Freelance writers are on the rise. There are many reasons why people increasingly opt to work from home. These pressures are often financial, such as the rising cost of fuel or the expense of child care. Sometimes there are more personal reasons such as needing to stay with children or other dependants, a medical condition or dislike for the 9 to 5 routine. Whatever the reason, whether working from home full-time to supplement an income or as a part-time interest, if you are embarking upon home working for the first time, it’s important to set up your work space. From reducing the distractions to putting up whiteboards, there are lots of things to consider when creating your “sacred work space.”
So it’s Easy, Huh?
So you think it’s as easy as sitting down at your PC and tapping at the keyboard for a few hours? Home-working is tough: it takes a lot of self-discipline and a defined structure to make it work. Just think about how easy it was to get distracted back at the office, now add to that the pressures of your home life: the phone rings, the dog barks, you need to do the laundry, the kids need a lift, you get distracted by something on the TV, you make another cup of tea and a friend sends you a text. When will you ever find the time to write?
Zen Work Space: Mind Over Matter
You need to make a definitive work space as this will help you to literally get the peace you need and psychologically prepare you to work. Make sure friends and family appreciate that even though you are at home, you will not be checking your personal phone (except in emergencies) and that you understand that this is work time, not a time for being distracted or doing household chores. If you are called away, keep it short and to the point, just as you would when receiving a personal call in the office.
In an ideal world your home office should be a separate room, it doesn’t matter if this is a spare bedroom or study, so long as you can minimise distractions. If you can’t have a whole room to yourself, choose as quiet a room as possible and make a corner of it your work area.
Back Off – I’m Writing!
Now for the important part: what should this workspace contain? First and foremost you need a desk. The desk is your most important tool and it is also a sacred space: when you are sat at this desk you are working. Tell your friends, your family, yourself and the whole world. The desk must contain only work related materials. A work computer, phone, diary and calendar are the basics.
Inspiration Not Distraction
Next, you need to minimise the distractions around you. If there is a TV in the room, it must be switched off while you are sat at the desk. If at all possible, particularly for creative writers, make sure that things which will inspire you are in your eye-line, rather than things that distract you. A dictionary, thesaurus or set of encyclopaedias are a good start.
Make sure things which will keep you focussed are close at hand too, your work calendar should be hung on the wall above or beside your desk and ideally a clock as you need to learn to use your time as productively as possible. If you are writing a new article set yourself time limits; particularly if you need to use the internet.
Brainstorming: Keep it Fresh
Finally, make sure you have the right materials for brainstorming. If you have the space, a whiteboard is ideal but a selection of pens and a notepad are useful too. If you can, make your work environment as pleasant as possible, add a pot-plant, let in some fresh air and circulate some zingy citrus room fragrances. Make sure you have a good office chair which is comfortable and offers adequate back support.
Once you have set out your ground rules and set up your workspace you will have the basis to build a home-working life that is productive, rather than frustrating.
Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Denna Jones
Article by Chris Hoole
Chris Hoole is a writer who believes that when working from home, you should ensure that you create the perfect work space which will promote productivity. If you are setting up your own home workspace you should research home whiteboards for your brainstorming and scheduling needs?