How to work from home and still be productive: my little guide

Whether you are a freelancer or you want to work on a personal project, working for yourself is a real chance and a real blessing. I’m totally addicted to it and I can’t see myself going back to work for someone else one day.

I work a lot more than when I was employed, but I feel that there are no limits to what I can accomplish and the field of possibilities seems immense today.

Of course, since you never get anything for nothing, all of this requires a certain amount of discipline, especially when you work from home.

Before, I used to fantasize myself dressed up every day with a champion breakfast at 9 o’clock at the latest and I still find myself in a total pilou look with a cup of cold tea next to the computer while still not having had lunch at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

But I’ve learned from my 9 years of freelancing, so I wanted to give a little insight into what this famous freelance life at home is often like, to flush out the pitfalls that lurk there and to give my best tips for getting by when working alone in your living room!

Little bonus: I recorded a podcast version of this article, to tell you a little more about my life as a freelancer at home, with the little annoyances of the freelance life as a bonus. With the cool intro and outro music : My Home (Mhars) by Apolline Dash

Podcast version of the article

Freelance : tips for online entrepreneurs

Freelancing from home

00:00 / 00:29:12

Freelance work from home: the pitfalls of working alone at home and simple tips to stay efficient and motivated Click to Tweet

What a pleasure it is to work from homeIn

2009 I started working part-time: 3 days in an agency, 2 days at


I was so happy to finally give some time to my personal projects and to be able to create my own little job working on the internet!

And even if I didn’t know yet how I was going to organize myself so that I wouldn’t spend my days watching TV shows under a blanket instead of working, I felt that it was made for me.

I had been dreaming of this little moment of solitary work since the beginning of my career, because I loved it when I was a student.

And today, I still enjoy working from home 2 days a week (the rest of the time I’m at Un beau jour). Taking a break to cuddle the cat at any time, deciding to take a bath to find inspiration in the middle of the afternoon, enjoying my pretty decor while I work, etc…

I love being at home and working there part-time n

has never stopped being a real pleasure. But for that I had to learn to organize myself seriously because in reality it’s not that easy to be completely autonomous!

This is what my 9 years of freelance work from home have taught me!

Pitfalls to avoid with home-based freelancingThe

risks when you work from home on the internet are numerous (beware of the minefield). Here are for me the biggest traps that we all fall into one day.

1 – Working from home on the internet or the temptation not to workThe

first problem but which is quickly not a problem at all: doing something else instead of working. It’s the first thing you think of when you imagine yourself working at home, even though it’s the most benign.

When you’ve spent 4 days doing nothing because you were watching a movie, hanging out on your ex-girlfriends’ facebook feed or doing exciting google searches every 5 minutes, well, you pay for it quickly.

You have a great weekend to finish your work and you watch your friends go out and have fun while you catch up like a brat on a sunday night.

When you’re working on the internet you’re tempted to watch a lot of crap all the time because you don’t have anyone to look over your shoulder. But when you’re working for yourself you can’t talk crap for too long.

So it’s more of a beginner’s mistake afterwards, we know!

Except for projects without deadlines, where it’s much more difficult without a boss to ask you where you stand. It’s easier to put things off until tomorrow and projects that should have taken a month can easily take 3 months. For that you need an iron organization!

2 – De-motivation due to lonelinessI

remember that there were a lot of colleagues who got me drunk quickly in the company. Between the guy from the IT department who thinks you’re a dork because you’re a girl (“did you remember to reboot?”) and the little boss who notes what time you arrived in the morning, I must say that I always hated working with certain people.


There are

also cool people, with whom you can share a funny thing, share your problems over a coffee.

And when you work at home, you have no one to talk to except your cat, to whom you inevitably end up complaining about your customers who wake up at the last minute to ask you for something for yesterday.



sometimes demotivating, when you can’t make any progress on something, it takes a thousand times more time than when you can improvise a little brainstorming or simply ask someone for their opinion


For me, this is one of the biggest difficulties when you’re a home-based freelancer: this damn loneliness.

