Everyone thinks working from home is the ideal work environment. You can work in your jammies and forget about the suit and tie. You’re all alone with no distractions. After a while though, all that alone time can actually be more distracting than an office full of whiners. How do you overcome the disconnection of working alone and still remain productive?
Dealing with that sense of disconnection was probably the furthest thing from your mind when you left that office job and decided to start your own home-based business. You were probably just glad to get away from all the office politics and gossip. But even if you’re the type who prefers to work solo, eventually you’re going experience some feelings of isolation. Here are some tips you can use to overcome the disconnection of working alone.
Realize the need
Like any good recovery program, before you can solve the problem you have to admit you have one. It’s important to realize that humans need human interaction. Admitting that you’re only human will alleviate the guilt you feel each time you try to step away from your desk.
Schedule down time
Believe me, I know how difficult it is to step away from your desk when you work alone and you’re a Type A personality. It does help to schedule activities that will force you to leave work behind, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Make a weekly hair appointment, schedule a weekly luncheon with a friend, volunteer in your community for a couple of hours a week. If it’s scheduled you’re more likely to get up from your desk and do it.
Seek out other local entrepreneurs
Find other locals who work at home and meet up for breakfast or coffee once a week. Or start a monthly book club or cocktail party that forces you all to come together once a month and socialize. They’re in the same boat you’re in. They also occasionally feel alone and isolated and need some human contact. So don’t feel hesitant to make the first move.
Offer your services
One of the big differences about being an entrepreneur is that now there’s nobody telling you what to do, filling up your work day with tasks they want you to accomplish. And when you don’t have anything to do, that’s when you start to feel alone and isolated and adrift without purpose. Take a look at the services you offer and come up with something new to add to the list and then start contacting your old clients to tell them about your new service. This will not only increase your business but it will help you establish more of a connection with your clients so you won’t feel so isolated and unappreciated.
Attend seminars and conferences
Every industry has its share of seminars and conferences. This is a great way to interact with other human beings and learn more about your business. While you’re there look for information about online forums or chat rooms that will help you network with other people in your field. As a plus, you’ll make a few new friends who share your pain.
There are entrepreneurs all over the world who all feel the same sense of disconnection and isolation. And you’ll find that most of them have a Facebook page or a Twitter account or they hang out in relevant forums or chat rooms. These online resources can be an invaluable tool for you to connect with other people to exchange ideas, give and receive emotional support, or even just gossip and chat about everyday life. If you can’t get out to meet people in person, then meeting them online is the next best thing.
These are all good tips but if you’re like me you just refuse to admit that you need human contact. Personally, I hate the thought of making appointments or setting up lunch dates. What if I’m working on something important and don’t want to stop?! And I find forums and chat rooms very distracting. Seminars aren’t possible right now because most in my industry are out of town and I have responsibilities at home. So what could I do to overcome the disconnection of working alone?
You could also have a dog! Having a dog forces you to get up from your desk a few times a day so you can take Fido for a walk, get him some water and food, or just toss a ball for a few minutes. Plus, a dog is a great listener who always agrees with you and never talks back.
This post was written by Sté Kerwer, the guy behind Dukeo.com. He blogs about affiliate marketing, making money online, email marketing, SEO, mindset for success, WordPress and a lot more. To read more about Sté you can either grab his RSS feed or follow him on Twitter @dukeo.