There's one thing all self-employed people and freelancers have in common: loneliness. When you work from home, you have much less contact with other people. It can feel worse if your previous job involved daily interaction with colleagues or clients. And it can be even more difficult if you're a sociable person. Not only does loneliness make you feel bad, it can lead to loss of your social dexterity and stunting of your interpersonal development. Silence is a breeding ground for introspection. But there are a few tricks to keep loneliness at bay while you work from home.
Work away from home
Not only does it combat loneliness, a change of location can actually give you a fresh perspective and spur your imagination- which can help you with the project you're working on! I firmly believe this. So take your laptop to a local library or coffee shop, and work there.
Choose the phone or Skype over emails
Making live phone calls helps freelancers with loneliness because it provides real-time human interaction. We didn't evolve to use email, text and instant messaging. Listening to a real human voice will soothe you-and keep your conversational skills from getting rusty. Skype is one of the most useful tools for people working from home, so use it. And instead of texting your friends or interacting with them on Facebook, call them.
Take work breaks
Remember how at university you were told to take study breaks? Working for hours with no breaks isn't great for your concentration or creativity, either. Take five. This is something I've learned over the past few years. Taking a break doesn't have to mean procrastination; use the time to think about what you're trying to achieve with this project or the purpose of the task. If you're less of a workaholic, try going out for a short walk.
Get out more often
Working from home means that you're always inside. And that's one of the main reasons you feel lonely-you're not getting enough interaction with the outside world. It's simple enough to fix this- eat out when you're having lunch, instead of cooking or getting a takeaway. You'll feel relaxed seeing other people and even if your social interaction is limited to the waiter or barista, it's better than nothing. Being around other people can break up the monotony of eating at your desk or in your kitchen.
Whether its yoga or karate, exercise can keep you mentally healthy as well as physically healthy. A gym is a great place to get your daily exercise and work out with a friend or group, and even if you're going on your own, you're still around other people.
Take time out
When you're self employed, you never clock in or out of the job. This can lead to workaholism or an erratic work schedule. A good way to avoid this is to schedule time away from work-and not just when you're hanging out with your friends. Make an 'appointment' with yourself to go shopping, go for a walk or see a film.
Don't work in silence
Hearing sounds is an easy way to block out the fact that you're alone while working from home. Taking short music breaks can inspire and energize you and make you more productive. For background noise while you're working, try easy listening music, chants or background noise apps and white noise generators.
Loneliness can be one of the biggest disadvantages of self-employment, but these tips will help you get rid of it. You'll see that working from home can be a rewarding experience and reap the benefits that being self-employed brings.
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