by Karin Beery
Lots of people dream of working from home – trading in a morning commute for a leisurely stroll to your home office … in your pajamas and slippers. I felt the same way when I started writing full time but it didn’t take long for me to realize the dark side of a home office.
It’s at home.
Do you know what else is at home? Dirty dishes. The laundry basket. The litter box. The television.
As much as I loved not having to scrape off my car and drive through six inches of fresh snow every winter, I found myself writing and editing less when I worked from home than I did when I worked full time and wrote on the side!
What’s a self-employed freelancer to do? Over the years, I read dozens of articles and blog posts about the topic. This person doesn’t check email until after lunch, so I wanted to do it. It didn’t work. That person worked non-stop all morning, so I tried that. It didn’t work for me either. Why?
Because each of us is different, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. What’s a freelancer do?
1. Know when you work best: Are you a morning person or a night owl? Don’t fight it. Work with it. I work best in the morning and evening, so I do chores and run errands in the afternoon.
2. Know what motivates you: Do you like to play first and work later or bust through a to-do list so you can put your feet up? Can you work with dirty dishes in the sink or do you need to clean those first? I can ignore everything but a dirty kitchen so I clean that every morning.
3. Know how you work best: Can you sit down and write for five hours? Do you need the quiet of the library or the bustle of the coffee shop? Or maybe you prefer to grab a few minutes between other activities? As long as I work in the morning or evening, I can put in several uninterrupted hours at a time.
When you understand these things about yourself, you’ll discover a new level of productivity because you’ll be able to create a home office environment that supports your work habits instead of distracting you from them.
I thought I needed to follow the experts’ “best practices,” but what I really needed was to discover my own best practices. Figure out what works best for you, then get to work!
Karin Beery writes contemporary fiction with a healthy dose of romance. Represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media, her debut novel, Summer Plans and Other Disasters, releases September 15, 2018 through Elk Lake Publishing.
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s either editing novels at Write Now Editing or teaching others how to edit through the PEN Institute. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.