As its name suggests, there’s supposed to be a lot of freedom in freelancing, right? Well, not exactly. Yes, you control your schedule and choose your projects, but with that flexibility also comes a schedule that’s wildly unpredictable. If your freelancing journey has been fraught with long, solitary hours, don’t fret – there are lots of ways to dissipate (and eliminate) loneliness.
The world is your office.
When you accept the mantle of freelancing, you are, at the same time, eschewing any sense of a traditional office environment. There’s some good in this, by the way – no more dealing with constant pettiness/drama/that coworker who was curiously protective of the microwave AND toaster…
Yet, here you are, in the silence that is your workspace. It was refreshing at first, but now it’s all just too quiet. So, take stock of your current freelancing situation, which could be similar to either of these two scenarios:
- You have software that restricts you to a home office (common for transcription and support roles) for all the work that you do.
- Use this as your motivation to absolutely, positively take breaks each and every day for 1 hour away from your office. Get lunch, take a walk, visit the local mall for lunch and a walk – you get the idea.
- You don’t have to work from home all the time, just sometimes – it depends on the client/project requirements for secure Internet connections, that sort of thing.
- Well then, plan accordingly! Whether it’s a library or a café, if you’ve got a laptop and can stay on task, then you can start productively developing that work/life balance.
As many facets of life become virtual, so too do the opportunities to connect across time zones. Some freelancing jobs are based within platforms featuring message boards to encourage comraederie amongst contractors. The same sort of process applies to various group pages on social media.
With safety always in the forefront of your mind, make a list of your favorite hobbies. Then, start sifting through social options that center around these topics. Find ways to start meaningful, even helpful conversations with likeminded individuals, and friendships can flourish.
Seek out collaborative work opportunities.
Coworking spaces have really gained traction in recent years. Depending on your location (i.e., closer to major cities), you might have dozens of coworking spaces to choose from. Think of it as a social club, except with work. With creative, entrepreneurial minds in the same location, the goal is to have conversations evolve into collaborations.
Plus, there are usually amenities like secure wireless, snacks, and even sometimes “isn’t-that-a-cool-view-of-such-and-such-landmark” ambience. It can get expensive, though, with some coworking spaces charging a monthly fee that can run into several hundred dollars.
Your calendar is your friend – fill it accordingly.
Social circles take lots of time and effort to cultivate, it’s true. In fact, if not done mindfully, your social life can become just as frenetic and draining as your work life. Don’t attempt to forge friendships out of any sense of desperation. There’s nothing to gain from clogging your calendar with a bunch of activities that you’re not actually interested in just because you don’t like being alone.
If, beyond work obligations, you’re staring back at an empty calendar, use it as a way to pursue the things you’ve always wanted to learn or develop. Art classes/workshops, cooking demonstrations, volunteering, workout groups…the list goes on, and who knows, perhaps you’ll meet fellow (formerly isolated) freelancers along the way!
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