How to Cope with the Sense of Isolation When Working from Home

on January 14 | in Books, Products & Books, Small Business Ideas, Small Craft Business Tips | by | with 153 Comments

Fiona Pullen runs the UK-based The Sewing Directory, and she has a new book out chock full of excellent advice. Craft a Creative Business helps you plan for success as you turn a love for sewing or other artistic endeavors into a thriving business.

From the publisher:

    Covering everything you ever wanted to know, Fiona gives clear, simple advice on the importance of identifying markets, focusing on a USP, assessing the competition, making sure the price is right and setting goals. The book includes sections on product photography, branding and legal matters. The book has particular emphasis on online selling, with detailed information on markets, blogging, using social media and the importance of analytics and SEO (search engine optimization). Information on offline selling is included too, with notes on selling at craft fairs, trade fairs and markets, selling through retail outlets, running courses and workshops and featuring work in the media.

Fiona fills you in on every aspect of writing the book on her blog, from signing a contract to book promotion and everything in between. If you’ve ever thought about writing a sewing or craft book you’ll find lots of information there! You can also learn about Fiona’s sewing and more on The Sewing Directory blog. The Sewing Directory grew by leaps and bounds with the success of The Great British Sewing Bee last year. (Fiona had a great corresponding series on The Sewing Directory.)

To celebrate the US release of the book, Fiona stops by with tips for dealing with the isolation and potential loneliness of working at home. Plus you can win one of FIVE copies of Craft a Creative Business. (US, UK or Canadian address only this time. Thanks!) To enter, chime in with your thoughts on working from home. Do you have tips that work for you? Do you wish you could work from home? How do you (or do you not) balance it all?

How to Cope with the Sense of Isolation When Working from Home
Many of us running our own creative businesses find ourselves working from home to keep costs down, to be at home for the kids or simply because all we need is a small space and a laptop. Undeniably there are many great benefits to this; apart from the money you save on office rental there’s no commuting, and if you want you can work in your PJs all day! I’m sure that many of our office working friends are jealous of the fact we get to stay at home all day.

However, there is one big downside to working from home (apart from the fact you can constantly see the housework that needs doing!) and that is the sense of loneliness and isolation you get. I think you probably notice this more if you are used to working in an office or shop with several colleagues around, customers coming in and out; in that scenario you are used to being surrounded by people all day. There are people to talk to, people to socialize with at lunchtimes and after work…

I have to admit it took 3-4 months before the isolation really kicked in with me. At first I was too busy enjoying the perks of homeworking. Then I suddenly realized I could go entire weeks only seeing my husband and son and no other people. I’d go six hours or more without even muttering a word, which is very odd for someone as chatty as me. I missed having people to run ideas by, to gossip with or even to just talk about what I watched on TV last night. Plus I found it harder to see my friends as my working hours no longer matched theirs.

I took a few different steps to help overcome the feeling of isolation and I wanted to share them with you in case you find yourselves in the same situation:

Set Up Regular Lunch Dates
I made sure that I arranged to meet a friend for lunch once a week to get out of the house, have a good gossip and enjoy a proper break from work. Even if most your friends are working 9-5 jobs they should still get a lunch break so perhaps you can plan to meet up with them then. If you can’t me them at lunchtime what about an evening date instead?

Reach Out to Other Local Homeworkers
Local networking events are a good place to start, or you can use social media. Find other people near you who are working from home and see if you can make plans to pop over for a cup of coffee. I’m sure they need a break and human contact just as much as you do.

Plan Shopping Trips, Appointments, Afternoon Walks, etc.
Sometimes it’s just getting out of the house that you need, and having other people around you. So try to plan something which will make you leave the house ideally every day, or at least 2-3 times a week. I try and spread out errands like going to the shop, to the post office, etc., so that instead of doing it all in one trip I space them over the week, giving me an excuse to go out every day.

Sometimes a bit of fresh air is what you need.

Go to Industry Events
This won’t be as regular as the plans above but it gives you something to look forward to, and a chance to chat to people doing the same kind of thing as you. It’s nice to be around people you can run ideas by, or talk about what is happening in your area of the industry. I try to make sure I visit a big sewing, quilting or trade show once every 2-3 months. I also set up a local sewing group as well which is another chance for me to mix with other people in my industry a bit closer to home.

Join a Gym, Sports Club, Hobby Club or Take a Course
All of the above will get you out of the house and mixing with other people on a weekly basis as well as give you a mental break from work. In the past I’ve tried the gym, a language course and now that I’ve recently moved house I’m looking at joining a weekly sports club.

Have an Online/Phone Support Network
This has been crucial to helping me overcome the loneliness. I appreciate having people I can chat to on Facebook or by e-mail, or ring up whenever I get bored of being home alone with no one to talk to. For me the support network I’ve built up are all people in the same industry so that gives me someone to talk to about work related things. I really missed having people to run ideas by, and now I have people I can discuss things with from home.
As great as it is to see my friends and family they don’t always understand much of what I do so I find having people in the same industry to speak to very important. Unfortunately many of them live too far away for me to meet up with regularly, but I do try to meet most of them at shows, or visit them at least once a year as well as speaking online or by phone.

