(This is a repost from July of 2013. The information is still relevant today…feel free to comment or share the post with others who may benefit. ~m)
I work alone. Mostly, I write alone. I paint alone, and that’s the way I like it. Sometimes I’m coaching others, and I really love it. However, most of my day is spent in my own company…and I’m an extrovert. I think. I was.
I have conversations with my “Studio Dogs.”(click to Tweet). We listen to music in the studio and I sometimes dance with them. Maybe I talk to them too much. They don’t complain.
Life can get lonely for those of us who spend our days with ourselves. Nothing to break the monotony. This doesn’t mean we aren’t positively content. What it does mean is we can miss out on joyful exchanges outside ourselves. We can get stuck in our creative heads and are perfectly fine, happy, joyful there. Too much of that can’t be a good thing, me thinks. I have no proof, but just feel it in my bones.
I suggest the following to break up the day, get out of the studio, office or wherever you’re working solo. It’ll keep you healthily involved in the big world out there.
Find or Create a Tribe – A group of like-minded people (and some not so like you) to share ideas, experiences laughs with. Brainstorm with them and support one another. When I worked as an OD consultant a group of us would meet once a month for a little snack and coffee and share thoughts on a concept or idea. We built friendships and had some fun. Currently, I have a blog writing partner I meet every Wednesday morning. We keep each other honest. Artists, writers and creatives benefit from these types of groups and partnerships.
Work in a Public Space – I don’t mean napping in the park here. Write in a coffee shop. Paint plein air. Photograph the world. Get out and mingle. Your life will be richer (click to Tweet).
Check out Meet Ups – I went to a great one last night. It was for speakers. We practiced our skills and shared some key business building points. Fantastic and powerful stuff! You might have to try a few before you find your perfect fit. They come small, big, loud, quiet…check them out at www.meetup.com
Take a Retreat – If something sparks your passion, spend some time away from your business and recharge at a retreat that embraces that topic. Much more than relaxing is involved. Your network will grow, your skills will get honed, you’ll create memories and recharge. Tip – don’t choose a silent or solitary retreat. (Duh)
Be Present – Wherever you go…BE.THERE. (click to Tweet) Go to the Grocery Store. Be present there. Post Office? Be present there. As you run your daily errands get to know people’s names, spark up light conversation. Noticing the world around you is a great way to gain creative inspiration. Not only that, being present outside your head is a healthy hiatus.
Create Meaningful Routine and Ritual – Schedule time each day to get out of the studio or office. One of the benefits to being self-employed is the flexibility it allows. Take advantage of this and make it a routine. Schedule yoga or the gym regularly. Every Thursday spend the afternoon with a friend at the museum or galleries, for example. Sometimes, if you’re in the middle of a project, it’s hard to pull yourself away, but the break keeps us fueled. Be disciplined and do it!
What do you do? How do you fill your solo cup? You have a Tribe here (see, you can join it on the sidebar). I’d love you to share your ideas of how you build balance into your days. I invite you to start the conversation by leaving a comment below.
Stay Full and Proceed to Party!
Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives.Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter
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