Crafting your best home office
One of the best things about freelancing is choosing your workspace. That freedom, combined with technological innovation, allows freelancers to work wherever they please. Given that I’m what you’d call a homebody or an introvert, I often choose to work from home.
And while working in your pajamas is one of the best feelings ever, it’s easy to get off track very quickly. (I need to wash dishes, do laundry, check social media incessantly and other menial tasks that have nothing to do with work.) Having the right workspace can helps me combat those distractions and make the most of my day. Here are some things to consider when thinking about your office.
Cost: If can foot the bill for a co-working space, it’s an alternative to working at home. Some people thrive more in the company of others. (Here’s a round of great co-working spaces in Chicago, according to Built in Chicago). As I mentioned in a previous post on saving money, working at your local library is a cheaper option. You can step out of the house without the fees for co-working offices. I prefer my workspace at home, because I can control my lighting, play music, and hold interviews mostly without interruptions.
Peace: In order to get stuff done, I have to have a nearly quiet work environment. Working with classical music helps me de-stress. When working from home, find a place that’s very quiet, so that you don’t worry about having loud noises in my recorded interviews. Also, I strongly recommend getting a good pair of headphones. Now that there’s construction happening in my neighborhood, my Bose noise-cancelling headphones are the best for tuning out city noise and concentrating on work.
Organization: After my second story was published in The New York Times, I bought a file cabinet and a bunch of folders, because my clutter was impacting my stress and productivity. (I have a tendency to misplace things, so you can imagine what it’s like with a bunch of files that accumulate over time.) Oddly enough, I had a lot of fun sorting all my research, business files and clips into different colored folders. And I felt really good looking at how well-organized my space is. I got my file cabinet from Office Depot. Also, I used to get annoyed when I couldn’t find a pen in my desk drawer, but I ordered a pencil cup from Office Depot that holds all my writing utensils in one place. Crisis averted!
Desk and chair: It seems really basic, but make sure your desk is the right height and length. Make sure it’s tall enough for you to type comfortably. You’re going to be sitting in your chair for hours at a time unless you’re out on assignment. Invest in a good chair that supports your back, and look for discounts on high-quality chairs. Your body will thank you later.
Desk accessories: If you’re working from home, decorate your space in a way that motivates you and makes you happy. I poster on my wall that reads, “Be gentle on yourself. You’re doing the best you can.” I also have Snoopy from Peanuts, because how can you not like him!
Freelancing means working how and where you want. What are some of your workplace must-haves? Leave a comment or send a note: firstname.lastname@example.org