Tag: work at home

6 Distractions that Hurt Your Productivity When You Work at Home

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Working at home presents challenges to your productivity that are not found at an office. That means you must learn how to avoid distractions and be your own supervisor so that your work actually gets done. Take a look at these six distractions that I have a hard time dealing with while I am trying to do my freelance work.

Watching TV

My favorite place to work is on the couch in my living room because I can put my feet up and use my laptop. However, the living room is the only place in my house where there is a TV. This presents a problem if I want to get some work done but my husband wants to watch the news, sports, or anything else at the same time. It’s too easy for me to get absorbed in a show and not do my work.

I don’t have a problem with TV when my husband isn’t at home because I don’t turn it on. There’s nothing good to watch on TV during the day anyway. The problem is when I am trying to do work in the evening during prime time TV. Plus, the background noise of sports drives me crazy.

Looking at Social Networks

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It helps me stay connected with friends and family, but it also distracts me from my work. I try to only look at Facebook a few times each day so that I can get my work done.

If I have a tab open in my browser for Facebook, it constantly interrupts me with updates, which of course I have to go check right away. I check my other social networks a couple of times each week, but Facebook is the only one that really absorbs my time.

Playing Computer Games

I play lots of computer games, but I have a particular obsession with Candy Crush at the moment. The problem is that I start playing it and then the next thing I know, 20 minutes have passed where I’ve gotten no work done.

I’m not saying you should never play computer games; I’m just saying you shouldn’t play them during the day when you’re supposed to be working. I even try to avoid them when I am taking a break because I don’t want to get distracted for too long. I know Candy Crush is just a phase for me, but there always seems to be some computer game that distracts me, even if it’s just good, old Minesweeper.

Doing Chores Around the House

Housework is a major distraction to me because I have a hard time concentrating when things are messy around me. I’m always worried that somebody is going to stop by my house while it is a wreck. So, I have to exercise great control not to do the dishes or mop the floor if I have a close deadline to meet. I like to get everything in my house straightened up before I go to bed so that it is nice and clean when I start work in the morning.

Listening to Music

Some people find that music helps them be more productive. I think it is more of a distraction, especially if there are words because I start singing along instead of concentrating on what I am writing. However, I occasionally do turn on some quiet or classical music as background noise so I can learn to work with noise. You’re lucky if you can be productive while listening to music.

Caring for Children

Freelance writing is one of the best jobs to have as a work at home mom, especially if you don’t spend a lot of time on the phone. However, childcare is still a major distraction. You’re kidding yourself if you think you can work as much once you have kids as you did before.

For some reasons, people always ask me to watch their kids. They think I have the time because I am always “at home.” You have to really train your kids to be independent and know how to behave while you’re working, and this isn’t something that other people’s kids understand. if you’re asked to watch other people’s kids, simply explain that yes you are “at home,” but you are “working.”

For more information, read, “6 Ways to Stay Organized and Productive When You Work at Home.” It is possible to be productive and learn how to overcome your distractions.

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4 Ways to Deal with Freelancer Loneliness

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When you work at home, you don’t get the same kind of social interaction as when you work in an office. This can make you feel lonely at times. If loneliness is something that happens to you as a freelancer, take a look at these four ways to deal with the problem.

Do Your Work in a Public Place

Sometimes when I feel lonely I grab my laptop and hop in the car in search of a place to work that is away from home for the day. This could be a park, café, library, or even a university. The only thing I care about is if I have access to free WiFi. Getting out of the house helps me combat the feelings of loneliness simply because I have a change of scenery and it takes my mind off my loneliness. This isn’t a permanent fix to feeling lonely, but it can help you feel better for a day. Plus, working in a public place occasionally gives me the opportunity to meet new people.

Connect with Other Freelancers

Another thing I like to do to combat feelings of freelancer loneliness is to create unofficial coworkers. You can do this by meeting other freelancers in your community or chatting with people in similar circumstances online. I am a member of several online freelance communities and I’ve made quite a few friends and connections this way. I know I can turn to my unofficial coworkers if I need motivation or just want to talk about a project that I am working on.

