How To Be Productive When Your Office Is Your Couch

As a freelancer, I’ve spent countless hours working from home, and I know firsthand how challenging it can be to stay productive when your office is your couch. From household chores to kids to pets, the distractions are plenty. However, I found that with a little planning, it’s easy to stay focused and get the most out of your workday.

1. About comfort – One of the best perks of working from home is that you can wear whatever you want. However, it’s important to find a balance between comfort and productivity. From my experience, clothes that are comfortable but not too casual help you get into work mode quicker. I switched from pajamas to casual wear and quickly realized it has an immediate impact on the type of day you have! Don’t let your brain think that you’re lounging on the couch all day because that’s what you’ll end up doing.

2. About the work environment – When your office is your couch, it’s important to create a work environment that is conducive to productivity. Make sure you have a comfortable chair, good lighting, and a clean workspace. This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions. I like to place all the hardware, stationery and other items I need in one convenient place for quick and easy access.

3. About technology – There has been no better time to be a freelancer! Use technology to your advantage. Online tools can help you organize, multi-task, and be at your highest productivity level with a few clicks of a button! Of course it depends on your budget, but there are plenty of free versions that can assist with the basics while you focus on more important tasks. I’ll be doing a separate article on this but some of the best tools I’ve used include Metricool & Buffer for scheduling social media posts, Calendly for scheduling and booking online meetings (including interviews), Grammarly for content improvisation, Mailchimp for email marketing and all hail for Chat GPT for content ideas and outlines.

4. About routine – One of the biggest challenges of working from home is that there are no set start and end times. It may be Freelancing 101 but it has to be repeated! To stay productive, it’s important to create a routine. Set a time to wake up, eat breakfast, and start working. This also helps you to set aside time to practice self-care (which tends to be neglected whether you’re working from home or a regular 9-5). I usually start my day off with yoga, and on the days that I don’t, the day is usually less productive. As a lazy person in general, I sometimes even have to fight my brain to do a 10-minute session, but I’m always happier when I do it than when I don’t. The brain – a weird thing, convinces you to not do something it knows is good for you! But routine helps to rewire that thought process!

5. About performance – Identify the time of the day when you are at peak performance. Just like TV has prime time, there is also a certain time frame when you are at your best. You can concentrate the most, be able to work faster and more efficiently, and produce better results during these hours. Do yourself a favor and make the most out of your prime time and work into overdrive. I usually allocate the most difficult tasks of the day for this time and anything that requires less attention is moved to other times of the day. Lists and prioritization are the keys to staying on track!

6. About breaks – Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should be working all the time. Sure, you save time on commuting which means you can get more done, but taking breaks is important for both your physical and mental health. Go for a walk, do some yoga, or just take a break to read a book. Getting up and stretching regularly does less of pulling you away from work and more of relieving stress on your body and mind. With fewer distress signals to bother it, your brain can become more efficient than it could have if you just slogged through the aches. This will help you stay energized and focused throughout the day. I found the trick is to pause your work in a way that you will find it easy to resume.

7. About stagnation – Working and living in the same location can drive someone mad. And that is the most common problem that home-based workers face on a daily basis which is often bad for productivity. The best way to address this problem is to change the scenery. Get out of the house and find a nice place to work in. It could be the garden or balcony, a coffee shop, or even a library. And, if you’re limited to your house, don’t underestimate the energies that different rooms provide.

As a freelancer for the past 3 years, I can’t say I’ve missed working in an office environment much at all, except for the lack of social interactions. I love working from the couch as do millions of freelancers around the world. It’s the sense of autonomy is that drives us!

Would you like to be a freelancer and work from your couch too? Join Job Guru Africa and list your profile today!

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