Do you work from from home, alone?
One minute it seems awesome, flexible and calm the next minute your lonely, stressed about the mess/dirt (that you can now see surrounding you because you feel like you never leave your house) and your bored with your own company.!
Personally, I DO love that i can have my music on or off, I can wear whatever I want, it is quiet when I need to concentrate, I can just jump straight into ‘the zone’ without any extra chat, and then if my house is full of children or adults I can still finish a few projects to the hum of noise, I can pop in and out as I please, I can switch off if I magically get my work all done, and there is no judgement from the walls in my house! I also love that if the kids are sick on my ‘home work days’ it’s not a problem for them to rest in bed while I work (and sneak cuddles).
I do NOT love that I can see the bedrooms that need cleaning, the bench that has dishes to be put away, the floor that needs vacuuming, people sometimes pop around while I am working - confusing me being at home working with me being free for a chat because I am home, and the lack of people to bounce ideas off, and to pull energy from.
I did, however notice my own mental health started to become a little ‘un-well’ a while back, and after a fair whack of self analysis I realised it came down to working at home, alone. I ignored it for a while and tried to hang out with friends more, but everyone is also working, so it isn’t quite as easy as that! Plus with a young family to look after, time with them is at the top of the priority list after 330pm each day!
I had a good chat with myself and decided to reach out, and was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to spend 2 days a week working as a personal and group coach with other great coaches and awesome clients. This ticks all the boxes for laughter, banter, idea sharing and uplifting the spirits.
This has literally changed my mental health hugely - and I think it is really important to share, because if you are home alone all day working and not being forced out into the big wide world then you are not getting that human connection that we all need and desire so much!
Sure, it’s not so easy to find a role as flexible as I have managed to, but if you put it out into the universe you never know what might happen!
That is literally what I did. I accepted my situation and sent it out to the universe.
That week I received a phone call asking me if I would like to be a virtual health coach contracted to a business that is affiliated with GP’s throughout NZ. What the heck?! crazy right?! So I jumped at that opportunity and now also have an online team that I meet with every 2 weeks (this is with my health coaching role for Melon health) which is awesome. Majority of them are in the North Island, and it is great being able to banter and be productive via the screen. Technology for the win in these situations.
So now, on my admin days/online client days, I sure do love working from home alone.
It’s been a journey to get the balance right, but acceptance was key. So that is I wanted to share my journey to some form of balance and some tips to keep the brain happy, emotions at bay, and loneliness, boredom and lack of motivation minimal.
Make sure you have a ‘work station’ where you will always work from. This is your desk, your space to leave lists, papers, invoices etc. Or if you move around, have a set bag/folder that travels with you for work.
Ensure you get dressed (anything goes, but just not what you slept in!) before you hit the laptop.
Clean up briefly in the morning, just as you would if you were headed out for the day, just do the necessary (make beds, clean up dishes, throw washing in machine and on etc)
Walk to letterbox/walk kids to school/bike around block/go grab a takeaway coffee/post a letter/run an errand all before you come back into your house (just as if you were entering an office) to work.
Have a set time that you start work each day - discipline peeps, that’s all that is.
Water bottle on desk, snacks can be beside you, but don’t keep walking to fridge throughout the morning, you gotta work sista!
Avoid social media, turn notifications off and focus purely on work, don’t get caught scrolling for life, it is not helping you in any way!
Take proper lunch break, call a friend or family member/send or reply to messages, sit down to eat your lunch away from your work desk.
I always head out for a break with my dog to re group, get some sunshine on my face, get the blood pumping and just to remember there is more to the world than just my house! You could set this time up as your daily break and meet a friend at this time too (just for the time allocated though!)
Schedule your days, don’t just send it out into the wind that you have to work - ensure you are actually working. Save errands for evenings, your lunch break or weekends.
Head out for your exercise (be it climbing, biking, gym, swim or run group, or family walk) as usual, schedule this into your diary too, and make it non negotiable.
While out walking I might listen to a podcast relevant to work or make phone calls for work at this time, utilise this time efficiently so you know you are still ‘working’ but you are also rewarding yourself for a disciplined day so far.
Have a finishing time for work for the day, then get to work on the ‘house duties’, and walk away from the zone where you work fro, e.g my office is in my house, I shut the door to it when I am not working, so i don’t feel magnetically pulled back in to do more work.
Discipline, discipline is where it’s at. Treat it like you are going to your ‘office’ and set some expectations of yourself to get your work done before you play…it’s great having flexibility but you need to navigate your week so that you still get all of the work done. Sometimes its a bit of give and take.
Do you have anymore to add? I am sure I have forgotten something important! Please comment with any other awesome ideas you have or feelings you have around working from home alone, so we can support each other.
With that said, it’s time for me to take a brain break…let’s go pooch :-)