Make More Time for Friends and Family

As a freelancer, I sometimes feel like I work all day, every day. And, this actually is the case some weeks. However, all that working makes me feel lonely. The only way for me to keep my sanity during these hectic work weeks is to build in time to see my friends and family. Even a chat on the phone with someone helps me feel less lonely. I aim to chat with a friend at least once a week and to see family that often, too.

Volunteer Your Time to Local Charities

Another option for getting social interaction is to find places in your community where you can volunteer. Schools always need people to help kids with their reading and most communities have homeless shelters and other causes where you can help out. This will help you feel less lonely as a freelancer because you’ll get interaction with other people and get away from your computer at the same time.

Freelancer loneliness is sometimes a problem for me, but there are plenty of ways to deal with it. What do you do as a freelancer to make sure you get enough social interaction in your life? Leave a comment below.

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8 Signs Freelancing Isn’t For You

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Have you ever dreamed about working from home in your pajamas? Lots of people argue that anyone can do it. To some degree this is true, if you have enough drive and ambition. However, just because you can be a freelancer, doesn’t mean you should. Take a look at these eight signs that freelancing isn’t for you.

1. You Don’t Want to Be On Call 24/7

Many freelancers have a hard time separating work life from personal life because it all takes place in the same space. This can make it seem like you are on call 24/7. And, a lot of the time, you truly are because of your client’s needs. Flexibility can be a curse because it may mean you have to work at all hours of the day.

One time, I worked for a client that had a project manager in India. India is on basically the opposite time schedule as me, so I had to adjust my lifestyle a bit to ensure I returned emails in a timely manner. This meant sleeping with my cellphone close to me so I would wake up whenever I heard an email come in. This was a less than ideal situation, but it’s something you have to be prepared to deal with as a freelancer. Clients expect you to work on their time, which puts you constantly on call.

Even vacations can be affected by the freelance life. A client from the past may email you with new work and you’ll need to respond. Clients wouldn’t be happy if they had to wait a week or more before getting a response. By that point, they probably would have found someone else to do the job.

2. Your Attention Span Is Short and You Can’t Get Organized

You have no supervision as a freelancer. This means you have to hold yourself accountable for the work you do. To be successful, you have to manage your time wisely to stay on target to meet your deadlines. If you’re someone with a really short attention span, this can be a difficult adjustment as you enter the freelancing world.

Additionally, having young children at home can be a major distraction. People think that working at home is the ideal situation because you don’t have to hire daycare, but it actually requires a high level of organization and patience. You have to prioritize your work and juggle lots of other things at the same time without losing focus on your deadlines and goals.

My attention span is less than stellar, but I’ve been working on making it better. I know that when I am really focused, I make more money, which is a huge motivator for me. Having a short attention span will hurt your freelancing career, but it is something you can work on improving. The biggest thing you need to do is minimize your distractions and find self motivators that will keep you on task.

3. You Aren’t an Expert at Anything

The most successful freelancers choose a niche and become an expert. If you’re not willing to do this, freelancing will be hard for you. Sure, there are always content mills that will hire you to write about anything, but landing higher paying gigs requires knowledge, experience, and authority in niche subjects. Clients will deem you an expert if they see a portfolio of articles with similar topics. You can also get a degree in a field where you want to be an expert.

I’ve been a freelance writer since before I got my English degree back in 2008. I enjoy writing about the craft of writing and I’m working on further building my credibility in the subject. Nobody becomes an expert overnight! You have to continually expand your knowledge and stay up to date on trends. Anyone can do this.

I’m also working on building my expertise in technology, small business, freelancing, and marketing. You don’t have to pick just one area of expertise, especially since your interests will change over time. For instance, when I first started out as a freelance writer, I contributed a lot of articles on sewing and crafts since those are some of my hobbies.

4. You Haven’t Built Enough Confidence Yet

Successful freelancers are not afraid to promote their work on social media or anywhere else. You have to gain exposure as a freelancer to get more work and build demand for your services. If you’re afraid of having your name attached to something, freelancing is not a good choice for you. You need to overcome the feelings of self doubt and be willing to show your work to the world. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will believe in you, either.

