As a self-employed entrepreneur, you might be working from home far more often than you work in an office setting, or with other people. Initially, this will probably be exhilarating; you’ll finally get to work without distractions, and forgo the drudgery of a regular commute. However, even with a formal office established, eventually it can become a bore.
Working from home usually means working alone, in a room of your house, with the same environment and the same patterns on a daily basis. What’s more, even if your office is completely separate from the rest of the house, it may feel like you’ve never truly left, blurring the line between your personal and professional life, and disrupting your work-life balance.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to make sure you stay interested and stimulated as you continue to work remotely.
Invest in Home Upgrades
One of the best things you can do is invest in home upgrades, giving yourself a new and improved environment in which to live and/or work. For example, you might install a new outdoor fireplace, where you can take your laptop and work outdoors even during the fall and winter months. Or you could try to initiate a full living room overhaul, setting up a place where you can take breaks and truly luxuriate. These environmental changes can have a drastic impact on your mood and feelings of engagement, with the drawback of being expensive.
Head to a Public Workspace
More people are working remotely than ever before, with more than 3.9 million Americans working from home at least half the time. This surge in remote workers has led to the development of more common work spaces in the public sphere, and of course, more people taking advantage of them. Sometimes, all it takes is a change in scenery to make you feel more stimulated and engaged with your work, so give them a try. You could head to your local library, or work at a nearby café. You could also subscribe to a coworking space, where you can meet other like-minded entrepreneurs and gain access to better amenities. You might even be able to work at a park if it offers free Wi-Fi (or if you can tether a mobile hotspot to your primary machine).
Give Yourself New Sensory Experiences
You can also improve your focus and give yourself a new environment by playing with the sensory experience you have while working. For example, you could make improvements to your sound system or change up the type of music you play throughout the day; investing in a good speaker can make a major difference in the ambiance of your surroundings, and new genres can give your workday an entirely different feel. You could also invest in new visual artwork, giving your eyes something to enjoy when they inevitably wander from the screen. Don’t neglect your other senses either; tactile toys can occupy your hands when you’re brainstorming something, and a new scent can bring new life to your office—especially if they have the power to relieve stress.
Meet With Your Coworkers
If possible, try to meet with your coworkers, or engage with them in new ways. Socialization is a fundamental part of the working experience, and if you’re completely closed off, it’s only a matter of time before you go stir-crazy—even if you’re introverted by nature. If your coworkers and clients live close, make it a point to meet them for coffee or for lunch on a regular basis, or consider working together at a mutually close coworking space. If this isn’t possible, try to communicate with them regularly and in new ways, such as video chatting with them.
Set New Challenges for Yourself
If you’re working for yourself, you’re probably already the type of person who’s self-motivated and driven to succeed. However, without a supervisor to motivate you to achieve more or immediate coworkers to stoke your competitive nature, it can be hard to push yourself to new heights. You can compensate for this slightly by constantly establishing new challenges for yourself. For example, you might set a productivity goal to do 20 percent more than usual on a given day, or challenge yourself to only check your email twice a day for an entire week. It can help you perform better and keep things interesting at the same time.
Working from home is a privilege, and one that makes us both happier and more productive. However, it’s not a perfect arrangement, as it comes with its own set of unique challenges. If you’re going to be successful in this position long-term, it’s on you to change your environment and your approach to keep things stimulating.