I’ve now been working from home from over five years and thanks to a combination of the above I no longer miss working in an environment where I have lots of other people around. I still get the social side of working with others combined with the perks of working from home.

What do you do to avoid the working from home isolation? Do let us know in the comments below.

Fiona Pullen is the owner of The Sewing Directory, a directory of UK sewing businesses plus sewing projects, techniques, competitions, interviews and news. She is also the author of Craft a Creative Business, published by Search Press. You can find more free business guides on her website.

Image Credits: Death to the Stock Photo

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153 Responses to How to Cope with the Sense of Isolation When Working from Home

  1. Zoe says:

    This is a thought-provoking topic – I’ll bet a lot of aspiring work-at-homers never consider the isolation aspect before leaping in. I doubt I could work at home exclusively….I need perhaps a two day per week job, paid or volunteer, that makes me follow a bit of external structure. Otherwise I just seem to get the sads.

  2. Daniela says:

    Christina, this is exactely the point in life where I am. I actually quit my job last month and I’m in my notice period atm. I can’t wait to start my sewing business from home.
    It’s good to hear from other people which are struggling with the same fears or challenges. Best of luck with your business.

  3. Honey says:

    I so wish I could work from home. I’m sure it requires lots of discipline and bravery. For all those who do, I appreciate your ingenuity and craftiness.

  4. I totally LOVE working at home….I don’t really feel isolated as I do a lot of promoting online and interacting with others on the Social Networks I share my works on. Thanks for this great book. God bless!

  5. Laura Smith says:

    Working from home works great for me. I need lots of alone time, plus I need to always be making something. I do belong to a couple of groups (knitting, book club) that meet monthly, plus I occasionally make other plans with friends so I am not too much of a hermit. It is a perfect mix for me.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Being a stay at home Mom I rarely feel alone but I do miss adult conversations! Skyping with a friend helps a lot! I am looking for good sources on starting a creative business right now so thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Michelle M says:

    It’s important to schedule ‘social’ time. I have a regular walk date with friends on Tuesdays. I also do volunteer time.

  8. Terri A. says:

    I would absolutely love to work from home! I am not sure what I could do from home to make a living although I would want it to be a creative talent of some sort.

  9. Jen B. says:

    I’m just starting the self-employed craft business thing. I don’t have much insight to offer yet, but I can tell you it has been a big change having to get used to a flexible schedule.

  10. My dream is to have my own home business again; in the past I’ve had a small cake decorating business then later taught craft lessons from home for the last few years. I enjoy it, but I totally relate to the secluded atmosphere. It helps me to take time in each day for something other than crafting {not always easy!}, like spending time with my family. Thanks for these great tips!

  11. Niechelle Wade says:

    I have been working from home for over a decade here on my farm. Yes, it can get very lonely. Recently, I have found that following blogs is a great way to find companionship and renewed inspiration. 🙂

  12. Carmen N says:

    I don’t currently work from home, but I think having outside activities – to give you a break from work and to socialize would help.

  13. Gillian says:

    I’m currently trying to figure out how to make this a reality, so this book sounds perfect! I tend to get out of the house a lot outside of working hours, and end up missing home and the quiet time there. Working from home would definitely balance that out!

    I spend time volunteering at local organizations (food bank, habitat for humanity), spend time at our rock climbing gym or outside when the weather allows, join community organizations (I’m on the board of an engineering society and work with a group that is organizing a food co-op), and plan to meet friends for dinners out or at home or for other social time.

  14. Melody says:

    What a great idea for a book! I look forward to reading it soon (even if I don’t win a copy). Thanks for putting it together for all of us.

    I’ve worked from home for over 20 years with farming, homeschooling and a quilting business being the focal points of that time. It’s tough to balance it all sometimes, but it’s a lifestyle I wouldn’t trade for anything. There are basic things that I think work well, like getting up and ready for your day (showering and morning chores), and doing your best to set regular hours. Flexibility is also key. I learned to take my “office hours” whenever I could grab them when things were off kilter, and try to keep scheduled hours when available.

    Teaching classes and membership in guilds or other groups always helped with the outside contact issues. My isolation feelings usually occurred at night, when it’s not socially polite to phone a friend or colleague…audio books or old movies became my solution to just being able to hear another voice other than the one rattling around inside my head. 🙂

  15. Kristl says:

    I have just started working from home after a move from the South to the West in November. I have found a kindred spirit here who also works from home, and we meet every three or four weeks for coffee. My new Fitbit has me walking more as well. The isolation is probably a little worse because of the winter weather. Sunlight in my studio is always welcome, and makes me feel better.

  16. Christina M. says:

    I’m in the stages of phasing out my ‘real’ job, and starting my first Etsy shop. So far, just selling my items locally has given me hope that this may be a solid long-term plan that’s not as crazy as it sounds: surviving and thriving by making my art!

