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Wellbeing / Working alone

Preventing professional isolation

Outsiders may wonder how you can feel isolated when you've got clients and suppliers to talk to and the family upstairs. But professional isolation is a soloist’s occupational hazard.

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Working an in new emerging industry or a regional area (or, like me, both!) can compound the loneliness.

I call it IPI: Incidental Professional Isolation. Simply by the pure nature of flying solo, you may lack:

  • peer stimulation;
  • professional development;
  • bouncing and brainstorming ideas; and
  • debriefing.

As a soloist you need to maintain motivation, avoid burnout and be reminded to pat yourself on the back. Here’s how being organised give you this:

Break it up

Remember that thing called a lunch break? When was the last time you had one?

"Remember that thing called a lunch break? When was the last time you had one?"

Schedule it into your diary, every day. Treat it like any other appointment.

As well as providing a refreshed outlook your break may also give you:

  • People contact: meet a friend or associate, but stick to your own time frame.
  • Completed tasks: get a couple of personal tasks done, but be sure not to get stressed!
  • Absence: it can make the heart grow fonder. Leave your home office at lunch and love it more when you get back.
  • Cure: time away from your screen is the best cure for releasing blocks to your creativity.

Want more articles like this? Check out the working alone section.

Network

No I’m not talking about Twitter, or Facebook! Organise your time to attend some good old face to face networking functions. Look at traditionally quiet times in your industry and schedule in events so you don’t feel it’s taking you ‘away’ from business. Be clear and organised about what you want to achieve from each function. What sort of people do you want to meet? How many business cards do you want to hand out/collect? Know how and when you will follow up on each one. Be conscious of the opportunities you are seeking and offering.

Make the most of a mentor, coach, or ‘action partner’

If you don’t have one – get one. There are several articles on this site with advice on business mentoring. If you already have one, are you sufficiently organised to get the most from each meeting? Or do you rush madly into each one? Do you achieve all your goals in-between meetings? If not, why not? What area do you need to better organise in order to gain maximum benefit from your coaching experience?

Organise exercise

This, too, needs to be scheduled and treated like any other appointment. If you work at home you’re missing out on incidental exercise such as: running for the bus, using stairs and walking to the coffee shop. Organise a gym membership, or join a swim meet or walking club, whatever suits you.

Exercise increases production of the body’s feel good hormones, which not only help you manage stress and fatigue, but they make you feel good. And when you feel good, your customers feel good!

Do you block out times in your day for any of the above? How do you prevent professional isolation? Tell us below.

Roz Howland

, the Productivity Professional runs programmes that will increase productivity in any business. Roz is based in Brisbane, and travels regularly to share her passion and expertise with businesses all over Australia.

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