Most of us have heard about the book titled Quiet made famous by Susan Cain. She talks about the trials and tribulations of introverts in a “World that Can’t Stop Talking.”
Well, I’d like to bring attention to the flip side; to all the extroverts out there and the challenges we face in today’s “work at home” culture.
Just about every day someone comments on how lucky I am to work at home. They envy me and wish they could do the same. It sounds so inviting to set your own schedule, take a break whenever you want, and even work in your pajamas all day if you choose.
But the reality is – for me – it’s torturous!!! It’s terribly lonely!
You see, I’m an extrovert in every sense of the word. I thrive on companionship, interaction with other people and conversation. To be alone all day with no one to speak to is definitely not a good match for me. It’s taken me a few years to figure it out, and slowly but surely I’m learning to deal with this “work at home” lifestyle.
If you should find yourself in the same situation, here are three tips that have helped me survive:
First: Plan your day the evening before. Know exactly when your energy needs a pick-me-up and head out the door for some interaction with people. I head to the nearest library or coffee shop. Even if I don’t know anybody there, the new atmosphere and the buzz of the people surrounding me keeps me energized and on task.
Second: Identify your favorite escape places. It could be a park, café, coffee house, or anyplace you can go whenever the boredom begins to set in. When I need a quiet place to write my blog or a speech, I know which libraries have quiet rooms and/or lovely views. When I need more commotion around me, I often try one of the new coffee houses in town. I actually keep a list in my car so I can pick and choose which location is best for me that day.
Third: Stop making excuses. For years, whenever I told anyone that I don’t like working at home, they would look at me like I had three heads. I immediately went into defense mode – often thinking that something must be wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with me! I just happen to be an extrovert who loves being around people.
So what are your thoughts on working at home? I’d love to hear how you survive the loneliness.