On being motivated as a freelancer

Being at work, when you’re an employee, is easy because if you’re not in at a certain time and spend the required amount hours at your desk, the company powers that be will come down on you – hard.

Being a freelancer, and working from home (as most of us do), you don’t have a manager or company head watching your every move and making sure that you arrive at work on time. Although there is the freedom of being able to catch an extra hour sleep which, I must admit, is intoxicating, you still do need to be productive and provide stellar service to your clients. Your reputation depends on it. But how is it possible to motivate yourself to get up and be productive in the comfort of your own home?

I’ve long struggled with this conundrum – I’d challenge any freelancer who hasn’t – and I’m still trying to find a tried-and-trusted way of getting myself motivated easily. I must admit: it isn’t easy but here are a few ways that I’ve found to work:

1. Don’t work anywhere NEAR your bed

Our house gets the morning sun so after lunch, I find myself turning on the lights as the gloominess makes it difficult to work effectively. On one afternoon last week, we had load shedding and, as our bedroom is the best-lit room of the house in the afternoon, I decided to take some of my reading for law school and lie down while I read. This was a big mistake as after 10 minutes I was fast asleep! Designate a room in your house as your work area and make sure that the environment in this area is conducive to work: try to keep it as neat as possible and don’t put anything in it that will distract you.

2. Get dressed for work

Many freelancers function successfully in their pyjamas and are able to maintain a focused mindset. However, if you’re anything like me, working in your pyjamas is a kiss of death as I don’t feel that I’m in the right mindset to work and accomplish what I need to that day. I’m not saying that you have to sit at your desk in a three-piece suit but when you get up in the morning, get dressed so that you find yourself mentally geared up to work.

3. Let the creative juices flow

On the days when I need to be creative but the words just don’t flow, the first thing I do is head off to gym. An hour or so pounding it out on the treadmill makes my creative juices run like an overflowing river!

What keeps you motivated? Leave your comments below – I’d love to chat about this subject.