  17. HeatherK says:

    I wish I was able to work from home. I enjoy the fitness classes at the local gyms when I need stress relief.

  18. Nancy Lanier says:

    I’d love to be able to retire & do quilting full-time.

  19. Carole says:

    I find that going for a 45 minute walk or a gentle yoga class every day fulfills my need for company and it also stops me getting sidetracked. I am aware that I’ve used some of my time so have to get down to business before it’s time to pick up children, make dinner etc. And I’m happier and more creative when I’ve exercised.

  20. DebbieKL says:

    I work part-time out of the home so I have that personal interaction with non-family members. On non-work days I try to force myself to get out of my PJs, shower on a regular basis, etc.

  21. Mara says:

    I don’t have many tips, but I have heard it is a good idea to set up “work hours” and make sure that others in the house respect them.

  22. Lori says:

    After nearly 20 years of homeschooling, I am ready to launch. Thanks for a chance for some guidance!

  23. Ellee says:

    Several years ago I worked from home and enjoyed it very much. Didn’t have to dress up, didn’t have anyone looking over my shoulder, could set my own hours. I was going to school part-time and could work around my school schedule — it was great.

  24. Jessica w says:

    having a routine set up as well as having a dedicated work space helps a lot

  25. Andrea says:

    I think these are all great suggestions! I work at home only for two months of the year, and miss the days when I was able to work from home on a part-time basis year-round. Taking breaks is something I always have a hard time with – who needs lunch when there is interesting work to do? Teaching classes was a great way to stave off the loneliness of working alone – it was a fun way to interact with others, helped to pay the bills, and re-energized me for another few days by myself.

  26. Jen says:

    I recently started an etsy shop and love working from home. I beat the isolation by having crafter friends come over for crafting hour often so I have other adults to talk to and when I need to do a bunch of computer stuff (that doesn’t require actual crafting) I go to the coffee shop and do my work there. I can’t imagine doing anything else!

  27. Cathleen says:

    I think you have to carve out a dedicated space…

  28. Ruth L says:

    After leaving work for health-related reasons, I really struggled with a sense of purposelessness and not having a way to impact the lives of people in a meaningful way. I learned to develop a routine that works for my body. I utilize social media to stay connected with friends and co-workers. I make sure I get out of the house a few times a week… Errands, women’s Bible study, the library, etc. I also keep a TO-DO List that keeps me focused and organized, make goals for myself as well as set aside specific uninterrupted block of time each day for creativity. I have learned that my job/work isn’t who I am and anyone can find meaningful ways to make a difference in the world around them!

  29. Lauren Hannon says:

    these are great ideas.
    Right now my kids keep me pretty social.

  30. Kylie says:

    I work from home and a lot of her suggestions are the same ones I’d suggest–meetings with people, putting gym classes in the calendar (and sometimes actually going!).

  31. Cyndy Knapp says:

    I would love to work from home. I think the hardest part for me would be distractions. I’d need to be very focused and structure my time. Thank you for sharing with us!

  32. PT in SC says:

    Hmmm, I would entertain the idea of working from home, for sure!

  33. David says:

    I’ve been self-employed and working from home for more than 20 years. All of the tips in the article are absolutely on point. A few of the things I’ve found most helpful are to

    1. Take a shower every morning. I know, it sounds gross or slovenly, but many of us wait until after our lunchtime or early afternoon visit to the gym to take a shower because we don’t want to waste water. Go ahead. Waste the water. You’ll be so much more productive in the morning when your face and hair are clean. It’s pure psychology.

    2. Close the office door (or the lid of the laptop) when your “day” is done. If you have a tablet or another devices use that to play on the internet after hours, not your “tempt you to work more” computer.

    3. Work in 25-minute, intense sessions, followed by 5-10 minutes of taking care of those household and personal chores that keep making themselves so obvious. Every two or three such sessions, give yourself a full 15-20 minutes to do something rewarding such as knitting, brewing a pot of tea, or nibbling on some dessert.

    4. Eat lunch. In fact, have a full lunch hour.

    After you’ve worked yourself into bursts of creative productivity all day, enjoy the amazingly short commute to your kitchen or couch!

  34. As a stay-at-home mom, my work is taking care of my child and household, but the work is no less isolating than a job that actually pays. At the moment I am trying to get an internship working 5-10 hours a week at an arts and crafts teaching studio. I hope to meet new people and take advantage of the time away from my family to relax and destress.

  35. Angela says:

    I’m just starting in on the business end of working from home- and It is tough to do! great tips! thanks!

  36. fenna says:

    I’m a SAHM of 5 and I homeschool them–so I definitely stay at home to work 😉 For me, it helps that we’re on a farm and my husband is ‘around’ outside somewhere usually. 🙂

  37. I’ve worked from home for the last 6 years. I also home school my kids, so I do have some company. To avoid isolation I stay very involved in evening activities, with friends and with the kids.

