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So, there’s office banter, camaraderie and the odd jape but there are also people stealing your yoghurt, the co-worker with terrible personal hygiene and The. Boss. From. Hell.

The 9 to 5 office life is good, it’s great, but it has its limitations, which is probably the reason why you ditched Steve and his bad breath and opted for life as a freelancer, setting your own hours, working from the comfort of your own home and decidedly not stealing your own yoghurt.

But leaving it does bring with it its own challenges; not enough to make you return to the cubicle but enough that it’s not the breeze others might assume it is. You know what I’m talking about: managing awkward clients, having zero back up and bringing your A-Game to a project every single time because you’re only ever as good as your last review. All that without even having to mention the constant hustle for work and feeling that maybe you’re not quite doing your marketing right. It can be exhausting.

That’s why, of course, networks were invented; online communities where freelancers can go to cry into their virtual lattes over the client that refuses to pay that invoice and where they’ll get sympathy but also very practical support. Without our networks, we would be left floundering in freelancer purgatory, which sounds rather lonely, cold and distinctly lacking in hot beverages.

We also have tech. We love tech, especially tech we can claim the VAT back on at the end of the financial year because it’s essential to our business. Yes Alexa, you are essential. And, in fact, for many of us, she probably is. We’re not just talking about choosing the best Spotify playlist to accompany our morning work but scheduling appointments, setting up reminders and so on. OK, it may not be essential, but it really helps and anything that makes work easier is to be welcomed.

Alexa aside, there are some incredible advances going on in the world of technology, geared at not only making our working lives easier but helping us stay healthier while we’re doing it. Check out the Lumie Lamp.

This lovely little light already has versions that help treat acne and combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and also offers something called the Bodyclock wake-up light. They’re not cheap but what they do is produce light and colour that mimics a real sunrise, the idea being that you wake up more naturally, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your non-paying client.

This, in turn, will boost your mood, give you more energy and turn you into a more productive person. As an added extra, the clock allows you to add your own sleeping and waking sound effects. So, if the sound of rolling thunder sends you off to the land of Nod, you’re in luck and if waking up to bleating goats sounds tempting, the Lumie Lamp is for you.

If you’re looking for a device that is basically a bossy aunt in tech form, check out the Lumo Lift. This nifty little sensor is worn under clothes near your shoulder. In conjunction with an iOS and Android compatible App, the Lumo Lift keeps track of all your activity from steps to estimated calorie burn but, of specific interest to freelancers, it keeps an eye on your posture. We all know that we need a desk chair that supports us and keeps us upright but so many of us work from sofas, beds or dining chairs that just don’t do the job. You know you’ll want to keep the Lumo Lift happy by earning good posture points, awarded for every minute you stay in the right position.

You’re a freelancer, you are probably addicted to coffee. It’s just a fact, we can all live with it. But did you know that up to 33 hours every year are wasted waiting for kettles to boil? What shall we do about this? We shall buy the Smarter iKettle. What’s nice about this kettle is that it looks great. If you’re a design fan, then you’d consider splashing out for the smooth chrome finish alone but it’s more than just a pretty face.

Connect the iKettle to your phone via the App and set it to the perfect boiling temperature, timed to come on just as you wake up in the morning. You can literally set it to boil from anywhere and naturally, it will fit right into your Internet of Things by hooking up with Alexa and being a voice command away. What might be more useful is the fact that you can set it to different temperatures, perfect if you need it slightly less than scalding, and it has a keep warm function.

Being your own boss is great and it pays the bills, sometimes, but it can feel like you’re on your own so much of the time. A few little gadgets that make life just feel easier aren’t really too much to ask for now, are they? Ask Alexa, she’ll probably agree.

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