Working from home as a freelancer makes it really easy to ignore things like showers or getting dressed for example. That’s part of the appeal of freelancing though, right? I mean, why else do this work if you can’t sit at your computer in your pajamas all day? For some people that works, but I have found that just because your commute is just a few steps doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t “get ready for work” like you did before freelancing.
Taking a shower, having some breakfast and a drinking your morning coffee are important parts of getting a start to your day. They’re refreshing and energizing routines to get you motivated to do what you have to do. But I feel the absolute biggest thing, the part that can make or break your day, is dressing properly.
Dress for Success
You should be doing is getting dressed in clothes that you’d wear to a job. Not saying you have to wear a suit and tie every day, but you should dress appropriately. But sweatpants and a stained t-shirt isn’t going to cut it in the workplace, and it shouldn’t cut it in your home office.
If you’re just working from home for the day though why wear appropriate clothes? It’s not impressing anybody and it just leads to more laundry, and doing laundry sucks. These things are true, but it’s not really about impressing other people, it’s about feeling good about ourselves.
Let’s be honest, dressing in presentable clothes makes us feel good about ourselves. There is a lot of research that says how you dress affects your mood. Your mood can affect how productive you are. If you are in a good mood and you’re feeling great about yourself you will be far more productive. Conversely, if you’re feeling unmotivated and unhappy you’re not going to get quite as much done. Wouldn’t it make sense to do what will yield the best productivity?
Yes, there are an infinite number of other factors that affect mood and thus productivity, but this is one factor that can be so easily changed. If you’re feeling down and unproductive and you don’t know why, take a look at what you’re wearing and you might find something that simple is keeping you down.
If you think this is just a bunch of silliness take a look at color theory. As designers we know and understand how colors, alone and in various combinations, can evoke different emotions. These seemingly simple things affect us on a subconscious level, but they do influence us.
Aside from improving mood and self-esteem, wearing real clothing makes it much easier to get out rather than stay holed up in your office. It's much more tempting to take a break and get outside for a walk and some fresh air. Also, you're more likely to want to get out and socialize with friends. You've already made the effort of preparing yourself to be publicly presentable, it ends up feeling like a waste to not at least get to the outside world.