Blurb from the author: Working from home sounds a lot looser than it is. What I expected was a casual routine, so doing my work comfortably from my bed wasn't at all.
Curious to see how the experts have managed to do this so far, I turned to Malaysians who have practiced this to the tee.
I managed to get the opinion of 7 established freelancers and home businesses that operate in different industries, from visual design to technical writing, electronics to wedding desserts.
Get (digital) help
In order to stay on the right track with my tasks, I stumbled a bit at work from home.
This was confusing at first because basically I still had access to the same resources, documents, etc. when I was working in an office room, so why did I have problems?
After thinking about it, the answer hit me.
This way I struggle a bit with independence, considering how familiar I am with bouncing ideas off my editor and getting things done in real time. When the time came for me to set myself mini goals, I got stuck.
We had a schedule to ourselves, even if we were working from home, but I soon realized that I needed something else that I could use to do the smaller things.
Almost all of the freelancers we spoke to told us they were dependent on some type Productivity management tool to survive the day.
Some common answers were:
- Pomodoro Tracker – A timer that urges you to work at 25-minute intervals before taking a short break. According to experts, this increases productivity.
- Toggl – Time log tracker that lets you see how much time you spend on a task.
- Freedcamp & Asana – Project management apps that work best when you have trouble tracking the progress of multiple tasks at the same time.
Personally, I use my own Trello board to stay organized. Not the ones I use at work, but my own.
That way, I can focus a lot more on micro tasks that need to be done.
While tasks don't necessarily have to be done with strict discipline, they do important to be consistent.
Just ask Ellia, who, even though she only dived freelance less than a year ago, understands that progress can only be made if you have a good schedule for yourself.
"I don't wake up at a specific time, like I used to do when I had an office job, but whenever I wake up (even if it's 1 p.m.), I start my day and follow a 'not strict' # 39 Routine, but it's still consistent, ”she said.
Watch out for the burnout
Just because you are at home most of the time does not mean that you have a good work-life balance.
Kenny Lee is a freelance electronics designer who has become a copywriter and has been working from home for over 8 years.
Kenny attaches great importance to his work-life balance / Photo credit: Kenny Lee
He said that there is a time when it is difficult to separate from work. "If you're a workaholic, there can be overwork if you don't have the physical separation that comes with commuting from the office."
If you try to prove to your employer that you are actually working and not playing around, you may even be unable to finish your job from home.
“At some point you may have the feeling that your days are going very quickly. If you move work closer to home, your days will seem to pass even faster – which may be due to the shortening of your “work, eat, sleep, and repeat” cycle, ”said Khai Yong, a digital marketer who has been working from home for about a year.
To make everyday life stress-free, Khai Yong insisted that there is nothing better than stay physically active. "I am an active person, so I exercise regularly or go to the gym to distract myself from work."
With the motion control regulation, we can still get the most out of our free time at home by following home exercise routines that sometimes don't even require fancy equipment.
May, a freelance graphic designer and art director, is somewhat stricter in how she differentiates her work hours from rest times because she works closely with clients.
May lives from her unique artwork / Image Credit: @thisisiammay
"There is always a limit to everything, including work. Always set a switch-off time. If not, the customer can take full advantage of you, ”she explained.
This also applies to employees who work from home.
Your employer and you should make an agreement that despite the technical fact that you are practically always at work, there is no excuse to check in late in the evening or after you check out.
Of course it falls on your shoulders Communicate your results and tasks clearly and effectivelySo there are no misunderstandings on either side.
Another piece of advice to avoid this situation is too Never do your work comfortably from your bed.
Not only does this make you feel lazy and unmotivated to get something done, it can also make it more difficult to fall asleep at night when your brain begins to map your bed as a work area.
Hello darkness my old friend
I can't refer to being lonely (there are 5 people who bother me at home all the time), but that doesn't apply to some freelancers.
Mae Tan, owner of BITTER / SWEET, a cake shop for newlyweds, also felt the pain of loneliness after a while.
Mae runs her own cake shop from home / Photo credit: Mae Tan & BITTER / SWEET
"It was not only lonely, but also unhealthy. At some point I lost all social skills and preferred to stay for myself," she admitted.
Mae often attributed her loneliness and burnout to poor time management.
"But over time I started to see the impact and impact this had on my life, and I knew I had to change something."
Armed with a stronger sense of discipline, Mae advised us that you should be able with adequate time management Take more time for friends and family as well as Balance between work and social responsibility so that the isolation in the workplace is not too bearable.
Through freelance work, the writer Farah was able to spend more time reconnecting with the family over lunch or tea.
"I have always kept my social life separate from work. Even Have friends outside of the organization helps, ”she continued.
For someone like Liew (who has 15 solid years as a tech blogger and 3 more years as a web developer) it's really about perspective.
Liew is also familiar with WordPress / Image Credit: Liew CheonFong
"I'm not a sociable person, so I don't feel lonely when I work from home. I can communicate with family and friends online," he continued.
Isolation at work may not affect everyone, but for those who do (and don't have the luxury of being constantly surrounded by people), this is a good idea Also inform yourself informally from colleagues.
Even if it's just a short 5-minute call on the state of affairs at home or an occasional zoom session once a week, there's no rule in talking to your colleagues about non-work-related things.
Bottom line: Working from home was exciting for me at first, but it also has its own challenges. However, I think it's a good way to recover from excessive travel and focus this effort on other areas if used wisely.
- You can read more about other home work we wrote about here.
Selected image source: Khai Yong / Kenny