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.
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.
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.
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;
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
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.
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?
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.
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