My first attempt working at home was in the early 1990’s. My husband was offered a promotion and transfer to my hometown of Philadelphia. My entire family is there. How could I say “no”? I was a partner in a startup public relations company. I bought a brand new computer, learned to use a modem, and started packing.
Things were very different then. Few used e-mail, no PDA’s, no iPods. But for me, the biggest obstacle to my success was not technology. It was solitude. There was no one to say “good morning” to.
At about 8am I wandered around the house looking for the start of the day and could not find it. I’d always had people to talk to, meetings to attend, and deadlines to meet. I’d get up, get showered and get in the car to head to work. Once there, I’d get coffee, chat with everyone, and start the day.
Alone at home, I needed a strategy to get the work day started. So I decided to get up and get out like always. I went out for a cup of coffee in the morning so I could see other people and interact. The local Wawa store had decent coffee, was my place to say “good morning,” and sometimes even have a pleasant conversation. Once I arrived back at home, I could sit down at my desk, call the office, and start the work day.
Blogger Dale shares the same problem. She needs to combat the loneliness of working at home.
Here’s my advice: No matter what you are trying to accomplish, ROUTINE seems to be a central element of the answer. People needing to workout are encouraged to do so every day at the same time. People hoping to lose weight are told to eat similar meals at certain intervals daily. People who work at home need a routine too—especially to get the day off to a productive start. Whatever makes sense for your business and your lifestyle, make it a regular practice. Maybe your day needs to start with people; maybe your day needs to start with a high energy breakfast or taking the dog for a walk. Start each work session with the same tasks–perhaps by checking your calendar, answering e-mails or reviewing the work you did during your last session. Create a routine for yourself and keep with it. It takes repeating a routine everyday for about a month before it becomes a habit.
Many other people have written about abating the blues when you work at home. I found a couple worth sharing: Laura Koss-Feder offers tips for fighting isolation and Ann Rusnak also gives it some ink. For the most part, they talk about getting involved with other people through your local chamber of commerce, or trade organizations related to your field of endeavor. This is a great strategy for building your business as well.