Today we are talking about ways to fight the loneliness of working from home.
I feel like I’ve seen a lot of posts about how to be more productive, when working from home, how, to get more done, how to stay focused, yada, yada, yada. But I don’t think I’ve seen anything about fighting loneliness.
I think that maybe because a lot of the blogs that I read to and the podcast that I listened to are from people who maybe live with a significant other or a roommate or family, but I actually live alone, which I love. And that means that I can work at my computer all day and then make dinner and watch TV or whatever I do. And I’m just like, that’s it like no one’s coming over, at least not like on a regular daily basis right now. And so I think for people in that category who maybe work from home and their whole day has them at home by themselves, maybe they go running errands, maybe they go work out, but for the most part, there’s really no human interaction. I wanted to share some tips on the things that I do to kind of deal with the loneliness of working from home.
Now huge side note here, I am an extroverted introvert so I can do really well with people and seem charming and fun, but it drains me. And so after so much engaging, I need to retreat and be reclusive. When I worked a regular 9-5 that was probably one of my least favorite things was constantly being around people. That sounds horrible. But I feel like I work better when I’m in a silo. Not that I can’t collaborate or do teamwork, but like as far as actually getting tasks done, I like to be focused and not distracted and that’s why I also feel like I do really well working from home. But for me, it was always just draining, the chit chat conversation that was distracting. The distractions. It was one of those things where sometimes you’d be like, “Okay, I’m having fun,” but then it’s like, “Okay, the fun is lasted for too long.”
It’s like the show The Office I always joke I was like, I’m kind of a combination of Angela, Stanley, and Pam. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s hilarious. Watch it while it’s still on Netflix because it’s going to go away soon. But Stanley is just very much he’s just there to get his check until he can retire. He doesn’t want to go get drinks with you. He doesn’t want to laugh. He shows a little emotion.
Angela is Miss. Rule Follower. Let’s keep everything straight.
Then Pam is the receptionist. So she knows everything that’s going on. So I would be sitting in there very Stanley, very like no expression on my face. I looked annoyed even when I wasn’t annoyed. And I would just want people to follow the rules. I worked in one of those “trendy” offices where they would like, you know, let’s have a beer or play beer pong or, you know, kick the soccer ball around the office and it drove me insane. Let’s bring our dogs to work. No, let’s not! I have this little story about how a dog took a shit behind my desk. So if that shows you anything and I like dogs don’t get me wrong. Just not pooping behind my desk or whimpering or just being a distraction in the workplace because I want to get my work done. I want to be productive and be done with it.
I wanted to follow the rules and then also even though I’d be quiet, I always knew what was going on. I paid a lot of attention and I would have my headphones and all the time when people would think, “Oh Dia doesn’t care. She’s been listening to us,” but trust me, I knew what was going.
So with that being said, I am not sitting here like, “Oh, I miss working from an office.”
Now I’m just saying that as human nature’s we do crave connectivity. And when you live by yourself and you work from home, sometimes you can get lonely. So I’m going to share some of the things that I do that you can start doing if you are in this situation or even if maybe your partner travels a lot or you still just feel a little stair crazy during the day, even if you have like a family or someone there tonight.
So the first thing is I schedule lunch dates., I’m in that phase where I’m 30 years old, I have tons of friends who you know work full-time jobs or they’re newly married or they’re starting a family or they already have kids and so it’s always like, “Okay, when can we meet?” “Okay, I’m I’m free Tuesday. December 14, 2025.” It’s really hard sometimes to schedule a dinner or a night out.
So, most of the time these people get lunch breaks, they have to eat. So a lot of times, that’s a really good way for me to get up, step away from my computer, take a real lunch break, and go spend some time with a friend and catch up something that takes about an hour and a half with the drive there and back. And it’s something very small that you can do that helps break up the day and gives you something to be excited about. And then also a good way to squeeze in time with friends.
The next thing is coworking. Now I have mixed feelings about this because I’ve been to some amazing coworking spaces in my city and I love them. I love the vibe. But I’m also very used to working with two monitors, especially with project plans and that sort of thing. It’s just easier for me. So for coworking, I love to like maybe go to one of those places or meet a friend like at a coffee shop or something but it’s usually When I have a certain type of tasks to do, so if I’m proofreading something, or writing copy or something that is really good because I don’t need multiple screens for that. And that’s a really good activity to do. If you’re used to having two screens, or if you’re like, well, what can I do out in public versus doing it at home, going to meet a friend who maybe is also an entrepreneur or even a student, going somewhere, deciding what you’re going to work on, you know, even if depending on your relationship with person, I’ve had co-working sessions where it’s like, okay, we can catch up in five minutes, and then we’re going to work and we’ll set a timer. We’ll do pomodoros together.
Where it’s like okay, for 25 minutes, we’re gonna work focused, try to get something done. Okay, pause. Did you get it done? Okay, awesome, that’s enough, what’s the next thing,” and then do another one. So the trick to having successful coworking is to set boundaries and guidelines because it can be really easy when you’re cooped up all day, to meet up with another human being and just want to gush and talk and talk, but you have to set those boundaries.
