Oh, how we love the ‘laptop lifestyle’ and all the freedom that comes with it. Digital nomads enjoy no set hours, no desk, and no colleagues. But hang on, no colleagues? Who do you chat with over the coffee machine or share your thoughts on the latest project? Missing that daily dose of human interaction can easily lead to a feeling of loneliness, the most common side effect of being a mobile worker.
So, how do you keep firing on all cylinders when the laptop lifestyle leaves you feeling lonely?
Hooray! You’ve broken free from the chains of the corporate world… and it feels good. Now you can meet a friend for a coffee, a run, a brainstorm session, or a long lunch anytime you want. Or can you? With most other workers still on the corporate treadmill, it can be hard to find someone who’s able to meet up at the drop of a hat. And that can be a bit of a downer.
Does loneliness have an impact?
Loneliness comes from not being around the right people. Sure you’re still interacting with others, but if you’re not connecting with people who boost your motivation, you may as well be all on your own. Without the right kind of interactions, it’s easy for loneliness to creep in. And this makes it harder to stay motivated, stay productive and even deal with the little knocks or setbacks that are so often a part of daily working life.
If you work on your own or charge by the hour, staying productive is key to making this solo career malarkey pay off.
So, how do you stay productive and avoid feeling lonely if you’re working remotely or working for yourself?
Here are some of our best techniques for beating the blues.
Create a real or virtual co-working group
Shared workspaces are popping up everywhere and are the perfect way to beat the loneliness blues. Enhance the experience by creating mentoring sessions with co-workers. It can be a great way to make yourself accountable for your time and goals. Co-working groups work just as well in the virtual environment. Join a group on Google + or Facebook for like-minded workers and check in each morning. Set intentions for the day and even take a ‘virtual work break’ together.
Join industry groups
Do the research and track down some groups or associations in your town that are relevant to your industry. This can be a great way to get inspired by people who are doing great things in your field.
Find a mentor or coach
It never hurts to talk to someone who has been there done that. A mentor or coach can show you how you can achieve your goals when you’re out on your own. As well as providing valuable advice, a mentor is someone you can talk openly and honestly with.
Connect any way you can
If you have colleagues in other time zones, make an effort to meet up on Skype or video conference calls. Make it a weekly (or daily) thing, and you will quickly see the benefits that a bit of human interaction can bring. Another great way to connect is to pick up the phone and talk to clients or collaborators. Not only will you benefit from the connection, but you’ll also get some great feedback on how you're performing.
Sweat it out
Staring at a computer screen all day long without any distractions is a motivation killer for even the most dedicated worker. Take a break from the screen and do some exercise. The release of endorphins will boost your mood and help you overcome the trickiest of situations. Make a commitment to daily exercise, and you’ll keep your brainpower and motivation in top condition.
Even if you don’t feel that you are lonely now, why not put some of these techniques into action as a safety net. Prevention is better than cure, after all.
If you spend most days at home with only your laptop for company why not switch things up a bit and get out and connect with others. You may find it has a huge impact on your productivity and your mood.
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