Work – but where?

Since I became a freelancer three months ago one question kept me busy more than others. I love to work and I love my flexibility, but WHERE is the ideal spot to be productive?

I have tried many different locations and work patterns. This is what I experienced the past couple of months. What worked for me and what did not.

The home office

Being single and living by myself, the “home office” was my first go-to place to get my freelance work done. The first couple of days and weeks were great! I felt independent. Oh yes, one does not even have to get dressed and can stay in his or her pajamas throughout the whole day. Can it get any better? However, soon enough I realized that my whole life is taking place in the exact same spot. I got up from bed, moved to the kitchen for breakfast, then migrated back to my bedroom where my desk is located and then I sat on my desk for the rest of the day with long breaks for lunch and dinner. At night I would do the same migration backwards moving back from my desk into bed. Sometimes I would work from my couch which made me feel a bit too comfortable. And somehow my “research” then tended to end up somewhere on youtube with  cute cats playing the piano.

Indeed, there are many distractions at home and one has to be super disciplined to keep up good productive work for a longer period of time.

The home office is really nice every once in a while, but does not serve as a permanent office solution in my opinion. This may be different if you have a separate office room where you do your work. However, in a one-bedroom apartment working from home becomes very isolating and unproductive.

And that´s why my next step was to move to ….

The Café.

After feeling isolated, unproductive and lonely in my “home office” I decided to move to the café down the street. I thought at least there are people and that might put a bit of pressure on me to actually get work done. And sitting in a café requires getting dressed in the morning, which I thought could make for a nice change.

Working in the cafe was lovely. I was glad to see new people around me. I even had some interesting conversation with other freelancers while fighting over the only power outlet in the place. I met a couple of fiction writers and made friends with the waiters. Working in the café, I was more productive than at home.

Nevertheless, the situation was not ideal. Having to order drinks and food all the time felt like a “must” and was not easy on my wallet. And not ordering stuff, I felt bad for using up the space in the café.

The internet connection constantly broke down which was the case in many different public cafés and spaces where several people are using the same WIFI connection. This can be really disturbing – especially to people like me who have to rely on the internet to get their work done.

Cafés can get pretty noisy and screaming kids, coffee making sounds mixed with the constant smell of food and “lounge music” sometimes don´t do the trick of working more focussed.

And so I had to look for another options, and found…

…Co-working spaces

Berlin offers a big variety of co-working spaces. Co-working spaces are like office buildings for start-ups, freelancers and anyone who wants a desk in a professional setting. One can rent a desk for a fixed amount of money per month and use his/ her desk just like in a regular office. The Co-working space takes care of the facilities and makes sure things like a functional internet connection, plenty of outlets, etc. are given. Many co-working spaces in Berlin also have cute modern common areas where you can meet other entrepreneurs and have interesting conversations.

I worked my first day in a co-working space this week. I did not rent a desk, but smuggled myself into the common area where I used the internet and the more office-like vibe to get my work done. I was sitting in a café like environment with the only difference being that the place was dedicated to these laptop-staring-people.

The setting felt more professional than a regular café and more productive than my “home office”. I talked to some people who work there on a regular basis and they told me they liked working there a lot. Sometimes they say, meeting new people can get out of hand and all you want is to be alone and get your work done. Renting desks can be kind of expensive… depending on what you do for a living. But renting a desk is definitely a commitment and a constant cost in the oh so small freelance budget.

Resume

I have not found the perfect place to work yet. But having discovered the different options makes me more flexible to chose the location depending on the day. Some days I just want to be by myself and on other days I think some input from others could be great. Depending on how I feel I then move in between the different locations.

Let me know how you organize your freelance lifestyle. Do you have any questions you would like me to answer? Let me know in the comments below.

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Life is short, do what you love.

The reaction to a german newspaper article showed me that it´s time to talk about more than make-up on youtube. People are interested in receiving more information about how to listen to your intuition and how to create the life you want to live.

Organization is everything

Friday morning 7 a.m.

I am tired. Nevertheless, strict organization and discipline proved to be absolutely crucial to staying on track with my vision.

The reactions that reached me in the past couple of days showed me you guys have a LOT of questions of how I am spending my time and how I structure my work. The comments were not solely positive. However, all comments have the same root – curiosity. And that´s never a bad thing. That´s why I´d like to answer your questions and give you insights into my work/ life schedule wherever possible.

In terms of productivity, motivation and business know how I LOVE Marie Forleo! She is a famous business woman and talented youtuber who gives advice to people who want to build a life and business they love. Well, she´s certainly helped me and is my reliable good-night storyteller.

She also inspired me to follow a strict daily schedule. Changing habits takes time, but setting a goal for yourself is a good start. I am getting better and better at applying this routine.

7:00 to 8:00 Wake up and work out.

8:00 to 9:00 Shower, eat breakfast and get dressed

9:00 to 12:30 Work it! (no email! I suck at the no email part)

12:30 to 13:30 LUNCH LUNCH LUNCH

13:30 to 16:30 Work it, girl (or boy)

16:30 to 17:00 Break. Breath.

17:00 to 18:00 Work sprint. Now it´s also time to answer emails.

18:00 to 18:30 Finish up work and close shop

This schedule has been working great for me. Especially taking so much time for myself in the morning allows me to start my day with a completely different energy. I feel relaxed, balanced and full of energy in the mornings. This routine can also work great for you if you have a full time job. You might need to adjust the times a bit, but the structure generally stays the same. I will practice this routine some more and if you want I can give you a more detailled description of the tasks I work on in each segment.

Happy productivity!

Be yourself. Forget about the box.

Wednesday morning. My inbox is full. It´s filled with messages from strangers that resonated with what I had to say.

On saturday when the journalist called to ask for an interview on escapethecity.org my life was different. Well, not exactly. But my inbox wasn´t full at that time.

I had not completely grasped how connected our world is and how simple it can be to get in touch with people. There is a theory called the “small-world-phenomenon” describing that every person in this world is connected to any random person through less than 6 personal connections. Wow. And the internet makes getting in touch with people even simpler.

So here I am. My current lifestyle allows me to stay at home with my cold and to wear my pyjamas until noon while booking appointments for interviews and shootings as well as coming up with new photography projects. I love my life.

But life has not always been like that. Actually it has not been like that until just a couple of weeks ago when I finally decided to take action. I stopped fighting my inner gifts and talents. And I gave up on fitting into the box I had put myself into. I have come to the realization that it is not an external force that puts us into a box. Only when we give away our power – that´s when we feel stuck. Every one of us has his/ her own set of unique talents and gifts. We are here to do what we came here to do. There is no recipie.

So, I hope you love what you are doing. Because that´s the only thing we are here to do.

 

Pathetic!

Oh my life is taking dramatical turns ever since I don´t have internet at home. Does this sound pathetic? yeah… maybe a bit. But let me describe my day to you and you might understand. Or at least maybe develop some much needed empathy for me!?

When I got up I decided to carry my laptop with me because I have not been able to post on my projects blog since my last extended starbucks visit. Well, my laptop weighs like a ton – at least. And I´ve been walking around with paint and other heavy stuff in my bag for ages. When I finally was ready to settle down for the afternoon to write some blog posts I accidentally ended up in the wrong train. 2 hours later I was finally back in the city and went to the nearest starbucks. Crowded and full as usual.

Decided to go somewhere else. Balzac coffee – feel free to laugh here.

First question: do you have wifi?

Second question: Do you have food?

Well, they provided food and drinks. But only 30 minutes of free wifi. I think I am going to die. Beam me up, scotty!