Flying solo is FANTASTIC, right?
Most of you will agree that it is really hard work and you need to be a self-motivator. Ideally, you should also be well groomed in the department of strict discipline, as it can be very tempting to check out new music or little gadgets instead of working on your marketing strategy, as boring as it might sound in that very moment.
Working from home can give you immense freedom. You work to your own schedule, you’re not stuck in public transport like a tiny sardine being stuffed in a dark little tin can, left to its own device, and the occasional bully in every office simply cannot reach out to you. You’re safe from the new weird person in the office that started just recently and follows you like a shadow because you’re: nice. Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE being nice and I DO like weirdos as there is often more to somebody than meets the eye – it can just get a little overwhelming at times. Working from home, you can run around in your PJ’s all day long – well, at least the bottom half of it if you’re using Skype!
What about the isolation!
Hmmm, right. I never thought I’d actually ever be writing an article about this topic. The older I get, the more I’m longing for that ‘little shack on a lonely long beach’, coming with the whole package of breaking waves and singing whales. Self-explanatory. Funny, as being a hermit has never really been part of my genetic code even if I sometimes tried to convince myself of the opposite. I have actually, as a matter of fact, always been a vivid socialiser who flourished under the input of a busy and creative environment. I loved people and meeting lots of them (preferably all at once), engaging in conversations, exploring the newest of the newest and hanging out wherever the buzz was – whatever that always meant.
I still do. I guess we all are social animals to a certain degree. Even if the degree changes along the way. Somehow the human race is simply not programmed to be alone, no matter how hard we try to makes us believe otherwise.
Sitting in your office alone, day in and day out, can become very lonely. Even if you become creative in the process and start having an imaginary friend you talk to (nothing wrong with that!). It can become especially lonely when a short period of ‘nothingness’ sets in after having set up ‘shop’ in a frantic mode and after having survived on a minimum of sleep for something that felt like forever. The adrenaline ride wears off sooner or later.
Social media and phone calls just don’t make the cut. They do not replace being around somebody or having a coffee together whilst brainstorming. It cannot replace bouncing ideas, creative input and constant stimulation by a variety of often brilliant and entertaining minds interacting. It can also not replace that flying piece of paper targeting your head in an unexpected moment, or an irreplaceable colleague/friend cheering you up with a dance ‘like nobody’s watching’ whilst enduring an unmerciful complaint on the phone!
It’s just not the same.
In the same time there is always a different side to the coin and days as an employee aren’t always fun than more a sequence of compromises made. You have probably chosen to become self-employed for the right reasons and understand that those memories of the past have shaped the person you are today and invigorated you on taking the next step in your life.
It’s time to rebalance your life, create a fun and nurturing environment with great people YOU choose around you (in and out of the virtual office) and move to the next level of where you want to be long-term.
When I get the blues, I just take my laptop and work from a coffee-shop, the library or from a bench on a sunny day, if the project allows it. I make sure to get out each day at least once (although I have not perfected this one yet). I also do NOT work in my PJ’s as everything works along a mindset (sad but true) – you’re still going to work, even if you don’t leave the house in the morning. The best way to preserve the motivation is to treat it as such.
I try to keep my brain working by networking (the unconventional type), getting out of my comfort zone, tackling things I’m not that good at but have to be and sign up for some courses here and there to keep the beat going. It can be an incredible breath of fresh air and very energising to learn something new. Regularly exercising should be somewhere in the list as well but I’m currently working on that one, too.
Keeping a healthy mindset by being organised, knowing your strengths and weaknesses (and tackle them), knowing what makes you tick AND being disciplined of getting the work stuff done will actually enable you to enjoy the freedom of working for yourself, being flexible and having more work/life balance (as trendy as it might sound).
And on days all these strategies do not work: I just take a day off, if I can, and start afresh on another day.
THAT’S the freedom of flying solo!