  38. Beth B. says:

    I also spread errands out over a week’s time, so I have a reason to leave the house. It forces me to get dressed as well 🙂

  39. Gina says:

    I started selling handmade bags last July on Etsy. I also homeschool, so I’m finding it hard to balance those two things, PLUS keeping the house in order and making meals. Oh, and I just started babysitting 2 days a week and we just added in piano and ballet lessons! AHH!! I have found that I do my best sewing at night after the girls go to bed. I used to try to sew and do school, but the girls really need my full attention. I guess my advice would be to set firm hours for you home business and firm hours for the other things you must get done. Early morning before the kids get up and then after the kids go to bed is best for me for my home business work. I’m working on getting the kiddos in bed earlier, so I have more time to sew. Midnight is usually my cut-off, b/c when it gets too late I tend to make mistakes and it is best to go to bed and get a good nights sleep and start fresh in the morning. 🙂

  40. Karen J says:

    Audio books and church and quilt guild friends keep me from being lonely!

  41. LiEr says:

    It took me a couple years at least to finally register the fact that what I was doing at home was work. Up till then, it had just felt like a hobby that was bringing in the occasional bit of pocket money. My kids are still little now – the oldest is just 10, and I still don’t have a set time of the day that I demarcate as “work”. Some days I am so busy with errands, chores, workouts or even other home-based non-creative/work activities that I don’t get any work done at all. When I am home and working, I love the silence and solitude to create, undistracted, probably because I don’t have enough of it on most days. But there are also times when that atmosphere feels a little like isolation, and then I turn on loud music, or put on an audiobook.

  42. I enjoy working from home but it can to lonely I think the most important thing is to remember to take breaks and eat well, it’s too easy to just rush and forget to look after yourself.

  43. Betsey says:

    When I worked from home, I loved being able to wear pajamas all day and meet friends for lunch any time I wanted.

  44. I am working on starting my online business so I can work from home, but in the meantime I have a full time job.. To practice the at home part, I am lucky to get to work from home two days a week. Biggest problem I encounter with that is how distrCting it is to have my sewing and online business stuff right there being super distracting!! Really looking forward to reading this book!!

  45. Charlotte in GA says:

    I have never had to work from home but would like to have my own craft sewing business one day. All of the tips and comments are getting stored away. Thanks so much!

  46. Robyn Sweeney says:

    Hi I like being home, I enjoy my own company, but I tend not to eat as well. I think I get carried away, no surprise! Loving hermit- ness and balancing life is hard, especially if there is a deadline.
    Great book.

  47. I struggle with very issue being homebound. I have secheduled to attend a retreat this year. I have a worldwide network of friends to talk to even if it is the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Helps deal with loneliness. Getting up and dress is a way of saying I am going to work. Setting hours that you do work helps. I would really enjoy reading this book! I have heard great things about it!

  48. Samantha says:

    Running errands gets me out of the house. I love these ideas though. I will have to try them. Thanks.

  49. Elizabethdx says:

    These are great suggestions. Like some who have already commented, having a dog means lots of great companionship and obliges me to get outside at least a couple of times a day. I live in a city, so taking our dog out also means socializing with other dog owners. Another thing that helps, if you can manage it, is a little volunteer work involving regular contact with the same person or persons — tutoring a struggling student, stocking the pantry at a food bank, etc. it makes you feel very connected!

  50. Lindsay says:

    I hope to start working from home as soon as our baby girl is born (any day now!) so I really enjoy these tips. The #1 factor that helps me at the moment is keeping to a schedule even with work at home. I have a productive morning and then try to have lunch/a get out date at least 2x a week!

  51. Julie says:

    We live on a ranch so we are busy all the time, I try to make time to sew most days:)

  52. Pamela says:

    I have a love hate relationship with the idea of working at home. Not because of the isolation, but more because I have trouble looking past the housework….. I would love to read the full book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  53. Naja says:

    These are good tips, but I think in the end it comes down to personality. I have worked from home for a few years but have come to the conclusion that it is not for me. There is the loneliness but also the fact that I don’t get to learn from more experienced colleagues and that I have no one to question the way I do things. Thus it is not just a matter of socialising, but also a matter of professional learning and keeping my career on a track that goes somewher.

  54. Dana says:

    My tip is t9 get up and put on “real” clothes each morning before work from home. Makes a difference to me. When ai stay in jammies I’m never as productib3

  55. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the tips! I am a sahm and have been thinking about starting a longarming business since I have one. I think it would be nice for my daughters to see me in a professional role since they’ve only seen me as a homemaker and never in a business setting. I’m am introverted to the max, so I’d probably enjoy the silence! I like the one comment that mentions a pet. What a great idea!

  56. I would LOVE to work at home. With my current job I can do so occasionally, but I’d really love to transition someday to my own company of some kind so I could do it. My partner works out of our house, and he loves it.

  57. Fiona says:

    That’s a very good tip Teresa, it is amazing the amount of people who think you don’t really do very much work just because you work from home. Or that they expect you to drop everything any time because you don’t work in an office with set hours.

  58. Licia says:

    When I work at home, I try to take breaks every couple of hours to take a walk, make coffee, do a quick chore or something. It helps me think and sometimes stimulates my creativity. Generally the reason for working there relates to inclement weather, and that makes for its own excitement.

