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Freelancers: Inspire yourself, Vary your Working Environment

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Vary Your Workplace

In this guest article Liam McKay* talks us through some strategies on how to increase your creativity & productivity by varying your workplace.

Working as a freelancer may sound like an ideal solution to office life. You get to work at home, working for yourself, choosing your own hours and clients. But is it really that much of an escape from the office lifestyle, are you really getting away from it all. Too often people end up spending more hours on their computer, cooped up in a make-shift office, rarely seeing daylight and working in the same space they live in.

It can all get too much and you end up getting bored of seeing the same thing’s on a daily basis, and in a lot of cases freelancers end up returning to full-time work after realising that the working-from-home-environment isn’t that much of a getaway.

Working from home shouldn’t mean you are confined to working from your bedroom, who says you can’t work from somewhere else. The only person stopping you is yourself. There are a few things you can do to escape your daily workplace boredom.

Leave the Country

Editors note: Or state, if in Australia? We can drive for 1000km and still not get out of our backyard.

Fly To Sun

Yeah, that’s right… leave the country. It sounds drastic, but today it’s even easier than ever to work from another country. It doesn’t have to be permanent, it can just be for the duration of your project, be it a few days or a few weeks. Getting away from your home / office can have a great effect on your work.

This doesn’t have to be something you do very often, it can be something you do when you’re particularly bored of your workplace for an occasional treat and motivational boost.

Benefits

1. You’ll be able to focus more.

This is because there are less distractions that may come with working from home. But if you are on a holiday you can easily get away from any distractions and focus more time & energy on your work.

2. You’ll be more inspired, creative & productive.

Working in your office day in day out can just dry up any creativity you might have. Getting away to a new location can give your mind a new way of thinking and open your eyes to new ideas. Here are some ways to Boost Your Creativity.

3. You’ll be able to relax more.

Working from home sometimes means your relaxation area is also your working area. This means that you never really get a chance to escape the computer, or emails etc. Working on a holiday means that there’s always somewhere else to go or visit once you’ve finished your working hours.

How?

You will only need some basic equipment, a small amount of cash, and a passport and you are set. It’s quite a big step to take, but it’s something which could help release you from a creative block, and re-inspire you as a designer. There are a few things that you will need to do this;

Laptop

Probably this go’s without saying but the first thing you will need is a Laptop. Today the power and portability of a laptop means that working away from home no longer means you have to compromise on the ability of your computer.

USB Broadband Modem Stick

USB

This is probably the most important part of the whole “leave the country” idea. It’s a technology which allows you to plug in a small USB stick to your laptop, and with a monthly fee of around £15 per month will give you access to the internet completely wireless in about 40+ countries. Including the UK, US, Australia, Sweden, India, Spain, Portugal, Greece, France etc & many more.

There are a variety of price plans, monthly usage limits and companies to choose from, but most are a reasonable price and have a large coverage area. It is important to know that connection speeds and availability will vary from country to country, but I’ve found that it is very easy to get coverage information from the makers of the sticks.

Cheap Flights

International travel is cheaper than ever. Budget airlines usually offer much cheaper rates for last minute flights, so you could choose a destination & book flights and a place to stay within a week, or even a couple of days if you’re not too picky. But if you think about it, it really isn’t too hard just to…

Get out of the House

This is something you can do on a daily basis, or just when you feel like it. It’s a good release and a great way to help you focus on your work. Using the same technology as above, all you need to do is find somewhere near by and take your laptop & USB Broadband (or WiFi), and that’s it… you’re set.

The advantage of this is you can really get your money’s worth out of your laptop & USB Broadband. If you’re going to work outside your house quite often then the small amount of money you have to pay for the equipment will seem quite insignificant in terms of the productivity and time you have gained.

Where can you go?

Free

A quiet place near-by

Well, providing your USB broadband stick has a decent enough signal… you can go anywhere. A local park, a forest, public gardens, a field, the beach, anywhere. I bet there’s somewhere quite beautiful not far from where you live, just somewhere where you can go and not worry about distractions – how about the top of a mountain.

Obviously you don’t need to have the Internet to do these things, you could work off-line, but I think (given the technology is out there) that the ability to be on-line, communicate, send files etc. makes working away from your home/office a much more appealing option.

A friends house

If you know another freelancer, or someone in a similar position as you, it may be a good idea to work in the same place. The advantages of this is that it’s not going to feel totally alien to you, it’s still an office, but it’s a new office.

