Latest posts by Kelsey Morgan (see all)
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Just as an artist needs their studio, a doctor needs their office, and a teacher needs their desk, freelance writers need a place to reign in their creative tendencies in order to most effectively put them on paper — or, well, into the keyboard, unless you’re an old school pen-and-paper kind of girl. Designing a freelance workspace that works for you is paramount.
Between where you live, where you set up your workspace, and even the colors of the walls around you, so many things in your surroundings can have an effect on the way you work and how well you work, all of it based in psychology, or even just common sense.
Whether you’re a newbie barely getting your foot through the door or a freelancing veteran feeling stuck in a rut, I invite you to try out a few of these things to see if they make a difference in your workflow, your productivity, or even just in your mood!
1. Location (Location, Location)
First and foremost: your bed is not your workspace! Despite its soft pillows and warm embrace, if you’re anything like me, lying in bed will only make you want to either fall back asleep, or spend the afternoon re-watching your favorites shows on Netflix.
Instead, get out of bed, get dressed, put on some makeup if that’s your thing, and remove yourself from the siren’s call of your warm comforter.
To be most productive as someone who works from home, your best bet is to set up a desk in a completely different room. If that’s not possible, at least dedicate a corner of your bedroom that’s solely for work. All work and no play makes you a productive blogger.
While this might not be ideal for every situation, the main idea is that you’re able to leave work at “the office” once you’re finished for the day. This allows for a better distinction between your work life and personal life, so the two don’t get mixed up and overlap so much that soon you couldn’t even tell the difference!
Some freelancers may thrive working away from home in the first place. Maybe coffee shops are too busy, libraries are too quiet, but you crave social interaction on the daily other than with those people on your computer screen — if that’s the case, from the work-from-home gods has come a little thing called co-working. Co-working is essentially an independent form of the “open office” type spaces you see utilized by companies like Google and Millennial startups, but instead, everyone working around you is a freelancer in their own right. Rather than working together for the same company, everyone just goes about with their own tasks, but with a little added humanity (and free snacks).
2. Interior (A Trip to the Paint-Swatch Aisle)
Describe your ideal outdoor adventure.
Okay. Did it, at any point, include a warm, sunlit day on the beach? In the mountains? Maybe out in the countryside? If so, there’s good reason for it — sunshine makes you happy!
Not only that, a boost of bright vitamin D is also known to bolster creativity, which in turn bolsters productivity. Strive to avoid isolating yourself in a room with few windows — both as a good career move, and an overall good mental health move. When choosing a location for your home office or freelance workspace, do what you can to make sure you have a face full of sunlight and vitamin D throughout the day in order to not only boost your creativity, but also clear your head while writing!
Another thing to keep in mind: your interior design, particularly the psychology of color and how it affects your creative process. Choose colors, furniture, and wall hangings that soothe your anxieties that come naturally with being a freelance writer — though also keep in mind, these colors might differ among different people. While some might find a comforting powder blue better increases their blogging efficiency, others might be more energized by hot pink. Know yourself and your own preferences, and put them into play!
You might also consider a few other mood-boosters like becoming a plant-mom and inviting the good, green energies of an indoor garden to fill every nook and cranny of your home. After all, indoor plants are also said to make you happier! There’s also the ever-popular feng shui furniture organization techniques, though if you’ve managed to find a corner of the room where all you see is the sunlight anyway, perhaps save that aspect of your home for when you’ve “left the office.”
3. Schedule (Take your breaks!)
Just like you wouldn’t stay at the office all day, every day, you shouldn’t be dedicating all of your time to freelancing or blogging either. And, just like you wouldn’t sit at your desk all day at the office (hopefully!), you should be getting up from your own freelance workspace to move around, take breaks, and stretch your legs, even while working from home. In fact, if you’ve been looking for a reason to spend less time clocked in, a study published by Ohio University found that limiting yourself to 6-hour workdays is actually more beneficial to your overall performance. Long hours do not always equal productive hours, especially if they’re spent tired, drained, and wading through brain fog.
Most importantly, give yourself weekends off to reset your creative clock! This means no checking business emails, no writing, no outreaching, no new blog posts — unless, of course, creating new blog content is akin to a vacation in your own mind.
Being creative 24/7 isn’t feasible, and you’ll burn out easier if you never take a step back. Ignore that itching of your brain begging to write up something new, and put it off until Monday. Take some time to catch up on your favorite TV show, go out with friends, or spend some time volunteering in the community.
If you’re always working, writing, blogging, networking, and never give your brain a chance to rest, you’re more likely to crash and need a whole week off, rather than just the two regular days of the weekend. It’s just like when you injure yourself working out — rather than “pushing through the pain” and only injuring yourself further, it’s so much more beneficial to just take a breather and let your body heal itself. In this case, it’s your brain that needs the healing.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at it for years or just barely realized freelance writing and blogging have the potential of being a totally profitable career move, there are so many things you can change up in your surroundings and lifestyle in order to not only fine-tune the creative centers of your brain, but to also keep yourself chugging along with no unexpected hiccups. So pull out your desk chair, bask in the surrounding hot pink walls, soak up the sun, and get to work in your consciously crafted freelance workspace!