  59. Amy the Canadian says:

    I have a brilliant group of friends who also love to craft and sew – that gets me out ofthe house!!!

  60. Susan says:

    I don’t mind working from home. I am an introvert. What is hard for me is that people think they can call me or interrupt me and think that I am free to to be at their beck an call. Most people don’t look at it as a real job the same way they would if I left home and went to an employer’s workplace.

  61. Emily says:

    I plan to start my own crafting business from home once both my children are in school. Would find this book very useful indeed!

  62. Sharon says:

    I find it’s important to get out even if it’s only to do some errands.

  63. Melissa says:

    I work at a place where I have little contact with people, soon I will have the option to work from home. I don’t know how I would be able to do it. I’m so lazy that I might not get out of bed and just lay with my laptop with me. I bet I would get so fat that I wont be able to get out of bed!

  64. Heather says:

    One of the greatest benefits for me is to be able to work when my energy is at it’s peak. I’m an early bird. I get up at 5:30 and usually working on a task as early as 6 AM. An early start means I don’t feel guilty about an early finish. To avoid isolation, I will often have an animal along side me when I’m doing office work (not so much “sewing” work.) When I break in the afternoon, I’ll take my dog to the dog park, where I’ll see all my other work from home friends.

  65. Jayne says:

    I work from home and love it! My husband does as well. I work on staying focused daily, it is so easy to get distracted!!

  66. kathyh says:

    I work part time at the day job which pays benefits.
    I work at home the rest of the time.
    Great ideas on how to battle the isolation.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  67. Jeannette Olton says:

    I would love to work from home. This is such a great giveaway and would be helpful in getting me there.

  68. Lori Wyant says:

    I loooove working from home! I find I’m more productive when I pretend I have to take a shower and get dressed for the day, even though staying in my pajamas all day is right nice sometimes. I’m thankful everyday I chose not to work a typical 9-5 job!

  69. Renea says:

    I have always thought about working from home but have been scared to do it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  70. Kat says:

    I can really relate to this! Sometimes I’ll spend a few hours working from the local city library in Liverpool which has some really peaceful areas, and some stunning rooms to wander round when I feel like a break! I also recommend having a social hobby, dancing keeps me sane… And one last thing, I try to involve myself in projects working with/for other creatives and NGOs, meaning I get to meet loads of new people and get to do things like costume management for films, designs for touring productions etc. Keeps life interesting and makes working in my home office quite peaceful and welcoming at times… sometimes it’s nice to stress over numbers in peace!

  71. Allison says:

    This really is a struggle for me. I love to ‘talk out’ ideas, and I miss access to people just a few steps away. I’m trying to find an accountability partner for this year, hopefully, that will help!

  72. Adriana H. says:

    My best advice to WAH folks out there is to take regularly scheduled walks! Also, make sure you have communities on the internet, and also in real life just to keep it real. Otherwise, you end up with eye strain and terrible posture.

  73. Lorna says:

    Good article. I’d say that it’s important to find your optimum working hours, too. Don’t force yourself to do 9 to 5. I’m an introvert, and worked from home as a short story writer for a few years. It was too easy to stay in, be unsociable and avoid everyone, so rather than become a complete recluse I decided to change my hours. In the morning I’d visit an art gallery/go shopping/take a course, then meet friends for lunch. After that I’d go home and work usually 2pm – 11pm. (I cooked at weekends so I could just grab something quick for dinner on the go). Worked for me – and I’m hoping it will again, as I’ve just been made redundant. Wish me luck! x

  74. Nancy Hilderbrand says:

    spend at least 2 hours doing other things with family

  75. Sheena says:

    I left the nine to five rat race about five years ago and quickly realised just how important it is to stay in touch with the world. Whether your working from home or just simply retired (that’s me) you need human contact, and not just your family. For me it was ensuring I had a “physical” outlet as health is just as important as creativity

    I joined a local class, which was run three times a week. This meant I wasn’t tied to a specific day, very important to me as leaving routine behind was the whole point of stopping work. I now have an added group of friends and this extends to us having lunches, days out.

    My advice is make sure you leave your home regularly and at the very least say hello to everyone you walk by and smile. You’ll make someone’s day

  76. Brenda says:

    I do not have a home-based business — yet. I am looking for opportunities, both for the extra income and to overcome the sense of isolation I feel from spending most of my days at home alone, due to my varied health problems and disabilities. I think whether or not such an effort is of financial benefit, it will be immensely valuable in expanding my contact with others. I am shy, so taking the initiative to reach out is very hard, but with a reason to make contact, I think I could make progress.

  77. Some great tips, Fiona. I’m still doing the ‘other job’ as well, so it’s not yet too much of an issue, but I do try to arrange regular meetings with friends, otherwise it’s too easy to spend all your time thinking about work, even if you’re not actually working!

  78. Juli Levine says:

    Fortunately I have regular appointments to go to, but it still doesn’t take all of the staying at home humdrum away. Soon, I will be going back to school.

