You are finally living your dream. Free from the 9-5 rush hour commute. No more scrambling on the train; no more edging into an already packed elevator.
You are at home. You are fortunate to have landed enough work to get by or do even better on your own. You have overcome the fear of letting go of the security of a regular paycheck.
Now you are sitting all alone at home on the couch or in your “office,” wondering why it’s so quiet all of a sudden. You miss the chatting near the water cooler, the office gossip.
But you step back and say to yourself, “I am happier than I was. I am free.” You add, “No one controls my time, only I do.” Yes, everything is right, but you still feel lonely.
Here are a few thoughts and ideas to get you out of the lonely planet, and still get the work done at your home office.
Read on, and see which ones work for you.
Meet friends for lunch
Yes, you can take a long lunch break now. You are a responsible individual and will not let the extended time spent at lunch lower your productivity. You have already planned what you have to do today.
Schedule a day of the week, pick a Wednesday, or any other. Remember, you are in control of your time. Okay, Wednesday sounds like a plan. Let’s go for lunch and chat.
You can have lunch with your significant other if they are available. Call a friend who is a stay-at-home mom or dad.
Call your entrepreneur friends. They must also be feeling lonely at times. Call them, set up a place and time. Have lunch, talk about business, politics, or anything that you want.
Lunch does not sound like a good idea; go for breakfast, or brunch, or a quick coffee. You are the master of your destiny.
Get together with a bunch of people. Just do it!
Join local meetup groups
A meetup [www.meetup.com] is a great place to find your peers and socialize.
You can make new friends, socialize, and widen your network.
If there are no meetups in your area or town, try to locate one nearby. If you want, you can start your own in your neighborhood.
You can also travel somewhere, near or far, once a month, or whenever you please, you are a free agent.
Make a family day
Take time off from your work and pick up the kids from school. Get ice cream with them. You have the privilege of working in your environment, make the best of it. Give quality time to your kids.
Take your kids, and their friends if you want, to a movie; go to the mall. The positive energy from them will give you a lift to go back and put in the required effort to get the work done. Your loneliness will dissipate,
The reason many folks prefer to work from home is that they can spend more time with their families. Keep this goal in mind. Remember not to do the opposite!
Take a walk
Ever thought of this? You are your boss. If you feel claustrophobic and confined, get going. Take a walk in the neighborhood. If you want, you can drive to a park and walk. The fresh air will do wonders.
Take your laptop with you to the park. Finish the article which is due today. You can sit on the bench, or the grass, or wherever it is safe, and work.
Brainstorming in the fresh air will give you ideas you never thought of before. It is easy to get connected to the internet from anywhere now. All you need is some essential equipment.
Do some housework
Here is a thought which may seem to some to be out of the box. If you are stuck with something, say, you have writer’s block, try this – get up and do some housework. The dishes in the sink may need to be washed or put in the dishwasher. There must be laundry you want to do. Or ironing. It may get rid of the wrinkles in your mind!
The lawn may need a little bit of tender loving care. Get up from your workplace and do some chores. It will get your mind out of work and give you a fresh perspective. Better still, your home will be a little cleaner, and your dishes will be done, you will have clean clothes in the wardrobe.
There is a caveat here. Don’t make this activity as an excuse not to do your work. You are taking a break from work, not getting out of it.
Call a Neighbor
Yet another out-of-the-box idea. But if you know your neighbor, give them a call, or ring their doorbell.
Chat with them for a few minutes in the yard. It will refresh you and get you back to work.
Whenever you feel stagnated, it is always a good idea to move. If you sit and wait for inspiration, it may be a very long wait.
Work in different locations
Sometimes a change of scenery is all that is needed to get rid of the loneliness. Even a seasoned lone wolf will agree to that.
You can work in different locations around the house. If you are working on the couch, try to move to the dining table and visa versa. You can also work on your bed. Hey, you can work anywhere you want.
If you try your local coffee shop, you may find folks working there too. It could become a working and networking excursion. I am sure you have seen independent contractors at coffee shops with their laptops and headphones, typing away at the keyboard. You could be one of them.
The library is another idea. Surrounded by the smell of books, within the silence of the library, you can pump out a few thousand words — if you are writing. Or any other work that you are doing.
The growth of the gig economy has led to the blooming of shared workspaces. Check them out on the internet and visit them. If it fits your budget, and you like the atmosphere, you have a new place to go and work.
By the way, on a lighter note, overhearing the office gossip may remind you why you decided to work from home anyway!
Get in touch with friends and family on social media.
If you feel that you will blow up if you don’t communicate, set a timer for an hour and hit the social media scene.
Make sure that you follow the timer. Once it rings, you are back at work. Social media can be an unwanted time killer. You don’t want to spend more time repenting if you know what I mean.
You can limit the number of messages you will send before getting back to the drawing board.
Get some fresh air
Inside the house or out of it, get some fresh air. If you live in an apartment with a balcony, you can spend some time looking down at the road below or stare into space. Whatever pleases you.
No balcony? Try standing by the window and staring out for a bit.
If you live in a house with a patio, take your computer with you, pull up a chair, and work on the patio. If it’s winter where you are, sit by a window. You get the point!
Make a few phone calls every day.
Go through your list of phone contacts. You can even create a spreadsheet and sort them into family, friends, business associates, etc.. Select folks whom you would like to call.
Call a few people from the list each day. Spend a few minutes of building relationships. Hey, you never know what can come out of a phone call.
Your friends and family will be happy that you are keeping in touch with them.
Keep reminding yourself why you opted to work from home in the first place. It is easy to get lost and question your decision. If you are happy, a quick recap of the pros and cons will get you back on track.
Think back to the time spent working in the job you did not like, and make a list of all the reasons you thought of at that time to quit your job and adopt this lifestyle.
Look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate the freedom of being in your PJs in the afternoon!
If you feel you need a formal environment today, get dressed, and work at your desk in your home office.
Loneliness can get to anyone at any time. Go ahead and do one or several of the activities discussed in the article. And, if you find something new, please share it with us.
Let us know how you are coping. Let’s spread the word around.