5 Tips for Creating a Distraction-Free Freelance Workspace

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If you’ve ever tried searching for stock photos of freelancers, you can see that they perpetuate the belief that freelance workers tend to hang out in coffee shops, on the beach, or in the park while they get their work done. Although the flexibility of being a freelancer is a huge benefit for many people and sometimes freelancers do take advantage of not-so-typical workspaces, any freelancer can tell you that more often than not, they’re working from home. (Also – don’t take a laptop out on the beach. Sand + keys = bad news.)

Your home is the place you reside, your nest, your comfortable place. It houses all your possessions and passions. So, when it’s time to get down to work, how can you ignore all that your home has to offer and get in the mindset to be productive? You have to free your home workspace of all distractions. Here’s some tips to help make your home office the disruption-free haven you’ve been wanting.

  1. Have a space dedicated to work
    It may be tempting to lay on the couch and watch TV or sit in bed while you get your work done. Being comfortable is important, but these environments offer too much distraction and not enough separation from the rest of your comfortable, at-home life. If it’s possible, set up your home office in a completely separate room so there will be a physical barrier between yourself and distractions in other rooms. If that’s not possible, pick a quiet corner and set up a make-shift barrier, such as a bookshelf, to remove your space from the rest of the room. Having this separate space will help you convince yourself that it’s time to work, not distract yourself with other things.  
     
  2. Make it your own
    Your workspace should be a place you want to spend time in. So, you should make it feel comfortable and have it nicely decorated. Pick a comfy office chair, buy a few house plants, and put some art on the walls. These things shouldn’t be loud, bright, or overwhelming, but just aesthetically pleasing and comfortable enough that you enjoy spending time in your workspace.
     
  3. Keep your desk tidy
    This is just common sense: your workspace will feel more organized if it isn’t cluttered. Take a few minutes before you start your workday to clear your desk of any clutter and distractions. File papers away, take the dirty coffee mugs to the kitchen, and put away the separate project you’ve been working on. When nothing but the task at hand is in front of you, you’ll have an easier time focusing your energy on just that.
     
  4. Create itemized to-do lists
    Many people who find to-do lists ineffective are really just creating ineffective to-do lists. Start your day by taking the item to create an itemized list of things you actually need/want to achieve that day. It should be very task-specific, not just general goals and should focus on things you really need to do. Do it old-school with pen and paper so you can cross items off as you’ve achieved them. It’s very gratifying. Having a system for getting things done will help you steer clear of distractions.
     
  5. Take meaningful breaks
    People tend to focus better when they give themselves a break every once in a while. This doesn’t mean just mindlessly scrolling through social media, however. Stand up from your chair, stretch a little bit, maybe walk outside or get a drink of water. Let your brain be free of anything work or stress related. Play with a pet for a few minutes, read a chapter of a book, or listen to your favorite song. A break should be a break. Don’t try to be productive during it. Purposefully taking scheduled, meaningful breaks will have you feeling rested and ready to be productive when it’s time to work.

If you are working from home as a freelancer, it’s important to set up some sort of office that will assist you, not hinder you, in having a distraction-free workplace. Make it some place you want to work and keep it tidy. When it’s time to work, have specific lists and goals for the day and remember to take a break every once in a while. This combination will allow you to have a workplace free from any commotion or interruption.

5 Freelancing Aspects Important to Both Companies and Freelancers

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Negotiating a freelance agreement can be a difficult thing for both parties. Typically, the negotiation involves a lot of mundane details that take a while to figure out. Everybody just wants to get started on the work and get the new project underway. However, there are a couple things that both companies and freelancers need to keep in mind when starting a new project and developing a new relationship. By paying careful attention to these aspects, both parties can assure that a freelancing agreement goes smoothly.

1. Contracts
Both parties (companies and freelancers) should find it necessary to sign a contract. A contract is the easiest way to ensure that both parties agree and will get what they want out of the agreement. Developing a contract will help to outline payment, deadlines, and deliverables. If an aspect of a project is discussed, put it in the contract. Do not just rely on a verbal agreement. If you’re unsure how to draw up a contract, there are many examples of blank ones online. Feel free to use those and personalize to fit the situation.

