Their help and guidance has been so helpful so far in my new venture and has made me take the plunge sooner rather than later so I really must thank them.
Yes, there are many plus sides to working from home: a cup of tea or coffee when you fancy one, no expensive office rent to pay and no more sitting in long traffic jams wasting precious time but working from home doesn’t suit everyone. It definitely takes a lot of self discipline as without it nothing would get done. Having studied nearly six years for a degree with the Open University part time (while working full time), I would certainly say I have self discipline and motivation to get things completed, thoroughly and in time. This is why I believe that once you get past the periods of loneliness, working from home can be a positive experience.
So, what are Purple Bubble’s top five tips for staying sane and getting things done? Read on to find out................
1) Make sure your friends and family understandYes, you and I understand the concept of working from home but people who have never done it or don’t know anyone in the same position just don’t get it sometimes. Just because you are at home does not mean you are free to look after the dog, babysit or take time out for a quick catch up! They need to appreciate that if you were working in an office or formal environment they wouldn’t be able to pop in for a social visit, so make it clear as day from the start that no matter how pressure they put you under, it is a No, no!
2) Organise a dedicated place of work
In order to successfully work from home as a copywriter it is important to have a dedicated office space. This may be a study, a spare room or a converted attic space. If you have the luxury, a home office in the garden may well be the ideal place to work as it is totally separate from the rest of the house, meaning you can shut the door and unwind in your own house of an evening. Wherever you work the most important thing is you have somewhere to ‘go to work’ so to speak. Just believing you are ‘off to work’ will help you get in the correct mindset. OK, some people can work around a kitchen table or sitting down in the lounge with the television blasting out, but they are in the minority. I cannot stand working like that but that is just me!
3) Plan your days
Despite what some may think, working from home doesn’t mean lounging around in your PJs all day, sat watching daytime television or taking three hour lunch breaks! If that is the approach you take you will never be a successful copywriter. On the flip side, working flat out for eighteen hours is not healthy too and therefore it is important to find a healthy balance and plan your days. That way you know you are doing, how long you have to complete something and can work to a schedule rather than floating along aimlessly. If something overruns, take some time off in the evening or the next morning and if you take an extra long break one day, make up some time when you can. My advice is to write a list of things to do each day and once written, the list should be prioritised and ticked off as the jobs are completed. Personally, I would say that sometimes I verge on OCD with lists but I find them really useful as they force me to work methodically through a project to get it completed.
No matter if you are a workoholic or not, everyone needs some time out to relax so I find it is a good idea to plan some leisure time, such as going swimming on a set date, to get me out of the house. If my phone rings and I am out or having dinner I let it go to answer phone as at the end of the day, that is what it is there for…I don’t think people should be offended. So long as you get back to them as soon as convenient I don’t see a problem.
4) Don’t get distracted
Easier said than done I know, but it is essential to not let distractions take over your day. It is fine to hang out the washing when the sun comes out. Here in Dorset we aren’t having much sun at the moment so I would jump on the chance for freshly aired clothes but that doesn’t mean I would then start mowing the lawn or cleaning the car as it would be a slippery slope! My advice is to be conscious of your time and to be clear on what needs doing and when, to help keep you on track.
5) Overcoming a solitary lifestyle
I have been used to working in a busy office environment but as I said before, studied from home for a number of years so knew, or rather had some idea, of what it would be like working from home. However, for people considering this change in direction it is important to understand the transition can come as a bit of a shock. I think the best thing to do is again, get the balance right to help you not feel lonely or isolated. While Twitter and Facebook allows you to freely communicate with others from the comfort of your desk, I also believe that they have their drawbacks too. Spending too much time on these kinds of social networking sites will mean your work may well suffer as a result so plan the amount of time to be spent on such sites to ensure you enjoy the benefits without damaging your business.
On the other hand, these kind of sites can be a great tool in physically getting you out of the house on a regular basis. Business networking events mean there are plenty of opportunities to meet other people and ultimately increase sales or interest.
As I have said in every top tip on the subject, I really believe working from home is all about the balance. If you can get that nailed then being your own boss in the comfort of your own surroundings can be a very fulfilling experience.