Whether you wake up at the crack of dawn or are a night owl, tackling freelance work can be wearing as the assignments pile up. A cup of coffee and some tasty snacks help you stay alert, but when your workspace is just a place you come to carve out time in the doldrums, something has to change.
Your professional setup should be a place that helps you focus and stay on task, but it’s also important for your workspace to feel like an oasis that invigorates you and helps you love what you do. There are several ways to create your oasis workspace, as you revitalize your existing space or look around for a new location.
Spruce up Your Current Workspace
Your budget may not accommodate moving to a new office or completely renovating your home office, but there are ways to jazz up your current workspace. Reclaim your workspace and professional sanity with a few simple changes.
1. Add Color
How do you feel when you walk into your workspace? Color affects mood, with active reds as dynamic, and blues and greens as soothing. Think of another room in your home where you feel awake and relaxed. Maybe it’s the kitchen, with its open windows, blue walls and lace curtains.
Translate that into your office. White walls and typical office furniture get boring and draining. Choose a cheerful yellow or a sky blue for your walls. Simply painting the trim adds flair. You can use more dynamic colors as accents, such as in your pillows or desk. Why not paint your desk purple?
2. Go Minimalist
Tired of the towering books and paths to your workspace? Go minimalist and stick to the essentials. Have a comfortable desk, chair, couch and shelves. Upcycle your desk drawers to look like vintage card catalog pulls, or find a nice piece of reclaimed wood to attach to the wall or industrial pipes for legs as a signature piece.
Consider moving noisy electronics to a nearby room to reduce sound pollution. Use open shelves to organize your paperwork and books. Choose a simple color palette, then make the rest of your office comfortable with throws and pillows.
Find a New Local Work Space
Sometimes, you need a change of scenery a few days out of the week. Looking at the same four walls gets old. Here are some ways to change up your daily work environment.
1. Set up at Your Local Coffee Shop
Working as a freelancer gets lonely, and total silence or exposure to the same kinds of noise every single day can become mind-numbing.
Scout out coffee shops that aren’t crowded during certain times of the day, have reliable Wi-Fi and won’t mind you working there for a couple of hours. You’ll have to buy at least one cup of coffee or tea, and probably even a refill, but the ambiance of a coffee shop is strangely productive and calming for the mind.
For the days when you can’t make it out to the coffee shop, bring the ambiance to you with sites like Coffitivity. Similarly, try out your local library or a sandwich shop.
2. Look Into Co-Working Spaces
Remote work has become so popular that many cities, including smaller ones, now have co-working spaces you can rent on a monthly or as-needed basis, while getting access to other resources you may not have at your home office — such as workshops, equipment and meeting spaces. The membership fee may be as low as $50 a month, and the bright side is you can write off a portion of the expense on your taxes.
Find New Work Locations
1. Look Outside Your City
Isn’t the idea of freelancing not having a commute? Commuting less helps our environment, but if it’s not beneficial to your professional sanity, you should consider new work locations.
Sometimes, the perfect workspace may be outside your city. Is there an affordable, small town within a 15-minute drive? Have you noticed a quaint office constantly for rent near a coffee shop you stop by once in a while? Consider locations outside your city, because the drive or bus ride gives you a chance to outline the day ahead and separate your work from your personal life more easily.
2. Immerse Yourself in Nature
Don’t get stuck in an unproductive or unhealthy work environment. Immerse yourself in nature and relocate your business and home in “the middle of nowhere.” Exposure to nature also helps boost your mood.
Since surrounding yourself with nature helps you re-center and refocus, consider moving to a wooded area, like a log cabin. Working in a log cabin is like getting a constant hug from Mother Nature. When shopping for a log cabin, you should make sure the logs touch the ground, ideally on a foundation. Other signs of a log cabin in good condition are a lack of boreholes, consistent chinking and no cracks.
You might also consider a getaway in a tiny home or other eco-friendly business where you can stay for a week or so in natural surroundings. A small business getaway gives you time to reset your professional mindset and start the next month anew.
Change is inevitable, but burnout shouldn’t be. Use the art of change to spruce up your existing workspace by adding color or going minimalist. Remember, sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to spark your creativity and renew your enthusiasm for your work. So check out a coffee shop, co-working space or new digs outside your city.
Changing up your surroundings will boost your mood and productivity. Shouldn’t your workspace be a true oasis?