Tips for freelancers: take a shower

March 20, 2008 life 3 min read

While we’re not exactly freelancers at Collective Idea, we operate very much like freelancers; we are contractors that work mostly out of our homes on client projects. We share many of the benefits that freelancers enjoy, and experience many of the same challenges. In the coming days and maybe weeks, I will try to post some of the things I’ve found helpful from personal experience.

Seriously, take a shower, every day! Not only that, but take a shower first thing in the morning.

Working from home, it’s easy to get into the habit of stumbling out of bed, occasionally making a quick pass through the kitchen, and plopping down right at your desk. There were often days weeks where I would go straight from bed to my office and start working, not pausing to shower until mid-morning, noon, or sometimes even after work.

I’ve found that showering early in the morning has been helpful for several reasons:

  1. Consistency: We are creatures of habit, and that is a good thing. We live in natural rhythms, and the beats that we move to are important for productivity. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.
  2. Transition: When I first started working from home, what I missed the most was the drive or walk from home to work, and back again. Without it, I found it very difficult to make the mental transition from personal life to professional life. The two would often blur and I would spend the first half of my day distracted by personal matters while I was consumed by work in the evenings. Showering has become my morning transition. I take care of personal matters when I wake up–breakfast, bills, laundry, etc–and begin working immediately after I shower and get dressed.
  3. Freshness: water is very refreshing, both physically and mentally. While I’m not one of them, many people find that they do their most creative thinking in the shower. But I do find that after I shower I’m very refreshed and sharp.

So there you have it: proper hygiene is as important for your professional life as it is for your personal life.

Up next: you’re a professional, show it with your hours.

This post is somewhat different from the typical format of this blog, so I’d love to hear your feedback. Also, I’m interested in any tips you may have as a freelancer or independent consultant. Send me an email or post your tips in the comments.

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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.