Beating the Work Alone Blues

One of the most difficult things for new entrepreneurs is the isolation that often accompanies launching a business. If you plan to work alone, you can head off the blues by incorporating these ideas into your schedule.

Know your own rhythms. Plan your working time to take advantage of your high-energy times and don’t push yourself during your low-energy periods. You’ll not only accomplish more, you’ll feel more harmonious and that, in turn, will keep you in touch emotionally as well.

Break up your day. Run errands, make phone calls, get away in the middle of your working day. Some self-bossers think running your own errands is a waste of valuable creative time. I disagree. A short change of scenery coupled with a bit of physical activity is energizing. You’ll return refreshed.

Create a Master Mind Group. This idea was first popularized by Napoleon Hill in his classic success handbook, Think and Grow Rich. Meeting regularly with a small group of enterprising people provides creative stimulation — and keeps you accountable.

Use background music. London-based needlework/knitting designer Kaffe Fassett spends long hours alone in his studio. He acknowledges the companionship of the BBC’s classical music station. I feel the same way about Minnesota Public Radio. Classical or instrumental music makes the best soundtrack for your work.

Leave some time unstructured. Being spontaneous is as important as being efficient. At least once a week, do something that’s a pure diversion. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, urges her readers to make an Artist’s Date once a week and use it to explore a place that stimulates creative thought. Daydreaming in your back yard is also wonderfully therapeutic.

Plan a collaboration. When she was in college, my daughter went to Europe by herself. She became an enthusiastic proponent of solo travel, although she frequently would spend a few days traveling with others she met on the way. When they tired of each other or had different destinations in mind, they parted ways. You can adopt this idea for your business. While you may not want a long-term partnership, you might find working on a project with another person rewarding and fun.

Attend seminars. While all self-bossers are in charge of their own growth and education, savvy ones know that there are fringe benefits in participating in programs designed for enterprising folks. You never know who you’ll meet.

Have a change of scenery. A temporary move can recharge your batteries. If you live in the city, take a walk in the country — and vice versa. Take your laptop to a coffee shop and work in a fresh place. If you feel stuck or worn out, put on your walking shoes and go to the mall. Being in the same place day in and day out can dull our creative spirit. Move it around.

Reward yourself. There’s a good reason why big companies have contests and prizes for achievement. When you’re on your own it’s equally important to plan ways to pat yourself on the back. When you’re in charge, the prize can be absolutely perfect.

There’s more where this came from.
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