How to Stay Productive While Being Remote (From the Mind of a Freelancer)

How to Stay Productive While Being Remote (From the Mind of a Freelancer)

How do you stay productive while doing remote work? This week’s guest post from freelancer Ethan Lichtenberg will walk you through staying productive while being remote.

How to Stay Productive While Being Remote (From the Mind of a Freelancer)From the morning traffic after a massive accident to the gossip that works in the cubicle next to you, the 9-5 office life is losing its appeal. Instead of drinking your cup of joe in the car on the interstate, being a freelancer allows you to enjoy your morning coffee in the neighborhood cafe. 

The mental stress of a “regular” job is not what everyone wants anymore. Working remotely is now entirely possible for millions of people in the country. Freelancing in 2019 is becoming a true way to pay the bills. Now that work can be done on a laptop, tablet, or even a cell phone, freelance work is more common than ever.

But working from home is a dream until you stop becoming productive. When you have a television, the internet, a Retriever that needs a walk, a toddler that needs changing, or a coffee that needs drinking, it can seem like there is no way to get the work done from home. If you are a freelancer working from the comfort of your home, you know how difficult it can be to keep your work flowing at the proper pace. If you aren’t a remote worker yet, there are thousands of jobs out there that will let you work from home.

There are ways everybody copes with the issues of getting work done at the office. But sometimes sitting down and getting back to work while you’re at home seems like an impossible task. Here are some keys (from a freelancer to a freelancer) to staying productive while working remotely. 

Pretend You’re Still Going to Work

The best way to battle the lack of productivity while working remotely is pretending that you’re still going to work. It’s easier than you may think to make your home feel like an office. 

Start off by waking up at the same time every day. That way you’ll think of yourself as early or late when you clock in. Doing this can get you in a routine that feels like you’re about to head out to the office. 

late work GIF

Then, make sure you clock in and out at the same time every day. Creating an artificial workplace can create a rhythm that will turn into a habit, making your work more productive than ever. 

Try setting up a modified desk or work area. Sit at the same spot every day and make it your place to stay when work needs to be done. It can also make you feel like you aren’t stuck in your own home. 

The worst feeling is having your significant other come home from a long day of work, and you are ready to leave the house because you’ve felt stuck all day. To avoid that feeling of making your home a workplace, designate one area that is only for working. 

Another tip, dress up in business clothes, or at least business casual. Mentally, you’ll start thinking to yourself that you didn’t put clothes on to not be productive.

Move Around

Two perks of office life are the ability to move around, and the ability to have human contact. Working remotely can become the loneliest thing on the planet if you let it. Humans crave connection. We’re social creatures. It is an instinct to want to talk and be around other people. Freelance work can eliminate you ever having to see anyone again. 

To combat being alone and not being productive, move around. Go for a walk through the neighborhood and say hello to the roofers atop the next house. Make small talk with the landscaper, or shake the mailman’s hand. Move around whenever you feel yourself getting in a funk. 

How to Stay Productive While Being Remote (From the Mind of a Freelancer)

Hit the Coffee Shop

By far, the easiest way to keep productive while being remote is to visit a coffee shop or a bookstore. The vibes a coffee shop or a quaint southern book store give off are something you cannot recreate at home. From the calming folk music to the smell of a dark roast, there is no better way to create a new environment to work. 

Try only working from coffee shops or cafes. This can eliminate many problems freelancers face at home. Productivity will increase when you’re able to see others working and feel as though you’re at the workplace. Loneliness will not take a toll since you’ll be able to talk and interact with others. The monotony of making your home the dreaded workplace will be no more. Strictly working from coffee shops can be a freelancer’s best friend. 

Listen to Music/Podcasts

Music is scientifically proven to make your brain happier and work harder. Johns Hopkins Medicine has discovered that music can “reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.” All of those benefits can improve your work. Productivity from music will begin to translate to producing better quality work and getting more job done. 

Try finding a new podcast or a new playlist that makes your brain and soul happier. With your mood lifted, work will become easier. You will fall back into a rhythm and begin to knock work out like crazy. 

flexible mad men GIF

Minimize Distractions

Distractions are the number one cause of no work getting done. Trust me, there are a thousand other things to do before work when you’re a freelancer. Sometimes cleaning the house and doing the dishes sounds better than sitting down and getting the job done. With endless distractions at your disposal, work becomes complicated. So, do your best to minimize distractions. 

It’s okay to take breaks, but shut off the T.V., put your phone in another room, and don’t open more tabs to go online shopping. 

Take Breaks

As previously mentioned, breaks can be a great thing. Even at the typical 9-5 job, a walk around the building is encouraged by many companies. Take 30 minutes to watch your favorite sitcom, go outside and breath in the fresh air, or take the car for a drive. You may be jammed for time, but a short break can make your brain work faster in the long run.

In Conclusion…

Freelance work can be the best thing for someone tired of the same thing day in and day out. It’s also a growing way to work.

Many companies are transitioning to being completely remote, and are becoming more successful by doing so. Yes, the T.V., ice cream, and a hundred other distractions are at your fingertips, but work can be better when you’re at home. So use these tips to stay productive and keep the juices flowing.


Ethan Lichtenberg is a writer for He enjoys reading Paulo Coelho books and taking his French Bulldog on car rides.

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