How to Stay Sane When You Work Alone All the Time (Our Tip? – Don’t!)

I recently read an article that rang true so loudly that I had to share it. 

The author, Jocelyn K. Glei stated that  “it’s not healthy to spend too much time in the confines of your own mind. Or, for that matter, alone in your home office” … and I could not agree more!

Emphasizing that freelancers, remote workers and entrepreneurs have more “bleed between work and life” than anyone else, they have a harder time with focus and professional development. So, she gives some suggestions to indy workers. Great suggestions, but I would like to take it a bit further, offering some more innovative solutions for lonely, unproductive souls.

1. Create a “shut-down” ritual to close out your workday.

“The flipside of the work-from-home challenge is that you can never truly leave the office behind. But if you want to stay motivated to tackle that to-do list we just talked about, you need some hard edges in your day.”

AMEN! Never in my “mghghmh” years of employment (that was the sound of me coughing) have I been able to shut-down. Half the people that come in to our new coworking community for a trial day say they feel like they can never leave work. Well, when your dining room table is your desk and you rarely actually pack up your computer, where it the line? Being in a coworking environment and having a place to crank out the work and stay motivated, you can!  Do I take my computer home? Sometimes, but I don’t take my cord so if I must get on, I have 45 minutes MAX.

2. Put on your work costume.

Not sure what it is but I do my best thinking in the shower and while I tame my erratic hair with the blow dryer and flat iron. It is one of the few times during the day I can’t really multitask and it gives me time to gather myself for the day (and wake up). When you get ready for work, even if that involves donning flip flops and cargo shorts, you are prepping for productivity. Around coworking communities, you will see a wide range of outfits and will occasionally hear greetings like “Oooh! Michael’s got his big-boy clothes on. Big meeting today?”. Whatever your gear, it is hard to have your game face on without sporting your colors.

3. Schedule regular playdates.

The benefits of “cross-pollinating ideas, building your network, and getting out of your own bubble” cannot be emphasized too much. Having your dog be the only one around to do a presentation dress rehearsal isn’t too helpful, and don’t get me started on how much they suck at helping to proof read a proposal! The spoils of serendipitous collisions alone make coworking invaluable. Furthermore, most successful coworking communities have someone who coordinates visitor-friendly learning and networking events and even eggs on members to have a regular Friday lunch outing. Whether formal or informal, just being in a coworking environment, as opposed to the anonymity of a coffee shop, offers limitless personal and business development opportunities … when you make an effort to take advantage of them.

4. Find an accountability partner.

Jocelyn encourages folks to announce your intentions publicly. While it is great to have something formal with a mentor or accountability partner, many of us have scattered lives that make that difficult. The next best thing … having a coworking community manager that greets you with “Wha chu got going today?”, checks in with you when you don’t come in on what may be your regular day, or provides just the resources you need to jump start your work day. Maybe you connect with (or end up working with) another professional that asks about your progress on a particular project. Whatever form it comes in, coworking can help the freelancing lone wolf keep on track and often get the direction (and the kick in the pants) needed to get stuff done.

5. Set aside designated “lazy time”.

I don’t do well with “lazy time” cause if I stop, I pass out like the narcoleptic girl on Deuce Bigalow. What we do believe in here in the world of coworking is taking a quick break to wake up your body, mind and spirit. Working at home, I often used to totally work through lunch and realize I hadn’t gotten up in hours. Be it a lap around the block (in our historic downtown district), 10 minutes on our backyard basketball court, or even some office yoga that we learned from one of our members, a productive and invigorating break can spark your productivity and creativity, especially when you do it with a coworker!


For some folks, you have to work from home. If you aren’t chained to your home office, we highly suggest you try out coworking. You will not only avoid insanity (not that there is anything wrong with that), your business will thrive as well!


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