  79. marilyn says:

    I find it a struggle to eek out time to do crafty stuff at home because I have young children. My time starts after they go to bed.

  80. trudy mae says:

    personally, I’m glad I don’t work from home! I like to separate my work, play, and alone time. I’m more successful if I have a set schedule that I can work around. if I did work from home, I would definitely block out my day for working, eating, and socializing!

  81. Sarah says:

    Being an introvert with 3 small children, I rarely find it isolating to work from home — I enjoy being by myself. When I do need some human contact :), I just walk outside, as we have a wonderful neighborhood with lots of friends to talk to! Or, I plan a skype call with a friend, or go out to coffee with someone.

  82. cynthia says:

    I don’t have a craft or sewing business but I am a self employed landscaper. I often go days without people contact as I work alone on large properties. My biggest difficulty is to keep myself on task…when you make your own schedule it’s easy to change it or put something off for a day (or 10). Turning an avocation into a vocation can take some of the joy out of it. It’s important for me to find ways to stay excited about what I do. That being said, I wouldn’t go back to an office job for anything!

  83. Barbara P. says:

    I run errands during the day, shopping, post office, etc., and have a weekly Friday lunch date with a couple of girlfriends. Thanks for the chance to win.

  84. Beezus says:

    i have a weekly get together with other quilters. I also belong to a guided imagery class, take the dogs out regularly, walk to the post office (etc) when I need to get out for a bit, and I try to take some sort of community art class at least once a year – sometimes I have the added bonus of taking this class with a friend.

  85. Mandi in CO says:

    working from home is tough! I get distracted by the so many other things I’d rather be doing!
    Must close the door!

  86. Rebecca says:

    My husband works from home and loves it, but I know a lot of people miss the face to face interaction. These are all great tips, I know it’s important to plan to get out of the house because otherwise it’s easy to stay inside for days without intending to!

  87. Alys H says:

    I’ve worked from home for over a decade now. While all of Fiona’s advice resonates, the one that I absolutely swear by is getting out of the house at least once a day. I found that doing volunteer work also really helps — you get to work with people and do something good for someone else. All those perks while getting yourself out and removed from your isolation. Major win!

  88. Veronika says:

    I hope someday to work from home!! I have lots of dreams but need to refine my skills…that alone is taking forever with two littles!

  89. Whit says:

    i mostly work from home, but with small children underfoot, it’s a different sort of isolation. It’s not usually quiet, but often not mentally stimulating either. I try to plan outings for myself around their preschool times to keep my contact with other adults a normal amount. I’m sure I’ll miss this when they end up in all-day school, but for now, it’s just craziness. Headphones help.

  90. Dawn Jones says:

    I am a homemaker and homeschool mom, I have always wanted to work from home but haven’t been able to. My girls are almost grown and I am considering trying a home based business once they have graduated. Have a wonderful day!

  91. Cheri in Calif says:

    My life’s dream has been to sell my sewing crafts…so many things and so many times I have tried, but no success. I would love to be able to sell what i make…I’d even welcome the isolation if it meant a profit!!!LOL!!

  92. Sara says:

    I joined my local quilt guild. I get to meet with other creative minds and often do community projects that help keep in the loop locally and make me feel connected.

  93. Claudia TN says:

    I’ve been working from home for 8 years as a copy editor. I really enjoy my work and don’t generally have problems staying focused or feeling isolated. I do keep in touch with my co-workers via email, and I have a few friends who surprise me with emails and texts every now and then. I work only part time, so I can work or not work as it fits my schedule, which usually allows me Fridays to go out for coffee and do some window shopping.

  94. Lynda says:

    I work from home. I would like to interact more with the customer. I find a guild useful. I would love this book.

  95. Cindy says:

    I work from home because I lost my job due to prolonged illness and recovery. I enjoy it to a degree but the isolation is ridiculous! So glad that you addressed that too in your post!

  96. Rachel says:

    I often find myself struggling with the same feeling at times as I run my own creative business. I’ve found that planning fun activities with friends (hiking, seeing a movie, …) really helps a lot!

  97. Accacia says:

    I think about working from home a lot. I have a full-time job now but have some part-time income from writing/editing and sewing/knitting and daydream sometimes about working from home. I appreciate these ideas for how to not become isolated when working out of the house.

  98. Ambs says:

    Would love to work from home. Started my blog this month, it’s a start and still a work in progress. Would love to win a copy of your book – Craft a Creative Business! Wish you the best on your book.

  99. Lydia says:

    thanks for the article. I’ve been working from home for the last 6 months. It’s been a big change for me & have been feeling the same isolation. I’ll definitely try your suggestions.

  100. Afton says:

    Finding the balance in working at home is a constant work in progress. I have to be very intentional about what things can wait, and what merits instant attention. As a stay at home mom with additional business pursuits that require many at home hours, everything is important, but not immediately.

  101. Kelly Aubert says:

    I take my two dogs to the dog park everyday. I love watching them play and I have met so many awesome people there. I’m pretty solitary so it was kind of unexpected to me that I would get so much out of my interactions there! Great for me and the dogs!!

