I love working from home. I love the freedom, the control over my own schedule, and the fact that I get to spend my days doing what I love. It can be hard somedays though not to feel a little lonely - spending the majority of your time working by yourself isn't always the best for a healthy and happy mind. So recently I've been making a big effort to adjust my routine so that it takes into consideration my need to escape the cabin fever and quiet that can sometimes be too much when you work from home, and I thought I'd share my best advice today for any fellow work-from-homers...
Get out of the house Sounds pretty obvious, but getting out of the house within your work week is a must. I try and head out and work from a coffee shop in town two or three days a week as well as having working days with Rebecca as often as possible. If your work can be portable - thankfully all I really need is my MacBook and wifi connection - then just heading out to your nearest town to be around people and fresh air does you the world of good. I actually wrote a piece on ALO recently about Finding The Best Place To Work and talked through some places we can work if we want to get out of the house more.
Connect with others When you work for yourself it can be hard to replace those awesome connections we find when we work within a team or organisation. Thankfully I have Rebecca to talk to all day and I'd feel pretty lost without her, and finding people in your industry to connect with and talk to throughout the day when you just need a break or human contact is a must. I try and catch up with my friends in the week when possible, and I also see Grace most weeks for coffee dates which is awesome. If you're an introvert like me it can be hard to find your tribe and the right people for you, but opening yourself up to those connections means hopefully you'll find your people along the way.
Have some background noise Rattling around a quiet and empty house can be a bit too much somedays, so for me that's where background noise comes in. Coffitivity is awesome for just that - it's a web tool that recreates the background sounds of a coffee shop. For me I find it a better background noise than something like music or TV as they tend to distract me - though on very lazy days when I'm just doing something tedious like admin I will indulge in a little Netflix. You can also listen to podcasts, the radio, or watch YouTube videos - but I find when I'm trying to create content or work on client work, something unassuming like Coffitivity is the best thing for me.
Be okay with being alone When you work from home you can't always avoid actually being alone. As much as I love heading into town and working from a coffee shop, sometimes a day spent hunched over my desk is necessary and I may not have the time to get outside and engage with people until Alex gets home from work. I actually really love time by myself on the most part, and most days I really don't mind time alone, but if you're struggling my best advice would be to find ways to be happier in your own company. Whether it's little daily rituals to help you enjoy your schedule more, or maybe like me having pets around as they really do make every day better.
All in all, what I'm learning is that it's all about finding a healthy balance. Spending my week between my desk at home and various corners of coffee shops in Manchester seems to be working for me, and I think it all comes down to finding what works best for you and your work flow.
If you work from home, how do you handle feeling lonely sometimes?
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