I have heard a lot of people tell me how boring it must be to work alone at home without anyone to talk to. I have told them that it’s not always the case. It isn’t boring when you know you can get to carry out tasks on your own without someone heckling about.
If you’re not used to working with no people around, then it takes a lot of getting used to. But if you are, you’ll find that freelancing is quite as great as any other job. However, getting the hang of being on your own can be a lonely path.
Reports had it that a lot of freelancers in the past couple of years have been struggling with the feeling of isolation. It’s not surprising because it’s more comfortable when you work alone, from home, and don’t have to be around a lot of people who can bring in so much distraction.
But when you start feeling that the walls are closing in, and you think you’ve transformed into a hermit that you don’t recognise yourself any longer, perhaps it’s time you find a way out of your cave and see the world. Loneliness can bring your productivity down the drain, and before you knew it, everything you’ve been happy about freelancing can just be gone because you feel alone. Here are a few things you can do to get rid of that isolated feeling.
Work on a schedule.
This is one of the best things about freelancing: you have the freedom and total control of your time. You can manage what you need to do and what you want to at a given period. That perk is the same setback in itself though. Sometimes you just get engrossed with what you’re working on, you lost track of time. Just the same as working in the corporate world, work-life balance is crucial. Set a particular time for work and some time for yourself after or in between. Getting a schedule sorted will allow you to still enjoy the outside world – catch up with the people you care about and then some.
I personally have just started doing this again. I set roughly for our five hours a day working on my projects. Afterwards, I’m off to do run some errands, have coffee at the nearest shop in the neighbourhood, and catch up with friends over the weekend. It doesn’t just help get rid of the feeling of isolation; you also get a lot of opinions and ideas outside what you’re supposed to do. It refreshes your mind and your mood.
Keep in touch.
Just because you chose to work at home does not mean you’re not going to talk to your friends and family. Make an effort to keep in touch. Meet a friend later in the day to spend some time with. Make dinner for your family and friends or have a regular date night with your partner. You can even go out there and meet new friends. If you happen to have been collaborating with a fellow freelancer nearby, you might want to connect with them. It is really tempting to just stay in front of the computer all day and all week long, everybody needs a real person to connect with every now and then.
Convert a section at home to a shared working space.
It helps with productivity and setting the mood, especially if you like the feeling of working in a conventional office. More so, you can consider sharing a working space with a fellow freelancer, whether you’re working on the same project or not. You can set up a space at home with a couple of computers or a network station for a peer to plug their laptop in. You can even arrange to work with them in their space at home, too. Don’t forget the coffee, or anything to nibble for that matter.
As soon as your scheduled working hours are done, do something to unwind and relax. Read a book, cook, play the piano, watch a movie, catch up on your favourite programmes on the telly, and anything you feel like doing besides work. You can go back to the things you used to fancy or find new ones to refresh your mind. Even working at home can be tricky and stressful, too, so make sure there’s something to distract you from it.
The world is big, don’t make it smaller just because.
Get out of the house every now and then. Run regular errands. Find something you could save for and buy at the mall. Swim a few laps at the pool near your place. Have a couple of drinks. Changing your surroundings can help get your senses up and recharge. If you’re bored out of your wits at home that you can’t get any work done, pack your stuff, and work somewhere else. You can go to the nearest coffee shop where there’s free wifi, a library, or the nearest park. If your budget allows you to, you might want to check in a hotel and enjoy their facilities there. It helps get a lot of work done.
If freelancing for you does get boring and lonely, proving what your friends say about it true, then the choice is yours, Maybe it’s about time you do something and get rid of that isolated feeling. You can by managing your time to have a good work-life-social interaction balance.