  102. Julia says:

    I love the idea of working from home and I’m envious of people who do. But truth be told, I’m not disciplined enough to sit down and get it done!

  103. Margaret says:

    I have been working from home part-time for the past 11 years. I do get out every day because I have a daughter who I walk to school. I am finding myself wanting to get back into the outside working world. This gig has been great but I’m ready to get out of the house! 😉

  104. debbie says:

    I wish I could work from home but insurance and such is so expensive that I work for paying that. I would love to learn more.

  105. Sue says:

    I’ve always been sensitive to sound and very easily annoyed/distracted by it so being home alone helps me be more productive. That said, it does get lonely. I have a standing lunch with friends, I go to the library at least once a week to be around people and I try to call a family member every few days just to remind myself that I do have the ability to talk! I enjoy blogs (like this one!) but online contact is just not the same.

  106. Mrs. C from TN says:

    Great timing on this article! I am hoping to start my business with the birth of my first child. As an introvert, I’m excited about time spent alone, but I can see how failing to schedule outings, especially with a newborn, could be troublesome.

  107. Hannah says:

    I work full time and then work on my craft business outside of that – when I first started I found it really challenging because I had to do that side of my life in my spare time and I wasn’t meeting any crafters in my dayjob! I started trying to attend more industry events which meant I met some really awesome people I now meet up with regularly to have craft, business and being creative chats and coffees!! I found it so important to be able to bounce ideas of others working in similar areas and share what we’d learnt along the way x

  108. Bekki says:

    Thats some good advice. I work from home now after moving to a place away from family and friends so it’s easy to feel isolated. Having regular arrangements to meet up with people is very helpful.

  109. i would love to be able to work from home, but as a teacher it’s not really possible. A few years ago I was able to work part time. I loved having the freedom to develop my own routine, and was actually really productive. I also saw a lot more of my friends as we were able to meet for lunch regularly. I also got more exercise and fresh air too. Working full time often means long days stuck inside and being tied to a strict timetable. I do love teaching though.

  110. beth p. says:

    I determine set work times and spend that time in my studio. I close the door, put on music or a podcast and don’t come out til the time’s up. This is, of course, easier for me now because I’m an empty nester. Still, the demands of the home call and it takes discipline to keep at the work and not get distracted. Thanks for the giveaway. Looks like a great book.

  111. Carole carr says:

    I think the hardest part would be not talking all day! I suppose that’s what pets are for. To listen, I mean, I’ve not yet reached the point where I expect them to answer back.

  112. Lauren says:

    I think what can really effect my day is to make sure I get up and shower and dress like I am going into work. I definitely get less done when I work in my pajamas.

  113. Wendy says:

    I am working on having really strict work-at-home hours; it’s easy to let work spill over into personal when you work from home. The better boundaries I set with my work time, the more energy and focus I have when I spend time with friends and family. Looks like an interesting book!

  114. Jocelyn says:

    As a Mom who home schooled her three children fro 24 years,I know that it can sometimes feel stifling working from home. However since my children are now grown and on their own, I have embarked on writing a book. I’ve found that I enjoy the isolation of working from home. When I need to do some things, it is distracting to leave my project. I do find that quilting is a refreshing break, even with some friends. I also enjoy taking a morning to meet a friend for breakfast. There certainly needs to be some balance.

  115. Laurie says:

    I think working from home provides a lot of benefits but I could see how it would have its challenges as well. It’s not an option for me until my kids are in full time school- which is definitely a ways off.

  116. Kathryn E says:

    I don’t work from home, but if I did then I think I’d have to be very strict with myself about using the internet. One link leads to another and before I know it and whole hour has passed!

  117. Amanda says:

    These are all good tips! Keeping connected with people online is probably what helps me the most… even if they are people I’ve never met in real life!

  118. Kim S says:

    Working from home is a challenge for me. I try to connect with people online and I try to leave the house each day to go to the gym or just run an errand. A change of scenery helps a bit.

  119. Kiera says:

    These are all great tips! (: I’m stuck with my parents (just turned 18), and I had to leave school due to social issues in my grade. I’ve been home for nearly a year, and because our town is so small, I can’t get work. It’s not terribly bad, I’m going to stay with relatives in the fall so I can work, but it is lonely. It’s nice to know I’m not alone! Thanks for sharing, I will be using these tips. (:

  120. Jen C says:

    I’m a SAHM with two under two. I’ve been starting to gather ideas for clothing design with the eventual plan to set up a small business; this resource would be very helpful!

  121. Vickie says:

    This is a great article for people who are or planning to retire and stay at home moms.

  122. Teresa says:

    Homeworking Tip: make it clear to others that you are WORKING from home – not just “at home.” Keep regular hours and ask that other people respect them.

  123. Heather J says:

    i concur with the idea of making regular connections, be it lunch dates or on-line chats with former or current colleagues. My break for fresh air involves walking to the community mailbox for the mail.

