Productivity and Winter Weather: A Freelancer’s Guide To Avoiding Hibernation

Productivity and Winter Weather: A Freelancer’s Guide To Avoiding Hibernation

12540713_10156351727190361_7924673822649117844_nRose Moore is one cool chick. In fact, she’s someone you want to be friends with on Facebook and follow on Twitter just to keep up with the great things she’s doing. Unwilling to let work lead the way, Rose seems to have figured it out, wrapping her work seamlessly around her life. Wife of a chef, she works when her husband does, allowing them to actually (gasp) spend time together. She’s someone who perfectly embodies the Ink & Well Mission and we can’t wait to share her words of wisdom with you. 

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Let’s be honest, working from home beats working in a cubicle farm every day of the week. No headache-inducing fluorescent lights, no colleagues spoiling the last episode of The Walking Dead, no need to re-heat your bag lunch in a permanently greasy microwave… Instead, you get to spend your days uninterrupted, working in pjs and bare feet, in an environment that you created to relax and inspire. As a freelance writer, there is very little that I miss about the nine-to-five grind – but I would be lying if I said that working from home didn’t come with a challenge or two of its own.

At this time of year, one of the biggest challenges comes with a change in weather. As I type this, it’s pouring rain outside – and has been for about two weeks! (Welcome to the Pacific Northwest.) Over the next few months, that rain will turn to sleet, then snow… and the only thing I’ll want to do is curl up in my big comfy bed, order some food, and challenge the bears to a hibernation contest. I think that most people feel this way when it’s cold outside – the difference for freelancers is that we actually can.It’s easy to fall into the trap of long mornings in bed, earlier nights in front of the TV, and generally winding down to the bare (or should that be bear?) minimum over the winter months – luckily, I’m here to help. There are some simple ways that you can maintain your productivity and avoid hibernation so that springtime doesn’t find you a grumpy grizzly!

  1. Go Outside Once A Day

Yes, it’s cold and it’s wet and it’s gross and you just don’t wanna. Yes, part of the sales pitch for an at-home job was that you don’t have to go outside on a rainy day. Do it anyway. Spending just fifteen minutes outside in the fresh air is a fantastic way to wake yourself up and keep you feeling energetic. Get it out of the way in the morning with a brisk stroll around the block, and try to enjoy the weather (if you can!). There is nothing quite like a beautiful fall or winter day – and even the miserable ones can be an exercise in gratitude when you get back inside. If you are in a particularly sunless part of the world (like me) invest in a full-spectrum light to make sure that you are getting a daily dose of “sunshine” and keeping the seasonal blues at bay.

  1. Get “Work” PJs

Confession time: I’m writing this post in a fuzzy penguin onesie. It’s not my only onesie, either (I’m up to four, and wondering how many is too many). A lack of dress code is one of the best parts of working from home, and I’m all for working in PJs… just not the ones you actually sleep in. Have a separate set (or ten) of cozy winter “work” clothes – pajamas, leggings and oversized sweaters, onesies, whatever makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. When you wake up, change into your work clothes, and don’t forget the rest of your morning routine (brush your teeth, do your hair, put on some lip gloss). This lets you enjoy some snuggly work-from-home smugness, but creates a clear divide between sleep-time and work-time, which leads to greater productivity when you’ve got your workin’ jammies on.

  1. Keep Your Computer At Your Desk (Not In Your Bed)

Working from bed may be a lovely image, but it’s actually not the best idea for your productivity (or your spine). Keeping a laptop in the bedroom not only has a negative impact on your quality of sleep, but it leads to giving in to temptation and staying in bed all day. You may think that you’ll get the same amount of work done, but productivity actually increases if you have a specific “office” area – one where you aren’t allowed to watch Netflix or waste time on funny cat videos. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are when you are fully awake, dressed, and in your ‘office’ – rather than half-asleep while working under the covers. Keep your bed as a reward after a long, wonderful day. Your clients (and your back) will thank you for it.

  1. Turn Up The Heat

It seems obvious, but when it gets cold outside, make sure you are still warm inside. It is exponentially harder to get out of a nice warm bed if your bedroom would be a comfortable environment for Frosty the Snowman. Set your home’s heating to come on before you want to get up (or to maintain a constant temperature). If you have wood or tile flooring, set out slippers by your bed the night before so that you don’t have to freeze your tootsies first thing. Keep a fuzzy robe by the bed. Do whatever it takes to make getting out of bed (almost) as pleasant as staying in it. Make sure that your office space is appropriately heated, too. If you need a space heater under your desk, do it. Being uncomfortably cold will just leave you grumpy, stiff, and likely to stay in bed tomorrow.

  1. Look Forward To Spring

Spring is actually my least favorite season (sorry, cherry blossoms, you just don’t cut it), but I’m not talking about literally thinking about spring in November. Instead, think about where you want to be a season or two from now. You can be awake, in your work onesie, after a walk and in your cozy office, but still struggling to get down to work. Thinking about why you are doing the stuff on your to-do list, where it’s taking you, and when you want to get there is a great way to keep focused on your goals and prioritize your work. Whether you are a fan of vision boards, visualizations, eighteen-point-plans, or some other way of road mapping your future success, make sure you keep it up over the winter months. This is good advice for any time of the year, but for me, it’s wintertime when I hear my favorite book, a warm blanket, and a gallon of tea calling my name.

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