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I am Dale King, a specialist dental copywriter. I love to share my knowledge of working within the dental niche with other like-minded individuals. 

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how to work from home as a freelance writer

How To Work From Home Using These 5 (Not So) Obvious Tips

One of the biggest perks of becoming a freelancer is that it allows people to work in their own space. For many, that’s a huge draw particularly when that space is their own home. 

Yet, working from home can also be challenging in more ways than you might imagine. It can be tough to stay motivated when you have increased distractions like family members and pets, for example, that may not always respect your working boundaries.

Add children, the Amazon delivery driver or a noisy neighbour into the mix; and it’s easy to see how the home office isn’t always the easiest environment to be productive.

So, understanding how to work from home to remain focused and stay productive is crucial to building a successful freelancing business. This is what this post is all about.

So let’s dive in and take a closer look at 5 (not so) obvious tips.

#1 - Maintain a regular schedule

set a schedule for the day

One of the great things about being your own boss and working from home is that you get to call the shots. Yet, in some respects, this can also be a curse. Here’s an example….

On Thursday last week, I went to a friend’s birthday at our local bar. It turned into quite a late night and come Friday morning, I just wasn’t in the mindset for work, so I decided to take the day off. Rather than doing something productive like writing this blog, I spent the day in front of the TV.

Yep, I pulled a sickie!

Not great, I know, but the point I’m making is that without supervision, even the most diligent can become demotivated from time to time.

Caveat it’s okay to take a day off occasionally, and it’s important not to beat yourself up about it when you do. That’s why we run our own businesses, right? In fact, taking some downtime can be good for you. So put it behind you, turn up the next day and you’ll forget it ever happened.

The question is… How can we hold ourselves accountable to maintain a regular schedule, even when we just don’t feel like it?

The answer?

Setting a schedule!   

A schedule provides structure to the day and helps us stay motivated. More importantly, it tells others in your household that between those hours, you’re working.

As a top tip, set yourself a realistic time to be at your desk or laptop and stick to it. Make sure it’s one that you can uphold every day. For instance, it’s no good setting yourself a target of being at your workstation for 8 am every morning if you aren’t an early bird.  

Instead, make it as easy as possible to get into a daily rhythm and after a while, turning up every day should become second nature.

#2 - Set working boundaries

working boundaries

One of the main factors of understanding how to work from home has a lot to do with maintaining working boundaries. When we work from home, it’s all too easy to let work life merge into family or home time. We may feel that we’re always working and so, we lose that ‘place to come home to’. This is why it’s important to keep the two separate.

One way to do this is to set aside a separate office space away from social areas like the kitchen or living room. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that setting up a WFH area in your bedroom isn’t great for the long term.

Ideally, an office space works best in a designated room preferably with a door you can keep closed. This way, you can shut yourself in during working hours without distraction, but also it allows you to create both literal and psychological boundaries between your work area and home space.

Also, stick to a working timetable and when it gets to the time of day to stop… then, stop! 

The Writer Ernest Hemingway was famous for leaving the working day in the middle of a paragraph. Not only to protect against burnout but also when he came back to it the next day, starting was easy because he knew what he was going to write.

One boundary that you can enforce is not answering client emails right away. It’s all too easy to want to respond there and then, even when you receive an email in the middle of the evening or night. If you do this, you’re kind of making a rod for your own back.

In my experience, most clients will respect your downtime and won’t expect an answer or schedule a meeting during these hours. There will always be times when a quick response is necessary but typically, even if your client is on the other side of the world, there are always workarounds. If a client doesn’t respect your working boundaries, then you may want to consider whether they’re someone you’ll want to work with in the first place. 

#3 - Take regular breaks

take a break

It’s tempting to work flat out particularly when you’re getting your freelancing career off the ground but it’s vital to take regular breaks. Research suggests that the most efficient workers will work for an hour and take a 5-minute micro-break.

Restorative breaks don’t need to take any particular form but they’re important for avoiding burnout. It can be something as simple as staring out the window or reading a quick article in a magazine.

Also, and most importantly, spend time away from your desk. As an example, I’ll always try to take a lunch break. It may only be for 30 minutes but I’ll take myself away from the desk go and make a sandwich and, if weather permitting, sit outside, feel the sun on my face, etc.

Alternatively, why not take yourself away from the environment and go for a walk, get some exercise or walk the dog (if you have one)? This way, when you come back, you should be re-energised and refocused.

Essentially, the brain is like any other muscle, it needs rest and recuperation to function well so taking regular breaks is essential to being productive when working from home.

#4 - Stay connected

stay connected

Here’s the thing…

Working from home can be a lonely experience. Sometimes you can hole yourself in your office space and not talk to anyone else for days. There is evidence to suggest that prolonged isolation weakens productivity, so if your business doesn’t involve talking with others daily, it’s important to put the effort in to stay connected.

Why not schedule coffee time with other local writers or work peers? Alternatively, networking sites like LinkedIn provide the ideal place to network with potential clients and other writers. You could also attend local networking events or conferences, visit co-working spaces or work from a café. Staying connected doesn’t just help your career, it’s also essential for your wellbeing.

#5 - Celebrate small victories

When working from home, staying motivated can be difficult. Especially when distractions like Facebook, that pile of laundry or junk room that needs sorting, abound. One way to keep up momentum is to take time to acknowledge your accomplishments.

Victories don’t need to be anything huge. Instead, they might be something as simple as getting through your ‘to-do’ list that day or finally accomplishing a work-related task you’ve been meaning to do for weeks. Whatever it is, take time at the end of the day to reflect on those victories and congratulate yourself.

Rewarding behaviour is more likely to create a virtuous cycle moving forwards and when you’re trying to grow your own online freelance business and need all the support you can get, giving yourself a pat on the back every now and then isn’t a bad thing.

How to work from home – key principles to remember


  • Maintain a regular work schedule and stick to it
  • Set working boundaries – create a dedicated workspace and stop when your working day ends
  • Take regular breaks and step away from your desk
  • Remain connected and
  • Focus on what you’ve accomplished

Follow these rules and you’ll remain focused and productive even when you don’t always feel like it.

If you want to know more about aspects of running a freelance writing business, particularly in the dental niche then I have just the thing for you. Go to my website, download my free guide to getting started and subscribe to my blogs where I have a ton of information to help. If you have any questions you can always email me at [email protected] and I’ll point you in the right direction.   

Here’s to your success!