What's your Meyers-Briggs Personality Type? Mine is ENFP - which stands for Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. In other words, I am a sensitive Extrovert who loves being out and about in the world, around people. Does this sound like you, too? I know quite a few bloggers and small business owners who hate to feel isolated, alone - they get their energy from others!
Creating your own business and working for yourself can be a strange dichotomy of networking and loneliness. Working for yourself, telecommuting, or working as a free agent with no ties can seem like a chaotic, unstructured mess - especially for extroverts, who like to work with other people. So how can you work from home as an extrovert, without feeling like you're going crazy? Here are some of my tips for keeping your sanity and making the situation work for you:
1. Find a co-working space - or at the very least, an excellent coffee shop with a good wi-fi signal! Sometimes, just feeling the energy of having other people around you can be a big help. And, there's the chance that you might meet new people, have the chance to network or strike up a conversation with a stranger.
2. Connect online with other bloggers, small business owners, and work-from-home-ers! There are plenty of Facebook groups and Google Hangouts for people working in your field, whatever it may be. Make some new friends the new-fashioned way...online! And chat them up over Facebook whenever you need advice, opinions, or a quick human connection. ;)
3. Make your home office beautiful. Whether it is your kitchen table, a corner of your bedroom, or a studio space dedicated to your work, make sure it reflects you! Keep plants and flowers around and take good care of them; hang inspiration, art, and positive quotes; keep the area clear of clutter; and make sure everything you need is within reach.
4. Bring the outdoors in. Open your windows and curtains, soak up the sunshine and breeze, and make sure your getting some Vitamin D.
5. Take the time to get yourself ready for the day. When you wake up, keep a morning routine. Make yourself coffee, get showered and dressed nice, do your hair. I know that when I'm wearing pajamas, haven't eaten anything, and haven't brushed my teeth, I feel way more sluggish and unmotivated! Keeping a routine and getting yourself spruced up can make you feel more confident, alert, and productive.
6. Take frequent breaks to go outside. I recommend once every 2 hours - take a short walk, grab a cup of tea from a shop, have lunch with a friend. Getting out into the world is the best source of inspiration anyway!
7. Set your workday's hours. You can start and end whenever you want, but try to make it the same time every day. Don't work more than 8 hours in a day if you can help it! Keeping a work-life balance is very important, so keeping your workday separate from your home life, even when they can seem like the same thing, can be really helpful. If you start working at 10am and end at 6pm every day, set an alarm and make sure you stick to those hours. And try not to work on the weekends!
8. Make after-work plans. Grab drinks with a friend, go see a gallery opening, volunteer, or see a concert. Just because you work from home doesn't mean you can't be an active and social member of your community.
9. Join a trade organization, meet up group, or similar organization in your area. Some good ones are: Creative Mornings, Wake & Shake, Crafting Outlaws, The Blogcademy, etc.
10. Listen to yourself. If you need a break, some human interaction, or decide the working from home actually isn't for you, listen to your own needs and make the change you need.