How to work at home and stay productive: my little guide to stay motivated when you only have your cat as a colleagueClick to Tweet

3 – Multi-tasking We

won’t lie: in business there are constraints but these constraints bring a certain structure


When you work alone, you don’t have this framework, this organization that you must have to work with.

to work properly with others. It’s easier to do things in order.

Here’s the thing:

since I’ve been working alone for a while, I’ve become Shiva: I start writing a post, then I find a technical problem that I solve, then I go to facebook to see if I have answers to my last post, then I come back to my article, I need a picture, I look for it, finally I install a little thing to make one, I edit it, then I come back to my post… Nothing organized, too many things

at once.

And I find it easier to jump from one thing to another when working alone: it’s tiring and counterproductive (and I still have one of the biggest multi-tasking problems when organizing my emails).

4 – Mixing private and professional lifeFinally


the biggest trap for me is to end up not putting any limit between your work and your private life.

If like me you don’t live in a mansion with an office in the west wing, you probably have your office in the main room, you probably even work on the dining room table between the fridge and the couch (my precise place at home :D).

It’s hard to keep things separate when you’re writing for hours at a time, 2m away from where you’re going to sit at the end of the day to watch a show (and then if you take 20 steps during the day it’s crazy).

When you’re working hard on a great idea at 6pm, you don’t see the little ballet of colleagues who go home to tell you to stop: you keep going. In the morning you drag yourself from breakfast to your office without much conviction and it lasts until noon.

There is no decompression chamber, no magic barrier that tells you “ok, I’m going to work” or “now I’m moving on”.

And that’s how you end up working too late or spending your weekends working instead of taking care of yourself. And it’s not easy to manage.

How to work from home without encroaching all the time on your free time and personal life: freelance tips and tricks ️Click to Tweet

But after now 9 years of freelancing from home part-time, I have finally developed my little techniques to avoid dawdling, stop feeling lonely and unmotivated and I’ve even managed recently to better partition my private life and my work!

How to stay motivated when you work aloneThese are

my tips to avoid procrastinating when I work alone at home. I’ve been implementing this year after year, and it’s what we should always start with really.

1 – Set up a nice work space in the right placeAt

first you think “Han too cool I’ll be able to work in my bed on my computer, it will be so nice”


And in fact, even on the couch with my laptop, I’ve never felt as good as I do now that I have a real workspace.

I’ve detailed quite a bit in this post about how I went from a mini office to a big table. And this change has made a big difference in the way I work.

It’s really important to have a spacious place, with a good comfortable chair (it’s expensive but

We spend 8 hours a day on it, so well…), at an ideal place in our house (avoid being at the back of a door or a main passage area).

It helps to feel serious and confident in your projects when you give them a real place!

2- Don’t stay aloneI

have several work groups on facebook with freelance friends or strangers. We share our ideas, our frustrations, our problems, it’s like a little online open space.

You want to know the best part about it?

Well, it’s like having colleagues but online, and it’s great to feel less alone and to motivate yourself on down days.

I like it so much that I have a small group for people who have a blog or an online business (it’s open to everyone who has an online activity, come on ^^)

. There are more and more coworking spaces being created. I know for me it changed everything from always having part-time offices.

3- Set weekly goals and share themThis

is definitely what helps the most when you have personal projects without a specific deadline is to share your goals in this kind of group


There is always someone to ask you where you stand (more on groups with close friends though) and it really helps to get motivated or to get back to it when you have put off a personal project too much.

4- Keep in mind your long term goalWhen

you work for yourself you really accomplish a lot on your own, the freelance to do list is sometimes impressive


A mantra, a key phrase, a long term goal to reach with all the work you have to do, it allows you not to lose sight of why you work every day.

In a company, it is often someone very high up who has the role of looking ahead. It is important not to lose sight of that when you work…

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