Becoming an independent professional is most people’s dream come true. You get to set your own hours, work from the comfort of your own home, and be your own boss. Still, all that time spent alone can also take an emotional toll, particularly for extroverts. It is easy to lose motivation and energy when you start to feel lonely.
To combat this danger, here is a list of some tips to keep independent professionals positive and motivated throughout their 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 with a lot of work to do, it may be time to give your day more structure. By creating a schedule for yourself – and then sticking to it – it becomes 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 more timely manner, leaving you more opportunities for time 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 a great example. There’s nothing quite like a quick jog around the block or a 20-minute ride on your stationary bike to boost your mood. Exercise gets your blood flowing, bringing energy and positivity back and making it easier to go back to work with a fresh outlook.
Just because you work independently doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit! Make a lunch date with a friend, or bounce business ideas off another independent colleague in a similar situation. Give a family member a phone call. Plan group outings on evenings and weekends. You could even start a support group for other local independent professionals who would all like to get together regularly. Be proactive about your social life during your free time, so that the time you spend working alone doesn’t seem oppressive.
It’s never too late to start a new hobby! 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 developing a new interest or hobby. Experiencing new things is also a great way to make new friends - and to get fresh inspiration when you get back to work.
If you’ve decided working alone just isn’t your thing, you don’t have to give up your freedom as an independent professional – far from it! Coworking spaces are everywhere now. These offices where independent professionals and virtual employees from every industry come together to do their own work in a communal setting are becoming more and more popular. Working around other people, while still being able to retain the independent lifestyle of a freelancer, makes these offices a great choice for those who love what they do, but miss the regular human contact of an office. Some co-working spaces are even geared towards independent buinesses in similar verticals, so you may be able to generate new business while simultaneously avoiding lonliness.
Whether you do a few push-ups or meet a friend for coffee, you’ll be refreshed and reenergized in no time, and ready to get back to doing what you do best.
News and notes for independent workers and their clients. This is the February 20, 2017 edition of The Weekly Independent from MBO Partners.
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