The Home Office Survival Guide: How to Avoid Going Stir-Crazy

11 May 2023

As a freelancer, I’ve spent years working from home. Before the pandemic, my friends would often envy my “lifestyle.” They’d picture me sleeping in until noon, sipping coffee in my pajamas, and occasionally typing a few words on my laptop.

But the truth is, freelancing isn’t always glamorous. It’s a constant hustle to find work, manage clients, and keep up with deadlines. And with the pandemic forcing millions of people to work from home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, isolated, and downright stir-crazy.

That’s why I’ve put together this Home Office Survival Guide. These are the tips and tricks that have kept me sane and productive throughout my years of freelancing.

Set a Schedule

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to blur the line between work and play. But trust me, you don’t want to end up working 24/7. That’s a surefire way to burn out.

Instead, set a schedule and stick to it. Designate specific hours for work, and make sure to take breaks throughout the day. It’s also important to have a clear end time so that you can switch off and enjoy your evening.

Dress for Success

I know, I know. The allure of working in your pajamas is hard to resist. But trust me, it’s not doing you any favors. When you’re dressed in professional clothes, you feel more confident and productive. Plus, it’s a good way to signal to your brain that it’s time to work.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie. But at least change out of those sweatpants. And hey, if you want to wear a fancy shirt and pajama pants, I won’t judge.

Find a Dedicated Workspace

Working from your couch might seem cozy, but it’s not the best way to be productive. Instead, find a dedicated workspace where you can focus on your work.

Ideally, this should be a separate room with a desk and comfortable chair. But if that’s not an option, even a designated corner of your bedroom or living room can work. The key is to have a space that’s exclusively for work so that your brain can switch into “work mode” when you’re there.

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Take Breaks

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get sucked into your work and forget to take breaks. But breaks are important for your productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.

Try to take a 10-15 minute break every hour or two. Use that time to stretch, walk around, or do something that relaxes you. You’ll come back to your work feeling refreshed and energized.

Stay Connected

One of the biggest downsides of working from home is the lack of social interaction. It’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected from the outside world.

That’s why it’s important to make an effort to stay connected with others. Schedule virtual coffee dates with friends, join online communities related to your work, or even just chat with your neighbors (from a safe distance, of course).

Minimize Distractions

When you’re working from home, there are countless distractions that can pull you away from your work. Whether it’s the TV, social media, or household chores, it’s important to minimize these distractions as much as possible.

Try to set boundaries with your family or roommates, so that they know when you’re working and when you’re available. Use apps or browser extensions to block distracting websites during work hours. And if you’re really struggling, try working in a quiet room with the door closed.

Get Outside

Let me tell you when you've been cooped up inside all day long, your brain starts to feel like a hamster wheel spinning out of control. But don't sweat it – the great outdoors is your ticket to freedom! And trust me, even just a few minutes outside can do wonders for your mental and physical health.

So why not mix things up and go for a little stroll around the block, kick back outside and soak up some rays, or just take some big ol' breaths of that sweet sweet oxygen? You'll be surprised at how much clearer and sharper your mind feels after just a quick break outside. And who knows, maybe you'll even make some new furry friends along the way – hello, friendly neighborhood squirrels!

Stay Active

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to become sedentary. But sitting in one position for hours on end can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

Make an effort to stay active throughout the day. Take short walks, stretch regularly, or even invest in a standing desk or exercise ball chair. You’ll feel more energized and productive, and your body will thank you.

Take Advantage of Flexibility

One of the great things about freelancing is the flexibility it provides. You can set your own schedule, work from anywhere, and take breaks whenever you need to.

But with that flexibility comes responsibility. It’s up to you to manage your time and workload effectively. Use your flexibility to your advantage, but don’t let it become a hindrance to your productivity.

Embrace the Ups and Downs

Finally, it’s important to remember that working from home isn’t always easy. There will be days when you feel on top of the world, and days when you can’t seem to get anything done.

Embrace the ups and downs, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that everyone has bad days, and that’s okay. Take a break, do something that makes you happy, and come back to your work with a fresh perspective.

In conclusion, working from home as a freelancer can be both rewarding and challenging. But with a little bit of effort and some self-discipline, it’s possible to avoid going stir-crazy and stay productive and motivated. Set a schedule, find a dedicated workspace, take breaks, stay connected, and don’t forget to get outside and stay active. And above all, be kind to yourself and embrace the ups and downs of freelance life.