We all dream of having the freedom to work when we want and where we want, but did you know that you could easily make that a reality by working from home?
Over 57-million people in the United States are part of the growing gig economy. This means taking short-term, remote jobs, and working as a freelancer or an independent contractor.
With the flexibility that this type of work offers, many people are choosing to work in the gig economy alongside their regular career. But how do you manage your workload and life when working as a freelancer?
Here are seven tips for starting remote jobs on the side of your current career.
1. Build a Support Network
For many workers, remote working can increase levels of productivity. For many, this increased productivity is because there are fewer distractions from co-workers. For other workers, working from home can be a very isolating experience.
If you’re working remotely for a big organization, chances are they have something in place to connect with their workforce. This might be a communication tool such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts.
Often, you can use these tools to keep in touch with other workers- even if it’s not entirely work-related. For example, an organization may have Slack channels for work and separate channels for socializing.
Don’t be afraid to join in on social channels. Build up a network by breaking the ice over memes and cat pictures.
Having connections with other workers in the same role as you can be very helpful for keeping isolation at bay.
2. Plan Your Time
Unlike when you may have worked in a regular career, when you’re working remotely there isn’t likely to be anyone checking up on you and making sure that you’re getting the work done on time. This is especially true if you’re working as a freelancer.
Without the nine-to-five structure that you’d usually be working, it can be very easy to get off track and lose control of your workload.
Create a schedule of work. Start each day by writing a to-do list. Make sure you are realistic about how long each task will take you. Prioritize the most important jobs and work down to the least important.
If there are deadlines for the work, make sure you complete the tasks in the order that they’re needed. If you need to, set alarm clocks and reminders.
3. Don’t Panic
When you first start off in a remote job, it can seem exciting and overwhelming all at once. You’ll feel a wide range of emotions around your new career.
Don’t panic. You may feel as though you’re all alone in this situation because there is nobody else working near you.
You’re not alone. If you’re feeling imposter syndrome, or that you’re not going to be able to do the job, reach out to other remote workers on whatever channel is available.
Find support from online forums or remote working Facebook groups.
If you have any genuine concerns or you’re unsure about anything you’ve been asked to do, ask your client or employer.
Try and remain calm as best as possible. Meditating for a few minutes each day could be helpful to help you with your stress levels.
4. Update Your Laptop
Your laptop is about to become your most precious tool. You should do everything possible to make sure it is in an optimal condition at all times. This means carrying out that mac operating system update that you keep putting off doing.
Make sure that you have good antivirus and firewall protection and carry out regular software updates.
Use cloud-based software wherever possible. That way, if your computer crashes or breaks down, you’ll not lose any of your valuable work.
5. Stay Focused
It can be hard to stay focused when you’re working from home. There are likely to be plenty of different things around your home that could potentially distract you.
Learn to stay focused as much as possible. Be strict with yourself about the time that you spend working and commit to it.
Work out what distracts you most and remove the temptation from your working space.
6. Take Breaks
Working on your own can be quite intense. Without the distraction of other people around you, you can be far more productive. However, spending all of your time sat at your desk is not good for you.
Take breaks from time-to-time even if you’re just walking to another room to fetch a drink. Take a lunch break. Go outside for a walk if you can.
Taking breaks is essential- as is getting some exercise.
7. Set Work/ Life Boundaries
Even if you’ve never been a workaholic, it can be easy to slip into a habit whereby you spend all of your time at home working. Without a clear division between your working time and your relaxing time, you could see yourself on a course for burn-out.
Set clear boundaries about the hours that you are going to spend working and then confine all of your work to those specific hours.
Having a separate space in your home where you’ll work will also help you to mark out the difference between work and relaxation.
If you use a work email address on your phone, make sure you set up your email client to only download messages during your set working hours. Don’t be tempted to check your emails when you’re not working- it’s a slippery slope.
Let those you work with know what hours you plan on working. You can also mute conversations on apps such as Slack so that you’re not reminded about work when you’re off.
Starting Remote Jobs Can Take Getting Used To
When you’re starting remote jobs, it can be daunting. Creating a schedule, separating your work and home life, and taking regular breaks are all ways that you can make sure you’re firing on all cylinders and really making an impact in your new work-from-home career.
For more great articles, be sure and explore the rest of the site.