Alone a lot? Yeah, me too. Let’s talk about how to manage being alone whether you’re working from home or otherwise homebound. This morning, I was speaking with a family friend, and she was booking in a time to see me (for work stuff). When are you next coming into town, she asked? Town, to clarify, is less than a 5-minute drive from my house. Maybe seven, on a busy day. But the reason she asked is that I’m well known for my home base setup. I run my business from home, eat, sleep, babysit, and entertain here (the majority of the time). I order groceries online, and when it comes to buying anything else, it’s usually delivered to my door in a box. Wine included. 

By design, I don’t get out much.

So, by default, I’ve become pretty good at being alone. Since I left my last paid employment, there are only a few of my clients that I would see regularly. Think monthly check-ins, usually. In the beginning, I would joke about getting my word count-out. Going from being in an office three or so days a week to being alone in my office at home was a change. Kel works pretty long hours too, so there’s rarely anyone around to speak to; unless you count me bailing up the postie.

But as time passed, I got better at being alone. I learned to make time for conversations with people I cared about. Sometimes that was just Kel at the end of a long, quiet day. Other times it was booking calls with clients or other people in my industry to talk about what was happening. This enabled me to have some interactions with people, without diverting from the entire purpose of my day.

That’s my first tip, reach out.

If you are missing people or having them around you, reach out to someone for a chat, a visit or lunch. I’ve even found that the back and forwards of a casual email can break up the loneliness of a day. Reach out and remind people you still exist. Because we work from home types sort of vanish otherwise. This goes for stay at home parents too. Whatever your cause for the current season of isolation, I hope you do this.

Another way that I manage being alone is to participate in the sort of events that other workplaces participate in. I celebrate and mark special days, even if I’m just buying myself something nice for morning tea or a better coffee. It helps me feel connected to other people when I otherwise really need to be focused on what I’m doing. I don’t leave the house, I have a plan for whatever I want to do, and at some point, I stop and enjoy that moment.

I’m still alone, but the shared experience is almost as good.

By jumping on the scrolling through a hashtag can go a long way to decreasing that need for interaction in the short term. It also gives me something to talk about or interact with if I want to do that later. I don’t know about you, but when I’m here in my office with only the walls, new information is hard to come by. Which is another thing I recommend to feel less alone, look for new information. In whatever form it comes in, new information is a great way to feel connected with others when you’re not physically with anyone.

I make time throughout the week to read through some of the links I save or the pins I’ve pinned. I devour articles, videos or podcasts from new sources. This keeps me connected to my creativity when there’s not a lot of ‘different’ happening around me. Do you feel like that sometimes? One thing I’ve certainly underestimated is how much being in the company of other people influences you in ever-changing, occasionally challenging, ways.

Being with other people is always new in some way.

Being alone can become very same-same if you’re not deliberately seeking out new stimulus. By constantly widening my circle of what I’m reading, watching or listening to, I find that makes up for the not-people-ing. Somewhat.

These tips have worked for me because I’m one of those extroverted introverts. I thrive on being with people and love to share conversation and meals and ideas with people. But it takes something for me to do that. It wears me out. Which is why the adaption to working alone has been an unusual one. I didn’t expect to miss the conversation. Nor did I expect to love being alone in my office as much as I do. Finding ways to seek connection while protecting what actually makes me productive and go at what I do has taken work. If that’s you too, I hope this post helps you manage being alone.

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