Becoming an independent professional is many people’s dream come true. You get to set your own hours, work where you like, and be your own boss. However, all that time spent alone can quickly take an emotional toll and it’s easy to lose motivation and energy when you start to feel lonely.
If you miss the social interaction and accountability of an office environment, follow these five tips to stay positive and motivated throughout your workday.
Many independents love the freedom of working without a set schedule, but if you find yourself feeling listless and lethargic during the day, even if you have a lot of work to do, you may need to give your day more structure. By creating a schedule—and sticking to it—it will become easier to focus on the work at hand rather than letting loneliness bring you down. And as an added bonus, you’ll get your work done in a timelier manner, leaving you with more time to spend with friends or family.
When working alone, it can be difficult to separate business time from personal time, so it’s important to keep a good balance. Exercise is one great example. There’s nothing quite like a quick walk around the block or 20-minute ride on a stationary bike to boost your mood. Exercise gets your blood flowing, bringing you energy and positivity, and making it easier to go back to work with a fresh outlook. Be sure to set aside time in your schedule each day to do something you enjoy that isn’t work-related.
Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. Make a lunch date with a friend or schedule a coffee break with another independent worker who you can bounce business ideas off of. Give a family member a phone call, or plan group outings on evenings and weekends. Running your own business takes a lot of time and energy, but don’t forget to give yourself some free time and be proactive about your social life in the hours you have off. That way, the time you spend working alone will feel less lonely and you’ll always have something to look forward to at the end of the workday.
As an independent, you already know that it’s never too late to try something new. Spending too much time working alone can cause your thoughts to circle around the same few topics over and over again—and that can be draining. Give your mind something new to think about by trying out a new interest or hobby. Experiencing new things is also a great way to meet new friends and get fresh inspiration when you return to work.
If working alone just isn’t your thing, you don’t have to give up your freedom as an independent professional—far from it! There are many alternative options to working from home. One option you may want to consider is coworking. Coworking spaces are offices where independents and remote employees come together to do their own work in a communal setting. Working around other people while still being able to retain the independent lifestyle you enjoy makes coworking spaces a great choice for those who love what they do but miss the regular human contact of an office.
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Enjoy the benefits of working independently and operate at peak productivity when you’re back in the office through work-life integration.