How to Be a Happier Freelancer

cowork


You get up to receive your fax.

The bespectacled personal assistant at the next table is muttering into her laptop.

Two writers are talking about the crazy demands of their clients.

You feel a part of something, happy to be around people going through the same thing you are.

This is the essence coworking spaces, office areas owned by a company or organization and used by freelancers as their office space.

They make use of resources such as photocopiers, fax machines, even coffee makers. Coworking is becoming more accepted, popular, and available.

One does have to pay periodical fees to use coworking facilities. So what justifies the price? Here are some good reasons to consider taking your home business into coworking spaces.

Motivation

One very legitimate problem that freelancers face is procrastination and the attendant lack of productivity. It’s only too easy to go off and run an errand, one that turns into two or three errands and two hours.

It’s easy to do something productive around the apartment, but not something that earns money or helps your career. A lot of freelancers who cowork report that they like feeling a certain peer pressure, not wanting to look like a slacker in front of the other freelancers. The group structure tends to keep them in their seats and at work.

Camaraderie

Another key benefit to coworking spaces is the ability to keep in touch with the world around you. Your fellow coworkers don’t just serve as silent motivators; they can also keep you from feeling isolated.

In best-case scenarios, you’ll be able to learn from fellow freelancers, new techniques, software and similar resources, news and trends. You may even find new clients this way.

Work-Life Balance

Above, I mentioned distractions and the easy opportunity to leave your work space when you’re working at home. Along these same lines, I, along with other freelancers, sometimes find that my personal life and work life bleed together too much.

As freelancers, we like the freedom to come and go as we please, but it’s also nice to do work, be done with it, and then have leisure activities. A co-working space makes this much easier to realize.

When you bike or drive down to the space, you’re probably going to work awhile there. There’s no reason to commute there — to a place for which you’re paying — and then work for only an hour. Therefore, you’ll block off a work time, getting more done, and then going back home.

When it’s time to do the dishes and hang out with your spouse or kids, you can do so without being in and out of work tasks. Now, to some extent, you’ll still find work life intruding, but perhaps not as much.

One just has to make sure that the co-working space is comfortable, not too warm nor too cold, not too loud, not full of too many social distractions, and indeed more conducive to work than your home space.

There’s always the danger of strange rules or policies of the sort that come up in any human society, so be sure to try to check these out before committing too much of your money. But co-working spaces can be a great alternative to the local coffee shop or your distraction-filled home.

(Photo by Financial Times / CC BY)


Jeff Maehre is a fiction writer and freelance copywriter. His fiction has appeared in Story, The Northwest Review, Cutbank, and Phoebe; he often blogs and writes other copy about social media.

Discussion

  1. Ivan on the 23rd March

    Coworking is cool and I’d recommend to complement that by going to gym regularly, especially with ‘coworkers’ :)

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