Ever get jealous of a hedgehog? The idea of fattening ourselves up through the summer so that in the winter we can wrap up in a little ball and not come out til spring just sounds really appealing right now. Especially when we look outside and see storms battering, rain falling and COVID rates climbing. Gloom gloom gloom. A recent archaeological dig in northern Spain found that early humans may even have hibernated to survive the winter. So if you’re finding your freelance winter depressing – you’re not alone.
There are lots of things that can be a struggle in the winter. The shorter daylight hours may mean you find it harder to find your get-up-and-go in the morning, and are tempted to log off and crawl back into bed as soon as the daylight goes. One thing that we can hopefully all look forward to is a little bit of time off over Christmas – but to achieve that, you’ll probably need to keep your freelance productivity going so that you can finish all your work and have a well-deserved break. In this blog, we take a look at our top tips for how you can stay focused when freelance working through the winter.
Make a plan – and stick to it!
It may feel like a chore, but make a clear plan of what you need to achieve for the week. It’ll help you focus your energy on the most important tasks and feel in control of your workload. Set yourself a realistic amount of work to achieve each working day of the week. And when you hit your targets – reward yourself by allowing yourself to log off for the rest of the day. This will encourage you to concentrate on getting things done and not procrastinate. Instead of wasting little pockets of time throughout the day, you can up your freelance productivity and then enjoy an early finish! It will also help you clear your decks so you can enjoy a very merry freelance Christmas.
Light up the dark
Lighting a remote working space in the winter can be tricky. You need enough light to see what you’re doing (and be visible on the many Zoom calls that working from home seems to bring). But bright overheads, especially if they’re fluorescent, might be too intense and cause you a headache. A little mood lighting can help in the winter – candles, fairy lights, and soft lamps – can help to lift your spirits. However, if it’s too dark and dingy you could find yourself feeling sleepy or suffering from eye strain. Experiment with some different lighting set-ups to find something that works for you – perhaps Santa could bring you a funky new desk lamp?
Take regular screen breaks
It can be tempting to work for hours without a break – particularly if it’s dark or miserable outside and it feels like there’s nothing worth tearing yourself away from work for. However, staring at a screen for hours at a time is bad for your eyes and general well-being. Aim to take a break of at least 5 minutes every couple of hours – and no, stopping to check your phone doesn’t count!
Go for a walk
It can be tempting to stay inside in the warm for days at a time in the winter. When you’re a work from home freelancer, there’s often no real excuse to go out. However, you know you’ll feel better with some fresh air. Exercise is a really good way to lift your mood and maintain your physical health through winter, and green spaces have a proven positive impact on mental health. So wrap up warm, take a break and head to your local park for an instant mood boost. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.
Work from a different location
A change is as good as a rest – or so they say. If you feel safe (and if current coronavirus regulations allow it) you might want to switch up your working space and head out somewhere new to work to give yourself a change of scene. This could be your favourite cafe or remote working space. If you’re based in London, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite places to work in the big city.
If you do head out to work elsewhere, remember to make sure that you have up-to-date public liability insurance to protect your freelance business if you should accidentally injure someone or damage their property while working out and about. It’s also a good idea to insure any precious and essential business gear that you’ll be taking out and about with you against loss, theft or damage. Dinghy’s business equipment insurance is one of the only policies that will cover your laptop if it’s stolen from a co-working space (as long as it wasn’t left unattended). Dinghy can sort out all the insurance cover that your freelance business needs with one quick quote that takes just seconds – visit our website to find out more.