Your Freelancing Castle - A Comfortable Office or Workspace
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Your Desk and Chair
Make sure your home office (or workspace) includes a desk and chair that are comfortable and well-suited to your work needs. Even though furniture may not seem that important, it is, because it has a direct impact on your physical comfort and thus your productivity. You don’t need fancy mahogany furniture—my desk and chair are utility-grade items from Staples—but it needs to be reasonably ergonomic and sturdy.
Remember that as a full-time freelancer you may spend over a thousand hours a year sitting on your chair at your desk. It may seem like a good idea to save $100 or $200 by buying a cheap chair or desk when you start out, but you’ll regret the few pennies you save per day each time you get a backache or a headache due to poor support or posture. Spend money where it makes sense—you’ll be glad you did.
Again here, the issue is the surprisingly close relationship between comfort and concentration. If your work area gets too hot, too cold, or too stuffy, this will serve as a constant distraction from your tasks and will hurt productivity. Heating is generally not an issue in places that get cold in the winter, but many people don’t have air conditioning, even in regions that can get quite warm for several months.
Even if your house doesn’t have central A/C, I strongly recommend a room unit for your home office or work area (unless you’re one of those people who really loves the heat, of course!). You’re a working professional and it’s not a “luxury” to ensure that you can focus without sweat pouring down your face.
One of the keys to being a smart freelancer is staying organized, and storage is a prerequisite for organization. It’s simply impossible to arrange all of your papers, books, work materials and other items properly if you don’t have a place to store them, and a plan for how to use your storage space.
Storage is easier if you have a home office, of course. For most freelancers, a couple of storage cabinets or bookshelves on a wall is all they need. You can also use drawers and filing cabinets that are part of your desk, when appropriate.
Those without home offices will need to be a little more creative, though not overly so: a little goes a long way when it comes to storage. Don’t forget that you can store infrequently-accessed files and documents in another room, or even an attic or closet. And you don’t need anything fancy: most department stores sell inexpensive portable filing boxes that can get the job done just fine.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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