One of the most cited benefits of being a freelancer or contractor is the opportunity to work from home. Gone are the days of early starts and commuting – instead it’s hello to lazy mornings filled with coffee and the odd break for daytime TV, right? Wrong. Working from home brings many benefits (no office overhead, for example) but also plenty of time-devouring pitfalls. Take our advice and avoid these traps:

  • Lazy Morning Starts

The first hurdle you’ll find when working from home as a freelancer or contractor is the temptation to have the lie-in you feel you’ve earned after all the years working for someone else. Whilst this may occasionally be OK (like on your birthday), it’s a slippery slope towards lazy mornings, low productivity and difficulty in completing jobs. Instead, give yourself a firm start time and stick to it. Start the day with a good breakfast, a browse of your emails or the news, and the right attitude to avoid this pitfall.

  • Working Where You Live

If you’re working from home, you’re obviously ‘working where you live’, but what this really refers to is the need to create your own, separate space to work in. When the line between your living room and your office begins to blur, you’ll find yourself frustrated and stressed – all because there’s seemingly no escape from your workplace. If you don’t have enough room to set up a home office, try just taking up one corner of the living room, but make sure you can put your paperwork and computer away when you’re finished, to stop the constant reminder of things to do. Definitely avoid working in your bedroom – this is your resting place and letting your job invade here will see you trapped in a cycle of working from your bed with restless nights in between!

  • Pets & Children as Spectators

If you’re a parent and it’s the holidays, be sure to keep the kids entertained with a babysitter, activity club or older sibling. If none of these options are available, it may be best to adjust your working week to cater for your children. If they’re in your working space with you, it’s harder to concentrate and they’re not getting the attention they need. Instead, endeavour to work in the evenings and early mornings, giving your family time in the day. For pets, it’s best to simply keep them out of your working space. If you’re missing your dog, take them for a walk when you need a break. If you’re missing your cat, don’t worry: they’re often not missing you back!

  • Working All Hours

Sometimes, the opposite of a lazy morning happens, and freelancers/contractors will find themselves working well into the night, letting their loved ones and sleep suffer. As with your mornings, create a set time by when you aim to finish your work for the day. Going over this time occasionally is acceptable, but don’t go to extremes. Not only do set working times keep you sane, they also help you to manage your time better – a great advantage for when there’ s a lot more work to be done!

Have you recently gone solo? Get in touch with Gorilla Accounting for accountants who care about freelancers and contractors.