Another way that I do it is one of the teams that I work with two of the wonderful humans that I work with actually also live in the same city as me. So every so often we like to do it when we schedule it on a Friday afternoon. So we can work for a few hours and then we go get happy hour. So we know there’s like a light at the end of the tunnel, there’s a chance for us to catch up. But first, we’re going to focus on work and get work done.
Okay, so the third thing on the list is networking. I’ve talked about this before and networking completely changed my life and completely changed my business. It is the reason I was able to go into my business full time. But actually just getting out and finding local groups, especially if you can find local groups that are also online business owners. You just get to know people who understand. And it’s also a really good place to find those people to have coworking dates with or to have lunch dates with or just maybe sometimes you have a really rough business day, and versus going back and forth on Voxer with a biz friend, you would love to just be able to meet up with someone, have a martini and talk about it face to face for some human connection. And then you’ll have someone there who gets it.
Also, networking has the added benefit of networking. Like you, you probably will find clients or people who know people who you would be the ideal support for. So networking just has so many benefits, but it’s beyond the business aspects. Sometimes it’s just the mental health aspect of communicating and connecting with people.
The next thing is real breaks. Now, I have worked so hard and have gotten so much better at this. Because I’ve always been the type of person that when I’m working on something, I’ll get really, really, really into it, and just be working and then look up and I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m so violently hungry. Why am I hungry? And then I’m like, “Oh, you haven’t eaten all day.” And it’s just because I get so into what I’m doing. So what I’ve actually started doing, which is interesting now that I’m intermediate fasting, I schedule breaks, I schedule everything from like, “I’m going to take a nap at this time or I’m going to go get my oil changed or I’m going to go on my walk, or I’m going to make food right now.” I schedule it into my blocked schedule, into my day, so that you’re stepping away. I think part of the loneliness or the tunnel vision that happens when you work from home alone is you’re literally just in that seat.
I remember one day a couple of weeks ago, I stayed at my desk very late working on something and the next morning I looked at my desk and was just like, “I didn’t want to sit over there. I just don’t want to be in that chair.” And I love my chair. It looks like a racecar driver’s chair and it’s super comfortable. Like that morning I ended up just working from my bed because I was like, “I need a break from that from that.”
Sometimes, even if you’re you just take like 15 minutes to go stand on the balcony to go get the mail, just to take some time to step out of it, I also have been working really hard to get my 10,000 steps each day. So sometimes that’s setting a timer to just go walk around the apartment for 10 minutes. It does help you kind of get out of your mind and into your body a little bit. And then also just take a break from work, you have to take a break. And I think when you’re more conscious of the fact that oh, I have this break coming up, you’re more likely to work more efficiently. Because, you know, like your time is blocked for this. And if you can follow that if you can block the schedule, it’s huge. I love it. I get things come up. I get people have “emergencies” and I use that term lightly.
And sometimes your plan may go off schedule. But just setting yourself up for that makes it a lot less likely for you to get off schedule. For example, yesterday, I had a dentist’s appointment that I thought I would be gone for about two hours. I ended up spending four hours at the dentist, not including the driving to and from there. So it was one of those things where I knew what I hadn’t tackled that was on my calendar, what I needed to do later in the day now or what I could move to another day so that I didn’t lose track of anything. So I know that that’s not necessarily a loneliness tip, but it’s just a productivity tip when you had it clear what you’re feeling when and if something happens that you can’t do it, it’s right there what you didn’t do.
The next thing is coffee chats. Now, these are really really popular and they can be a really good filler. If you don’t have people in town that you can meet up with or you know maybe just want to talk to someone who really really get something that’s people you know locally don’t and a coffee chats are basically just having a zoom call with someone else in the online space and it’s not a sales call, it’s not a coaching call. It’s literally just chatting about what’s going on with the both of you. Depending on your relationship with the other person, it may be super personal, or it may be the super business-related or it may just be like surface level it depends on your own interactions. But I have friends that I’ve met through either programs or social media and every so often will be like okay, let’s schedule a coffee chat and we’ll just catch up on all the things. My really good friend Lanie, who I’m actually doing the summit with this week. we just talked about the Saints, the football team or New Orleans and just different things like that. So, yeah, just be open to it and know that it may feel awkward the first couple of minutes. But usually, if that person wanted to get on a call with you, and you want to get on a call with them, you’re going to find things to talk about very quickly.
Okay, so my final tip is the podcast. And this is something that I do (obviously). If you are into doing a podcast, I completely recommend it. If you’re not then don’t feel the need to. But I do feel like this has been such a great way for me to talk to more people, feel more connected, and just have regular conversations with people. I typically film at least once a week with someone else. So it’s really nice to just be able to stop in and talk to someone about things and also you’re creating content when you do it. So I think that that’s a really really great option.
Just to recap, my tips for finding the loneliness of working from home: scheduled lunch dates, try coworking spaces, go to networking events, take real scheduled breaks, do virtual coffee chats, and start a podcast. And I really hope that they help you fight some of that loneliness because it can be real, and I love you guys so much, and I hope that you’re having a wonderful 2020 so far.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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