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Otávio Banffy

Dealing with the isolation in freelancemanship

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Since most of you already work as freelancers for a while you probably already have a certain grasp of what isolation can be like.

To some, this is blessing, and to others it is detrimental. To those who feel isolation isn't their preferred situation, and to those that haven't quite transitioned into freelancing, these tips from Maria Castellano might help alleviate the matter.

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The first step is to make a clear distinction between ‘work’ and ‘home’ environment. This can be achieved through different approaches. You may devote a room at home just for your professional activity. This office must be furnished with office furniture and contain a clean desk and only work-related items. A room aimed at working and nothing else, without any distractions. A room you can physically leave and close the door when you are done with your job, until the following day.

That's good advice. In my particular case, I don't distinguish the environment from different kinds of work or play. But what I do make is create different groups of applications, looks and sounds for different activities. So when working with Smartcat I'm making things all purple and white. When freelancing, I'm working on darker colors, grey and deep blue, and on play I'm seeing mostly black. Sounds differ as well. Like mentioned before, the Noisli app helps create different sound sets for you to work with depending on the noise around and mood.

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If this is not possible, another option, which I highly recommend, is to look for a co-working space. A co-working space is a shared office among independent professionals, who carry out different activities, but still choose to gather together to work at the same place. (...) his, apart from keeping you away from home, can also push you to do some physical exercise, whether you choose to walk to the co-working space or ride a bike. 

I found the idea particularly good on the matter of physical exercise. That's often neglected, but taking care of your mind helps you take care of your own happiness, productivity, and even your sensation of isolation. Being without sunlight for ages can make you feel all sorts of uncomfortable sensations, including that of loneliness.

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Lastly, a third option, connected to the first one, is to establish a fixed timetable that you religiously follow. This timetable should include some external activities that, in turn, may have a positive impact on your professional development (formal or informal networking events, get-togethers, conferences to attend…). Also, some freelancers find helpful working occasionally from cafés or bars. This offers them the anonymity they need while providing them with some distraction and entertainment.

A fixed timetable is mostly the way I went with. If you are constantly switching back and forth between activities, you can feel quickly strained and at loss. Having a separate time for each thing will make you feel like you've accomplished a lot in very little time (which you really did, given focus) and will open up your calendar for different activities.

By the way, mixing fun into it will keep you refreshed for the work-related activities.

That's it! What are your own techniques? Did you manage to practice any of those around here? What did you think of them? Tell us!

P.S.: We know there's no such word as "freelancemanship"! :P

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