2. Payment Agreements
A payment agreement should be outlined in the contract, but it’s also important to note that different kinds of payment agreements suit different situations more appropriately. Sometimes, it makes sense for a freelancer to be paid hourly. Other times, a down payment with additional payment installations will suit both parties better. Be honest and open in your communication about payment to best suit both parties. Typically, one payment agreement to avoid is where the freelancer gets the full payment after the project has been completed, especially if it is a long project. It’s generally more appropriate to make a small down payment as a sign of good faith.

3. Communication
Clear and succinct communication is important to any freelancing/company agreement. Both parties are likely very busy and want to get their message across in the shortest and most effective way possible. Because of this, it’s important to outline clear communication guidelines from the get-go. Discuss what methods of communication both parties prefer. Is email acceptable for most cases, but a phone call is more appropriate for an emergency? Does either party dislike being contacted after normal business hours? Does either party prefer a project management software to communicate and review deliverables? These things should be considered when going over the contract so you can set the stage for the rest of the project.

4. Taxes
Paying taxes as a freelancer can sometimes be difficult. Companies are typically not obligated to take taxes out of your paycheck, so you are responsible for keeping track of and paying your own taxes. Most freelancers prefer to use software or a personal accountant to pay their estimated taxes quarterly so they are not hit with a big tax bill once per year. For companies, it is important to know if the person you are hiring for a project counts as a contractor or freelancer. For a freelancer, you typically don’t have to take out taxes, but you do for a contractor. Consult your company’s HR department and be sure you have all your ducks in a row before moving forward with a contractual agreement. Nobody likes feeding with the tax man!

5. Developing a Relationship
In the freelancing world, it’s very common for a freelancer and a company to cultivate a great working relationship. This way, communications and expectations stay consistent throughout projects. Cultivating this relationship takes time and effort from both parties. If a freelancer has enjoyed working for a company, he/she should mention that they would love to complete more projects for them in the future. If a company enjoys working with a certain freelancer, they should keep a file on them and next time a related project comes up, contact that freelancer to see if they are available. This way, both the company and the freelancer can work with people they enjoy and have a great experience.

When arranging a new freelancing agreement, it’s important for both companies and freelancers to pay close attention during the negotiating process. This is the best way to ensure that everyone gets what they want out of a project. Contracts, payment agreements, communication, and taxes are aspects of a freelancing agreement that both parties should consider carefully so that everyone is happy and a positive working relationship can blossom in the future.

The Freelance Economy: There's a Better Way to Do This

If you are a full-time freelancer, the moment between “gigs” can be heart stopping. Not only wondering where the next paycheck may come from, but struggling to find a way to reach out to companies looking for longer term, higher paying commitments can be virtually impossible. Current online job platforms are failing to meet the specialized needs of full-time freelancers, and there are limited options for companies who are looking for top design and tech talent. Both companies and freelancers need a better way to grow their business.

We listened.

We built the platform you’ve been looking for.

Workdesq introduces full-time freelancers to the companies that hire them. Freelance users can seek introductions to future clients, and through the Workdesq site, can gain access to open opportunities with Company Clients who post on the platform. These companies are looking for longer term commitments (typically 3-6 month engagements), so they can leave the “gig” culture behind and focus on rewarding jobs with companies who value their time and work.

Workdesq introduces companies to full time freelancers, and gives them the opportunity to build their prospect bench for future project needs. Through the Workdesq platform, companies can rely on high quality introductions, as well as a secure way to communicate with prospects and peers.

 And coming soon…

Workdesq will give Coworking spaces and their tenants the tools to seek introductions to new and future clients, with access to the Workdesq platform as a benefit of tenant membership.

If you are a freelancer looking for high quality, long term opportunities, or a company looking for a secure avenue to search for and communicate with future prospects, get more information today!