It’s going to feel like it did the first day you started working from your own room, you’ll be full of enthusiasm and eager to get stuck in to your new work place. It will be the same feeling you get from your first day at work.

Working with someone in a similar position as you also gives you the chance to get a second opinion, share ideas and concepts. It’s always good to have direct feedback from a different pair of eyes than your own.

Final Thoughts

There is technology out there that gives you, as a freelancer, a lot more freedom and options when it comes to where you work. I’m sure there are a lot of places near your house you could visit to work, literally hundreds of places.

There are numerous countries that you could visit to do your work in, and hopefully this has opened your eyes to the fact that there is a world out there, and working in a profession involved around working on a computer no longer means you need to stay confined to your office space, you can give yourself a more inspirational environment to work in, and the chances are, it can only improve your work.

*About the author: Liam McKay has a passion for all things design, but his focus at the moment is on designing websites & blogs. Visit his site WeFunction

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16 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Erica DeWolf Reply

    Great post, varying your work environment does indeed give you inspiration, especially if you’re outside with a pretty view!

  • Andrew Reply

    Great article! I just moved so I could be walking distance from more cafe’s and places with WiFi so I can start mixing up my working environment. It’s amazing how negative of an impact being stuck in your home office all day every day can have on creativity.

    Andrews last blog post..Maintaining Rhythm and Flow in Vector Character Design

  • modemlooper Reply

    I’m all for working in different spots. I go to different museums, cafes and malls all the time. Energy causes new inspirations.

  • Edwin Reply

    Great article, it really inspires to go abroad soon! :)

  • Lucinda Thompson Reply

    I find it quite difficult to actually get any work done anywhere else other than in my comfy office chair and at my own desk, for some bizarre reason I can’t seem to get into taking my laptop “offsite”. I certainly do get a great deal of inspiration from away from the office and often will be seen at a beach with a sketch pad or camera.

    Maybe I should go abroad and give it a go….

  • liam Reply

    @Lucinda Thompson – I think it’s all about finding somewhere where you can be comfortable. I would find it quite hard to work somewhere with a lot of people around, so I’d probably lean towards somewhere secluded.

    But on the other hand some people might be more comfortable in a busy coffee-shop, or a park with a lot of people around.

    Although you don’t always have to take your work with you, just going for a walk and thinking about things counts as work in my eyes.

    Thanks for the kind words guys.

    liams last blog post..Creative Domain Names: Some Clever Alternative Methods

  • Kelly Reply

    Liam,

    Well-said. I love to get out and do work from someplace other than my office. I get new ideas from where I go, and sometimes something as simple as the change of air or change of position can be a big help.

    Thanks for this post!

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kellys last blog post..Dreaming BIG when you still feel small

  • Kai Reply

    I agree with Lucinda. To be productive you gotta be at a quite place with a good office eqipment – at least I do.

    One thing in your post I strongly disagree with: international flight have become more and more expensive recently. I fly back and forth between Germany and Australia. 5 years ago a return flight cost around 1000 EUR. Today that’s the price you pay for a one way flight. :-(

  • liam Reply

    @Kai I think it really depends when where and how you book your flights. Particularly where I’m from in the UK there are a lot of near-by Airports I can choose from, and there are plenty of budget airlines offering some amazing deals, especially if they are last minute.

    This might not be the same in every country, but overall the cost of flying is cheaper now than 10 years ago for example, there is more competition between airlines and more airlines now than ever before.

  • Joey Wit Reply

    Going to a new location is a great way to open up your mind to new possibilities. If you don’t inspire yourself you will never be able to create inspired work. its like that old saying that truth is stranger than fiction, the reason that is so is because all creative thought is based on the realities around us

  • David Reply

    I definately agree with some of the things you’ve mentioned above Jacob.. I always find that too much time in the same space seems to slow my mind down and I can’t get ideas flowing.. I don’t really have the means to go abroad but I find taking a break and going for a walk in the park always opens up a world of creativity for myself… So I always keep a notepad in my pocket.. Great post

  • hermes kelly bag Reply

    Going to a new location is a great way to open up your mind to new possibilities. If you don’t inspire yourself you will never be able to create inspired work. its like that old saying that truth is stranger than fiction, the reason that is so is because all creative thought is based on the realities around us

  • Amusement & Water Park in Delhi NCR Reply

    Everyone wants a good working environment but according to them no one get it. Yes, its a good idea to work as a freelancer which inspires yourself and changes the work surroundings. You can change your office lifestyle by working on different type of projects from home or you can go abroad for short duration projects to vary the working environment.


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