How to Stay Productive When Working from Home as a Freelancer

Dimana Markova
6 mins read
Mar 20, 2023

You finally achieved your dream - working for yourself from home. 

Office politics, long commutes and work attire are now in the past. 

At first, it was exciting and challenging. 

You worked hard to find clients, create a portfolio and establish yourself as a freelancer but you’re finally here. 

Except there’s still something missing.

In summary ✍️

  • It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and loose motivation as a freelancer 
  • Here are 13 strategies to help you stay motivated, focused and productive when working from home 
  • Discover also the benefits of connecting with other freelancers in online coworking spaces

The dark side of freelancing 

The dark side of freelancing with tiny Darth Vader toy picture

You have the flexibility to work whenever and wherever your heart desires.

Your clients are great and the work is interesting. 

So why aren’t you feeling motivated?

You find yourself spending hours in a Tik-Tok rabbit hole.

Procrastination takes over and you lose motivation to answer emails or start working on that project even though the deadline is looming. 

You start to realise that phase two of freelancing comes with its own challenge.

The challenge to stay motivated, focused and connected while working from home. 

It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed, isolated and lonely when there are no face-to-face meetings with your manager, no watercooler chats and no teambuilding weekends away. 

But don’t worry and don’t start looking for your next 9-5 job just yet. There are strategies to help you stay motivated and accountable.

5 strategies to find accountability as freelancer working from home

One of the main challenges of freelancing from home is that you don't have a boss or colleagues to keep you accountable

Sure, you have your clients who expect work to be done, but that’s usually a big piece of work at the end of a long period of time. 

How are you supposed to find the motivation to even start when the deadline is so far away?! 

Accountability is essential to staying motivated and productive.

Here are five strategies to help you get motivated and stay productive when working from home:

Break down the project

Divide projects into specific tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Breaking down your project into specific tasks is the first step to avoiding procrastination.

Create a detailed schedule

Organise all your thoughts, scribbles and tasks into a linear plan. Determine what needs to be done first and estimate how long each part will take you.

Time blocking

Arrange your broken-down tasks in the order you want to tackle them.

This is called time blocking.

It works best if you give yourself buffer time every now and then.

Find an accountability partner

 Find someone who can hold you accountable to your own goals and deadlines. 

This could be as easy as asking a friend, family member, or another freelancer.

If you don’t know anyone, an online coworking group could be exactly what you need! 

Try a productivity planner

Productivity planners are journals with templates that use a range of productivity hacks and tricks. 

You don’t have to buy a designated one, you could also create one yourself and adapt it as much as needed. 

How to get motivated as a freelancer working from home

Staying motivated is a huge challenge for anyone working from home but especially the self-employed. 

Yes, you don’t have Susan from accounting asking you if you fancy a cuppa every five minutes.

But you also don’t have colleagues and a manager to check your progress, offer guidance, or brainstorm with you when you feel stuck. 

Build a routine

So how do you boost your motivation as a freelancer? 

Start by making sure you establish a solid routine. 

This doesn’t mean you need to copy-paste your office life. After all, you left that corporate life for a reason.

But having a routine that works for you can be very beneficial.

It can include exercise, meditation, cooking or any other activity you look forward to and that keeps you motivated. 

Build new routines by habit stacking

It’s easier to create new routines when you attach them to the already existing ones. 

Things like drinking coffee in the morning or brushing your teeth at night are great for habit stacking new routines to.

Try positive self-talk

Another way to keep feeling motivated as a freelancer working from home is by practising positive self-talk. 

Tell yourself that you can do it and that you're capable of achieving your goals. 

It will feel awkward and strange in the beginning, but a lot of research has shown that positive affirmations help boost motivation.

Take regular breaks

Last but certainly not least - remember to take regular breaks.

You may feel compelled to work constantly and might not have taken a break in a while. Especially if you are new to the freelancer life.

It always feels like there’s more you can do and it is tempting to keep working.

You lack that work-life separation and might find yourself working late into the evenings, long after you should have closed your laptop.

Remember that taking regular breaks can help you recharge and make you much more productive. Taking a few days of is essential to avoid overwhelm and burnout. 

How to focus as a freelancer working from home

Woman with the word focus written on her arm

Staying focused can be challenging when you work from home and when you are self-employed. Or should we say focus on the right thing? 

Instead of tackling the big and overwhelming project ahead of you, you focus on washing the dishes, vacuuming the carpets or colour-coordinating your entire wardrobe. 

Sounds familiar? Here are some tips for remaining to help you focus on the most important thing.

Create a dedicated workspace free from distractions 

You probably lack some of that healthy work-like separation that comes so naturally when you work in an office. 

To regain some of it back, create a dedicated workspace free from distractions. This could be a separate room or a corner of your living room.

Use the ‘Pomodoro Technique’

The Pomodoro Technique involves working for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break.

This structured approach can boost productivity by keeping you focused for a set and manageable interval of time.

To take this up a notch try a virtual coworking session, where you share your goals and get a gentle sense of accountability.

Try virtual coworking

Virtual coworking is Pomodoro on steroids! 

It's based on the concept of body doubling that originated in the ADHD community.

ADHD body doubling online can help you stay accountable and on track with the help of and ADHD accountability buddy.

The ADHD coworking concept is not just for adults with ADHD - it's a productivity strategy that everyone can (and should) try.

Sharing goals and staying accountable to others in a session dedicated to productivity will undoubtedly help you to get things done.

Ensure you get the most out of each online coworking session by turning off notifications and placing devices in focus mode. 

Remember, your Slack notifications and inbox can wait. You can always reply to all those emails and messages after the end of your focus session.

The power of virtual coworking for freelancers

We have mentioned online coworking a few times throughout this article, so it was time we discussed it in detail.

Online coworking helps freelancers and solopreneurs get things done. It helps anyone really, but those groups benefit the most. 

It’s a simple idea, grounded in solid neuroscience research and ready to make you the most productive version of yourself.

How and why does online coworking work?

#1: Offers gentle accountability 

Did you know that regular accountability check-ins could 3.8x the probability of achieving our goals (from 25% to 95%)? 

The simple knowledge of an accountability check-in improves positive behaviours by 50%.

And the mere presence of people, even if not engaged in the same task, can boost performance by 16-32%.

#2: Helps with monotasking 

The average person loses 40% productivity and takes 23 minutes to regain focus when task switching.

Online coworking can help you shift to monotasking mode.

#3: Helps you get into a state of flow faster

The distraction-free environment facilitated by virtual coworking can help you get into a state of flow faster.

When working in a state of deep concentration and flow, we can boost our productivity by up to 500%.

#4: Offers intentionality

Adding specific intention to take action at a given time could 2x the odds of completing a goal.

Wondering how to find coworking partners? You can easily find and connect other freelancers through an online body doubling website, such as Deepwrk.

Final thoughts

Working as a freelancer from home can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be isolating and lonely.

Using the strategies outlined in this article, you can stay accountable, motivated, and focused.

Get more done in less time with Deepwrk
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Dimana Markova
Dimana is a founder, content creator, and a writer. She holds an MSc in Social & Public Communication from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Dimana is an avid traveller, reader and snowboarder.