Confidence comes after you have become an expert in something. This is because you’ll stop second guessing your information and be willing to stand behind your words. Additionally, the more practice you get, the more confidence you will have because your skills will improve.

At first, I had a hard time putting my bio on articles, especially if I expressed any sort of opinion, because I didn’t want others to judge me or argue my points. At this point, I’ve stopped caring — there will always be people with differing opinions. Plus, my own opinion adapts over time. That being said, I do care about the quality of my work and all freelancers need to be concerned with this, too, because it affects how many clients you get in the future.

5. Dealing with Clients Scares You

As a freelancer, you are your own boss. This means you have no one to go to if you’re having a hard time with one of your clients. If the thought of having complete control over client relationships scares you, you might want to rethink being a freelancer.

Some clients are a breeze to work with and others are very picky with high demands. A lot of the time it is hard to figure out what clients really want. One of my least favorite things about freelancing is feeling the stress of starting a new job every time I get a new client. It is hard, but you won’t have to worry about it as much later in your career when you have a larger client base.

Of course there’s more to dealing with clients than figuring out what they want. You have to maintain the relationship after you finish a project. This means you have to spend extra time reaching out to your clients through friendly emails and newsletters. And the kicker is that you have to do all of this without pay.

6. You Don’t Know How to Negotiate Your Pay

Another difficult thing about being a freelancer is that you have to negotiate your pay. Some people have no problem with this, but it can create an awkward situation. Just make sure that you charge what you are worth and build in time for emails and calls. Remember, if you’re willing to work for minimal pay, that’s all you’ll get.

Also, keep in mind that freelancers do not get insurance benefits like traditional employees. This means asking for a higher hourly rate is acceptable. Getting paid by the project instead of by the word is another great way to increase your pay rate, as long as you work efficiently.

As a side note to negotiating your pay, too many freelancers fall victim to content mill rates. This is because content mill work is the easiest to get as a freelancer. However, working for five cents a word won’t get you anywhere fast. It probably won’t even pay the bills. Some people use content mills as a way to fill in the gaps between better paying clients, but you’re better off spending your time looking for new clients. I really wish more people would think this way so that content mills would go out of business.

7. Money Management Isn’t One of Your Strengths

Being a freelancer means that you run your own business. This requires strong money management skills because you won’t have a steady paycheck. As a matter of fact, your paychecks can be drastically different from one month to the next. I once had a month where I made $4,000 and then the very next month I only made $500. If you want consistency, freelancing is not for you.

Too many people leave their full-time job for the freelance life before considering everything involved. Freelancing does not work for everyone and not everyone can make enough money doing it. It’s best to start out on a part-time basis to determine if it’s right for you before jumping completely in. Also, make sure your savings is built up before you start to help you through the first few rocky months.

8.  Being Alone Bothers You

For the most part, freelancing is solitary work. Sure, there is the occasional phone call or face-to-face meeting with clients, but you don’t truly have coworkers or anyone you can talk to about work on a daily basis. Some people thrive in this type of environment while others go crazy. If you can’t stand to be by yourself all the time, freelancing isn’t for you.

For me, I go through bouts of loneliness, but this is only when I’ve been isolated from friends and family for a while. As long as I can get out and have fun with people on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, working at home doesn’t bother me. I actually didn’t experience any loneliness until I had been freelancing for about a year. Of course, I had some stressful things happening in my life at that time that also could have contributed to it.

If you’re worried about loneliness, you should avoid freelancing or be sure you know how to cope with it. There are ways to get around it. For instance, you can go to a public place to work, such as a library, café, or park. You can also make friends with other freelancers in your community or online and stay connected.

Freelancing is the ultimate job for flexibility, but it is not easy, especially at the beginning when you’re building your client base. You need confidence, determination, talent, and professionalism to thrive in the freelance world. You can make it happen if you really want to, especially if you’re able to overcome the problems with freelancing mentioned in this article.

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