  124. Kelly says:

    This is perfect! I’m planning on transitioning out of my office job to work solely at my home based business and the isolation is something that’s been weighing on my mind lately. Good suggestions!

  125. Nickkole says:

    I don’t really have a problem with the isolation, I’ll just call a friend or relative when I’m feeling it. I do have a motivation problem though. It’s hard to work when there are so many other things I’d rather be doing! Perhaps if my at home job was something I enjoyed even a tiny bit that wouldn’t be the case…

  126. Jenn R says:

    Two things that save me – sewing (or whatever you’re into) dates and a regular workout outdoors (fresh air and exercise do wonders for my mood and health).

  127. Alison says:

    I’ve worked from home for a dozen years (noncraft), but it’s complicated for lots of reasons and I’m thinking of making a change.

  128. Crickett says:

    I would love to win a copy of the book, because although I’ve been working from home for 3 years now, I have fallen into the same trap. I can go days without even stepping out of the house, or talking to anyone but my husband/daughter.

  129. Jessica says:

    I like to stream BBC 4 or listen to audio books to keep my mind occupied when I’m working on mundane tasks. When the loneliness really set in, I’ll take my laptop to a cafe to do any journaling, tech, or planning work I need to do.

  130. Jessie Hansen says:

    These are all really good ideas, even just for stay at home parents and/or homeschoolers. Anyone who spends more of their days at home would benefit from these tips. My question is: how you balance being a stay at home mom and running a business? That’s one reason I haven’t started looking into it more.

  131. Alli says:

    I wish I could work from home, but my work doesn’t really allow that. :}

  132. Heather says:

    I tend to be a bit of a homebody, it doesn’t bother me to be alone for long periods of time, I’ve been working remotely for my employer for 8 years. An occasional visit with family close by, lots of phone calls and once or twice a year gatherings with extended family are plenty to fill my social need.

  133. kaholly says:

    I listen to audio books to keep me company while I sew. I find multi-tasking helps, too. And when it becomes too much, I sit with a cup of tea and make a phone call and chat for a few minutes.

  134. I’m the type who, when I’m really into something, will not take the time to take breaks. I have neck and shoulder problems, so regular breaks are a necessity! I look forward to reading this book…an original idea!

  135. Shelley says:

    Instagram has saved me from feeling too isolated at home all day! I post daily and it’s great to interact with so many like-minded people.

  136. Raquel says:

    When I read the title of your post I thought “but I like being alone. Is it bad to like the sense of isolation?” And then as I continued reading I thought… I have to get out more this sounds like fun. I miss people 🙂 Industry event, here I come.

  137. Sue Bone says:

    Have a structure to your day as if you were in a business environment.

  138. Miet says:

    I’m very introverted, and I don’t mind not being around people. I do want some sort of connection, which is why I waste too much time on Facebook… Fresh air daily is a must for me!

  139. Melissa says:

    Since I’ve got young children at home, there is no “downtime”! I have to slip my business in when they are napping or playing nicely. Getting out of the house to run errands or attend classes or have play dates are ways I beat going stir crazy!

    Thanks for the book giveaway! Crossing my fingers that I’ll win one!

  140. Juliana says:

    When I work from home, I frequently put video tutorials of different things (knitting, sewing…) in the background just to hear someone else speak. This helps me feel like I’m not alone, and I catch tips and tricks that may be useful later 🙂 Thanks for these tips and great giveaway!

  141. Christa says:

    I get out by teach sewing classes that focus on sewing machine care, presser feet, and techniques. I teach an average of once per week.

  142. Marla says:

    Scheduling regular times to walk or go to the gym gets me out of the house each day.

  143. Rhiannon Hartvigsen says:

    I wish I could work from home or even start a side business. I, however, have no idea where to start. Would love to win this book 🙂

  144. Sarah says:

    So this is going to sound silly, but sometimes I put the TV on just to feel less lonely. Because I work from home, and I don’t have kids, I miss the background noise of chatter. I always make sure that whatever I have on isn’t very thrilling, so that it won’t distract me too much. But on days when this extrovert is considering a part-time job at Starbucks just to interact with people, this little trick really saves me.

  145. Tina C. says:

    These are great ideas. I love the lunch date idea best. It helps organize your day too, when you know you have to leave at a certain time so I find I can get more done when I have a date I have to work around.

  146. Amber Hunter says:

    Oh my, I would LOVE to work from home. I am a pretty independent person in general and I would love to be able to control my day a little more then I do now. I would also love to win a copy of this book! Thanks for the give away!

  147. Lisa says:

    I’ve worked from home most of the time since my daughter was born. Having people to chat online with helps a ton, but overall I do most of my socializing on the weekends. I love working from home, sleeping until I naturally wake up, being able to take care of something personal if I need to, whether that’s a dentist appointment or a sink of dishes, and yes, I have days in which I stay in my PJs all day long. The biggest perk for me is having my work time limited to the amount of time I need to do my work. When you’re in an office, you’re trapped there from 8-5, even if you get your work done in 6 hours. I so resented this waste of my time.

  148. Alexandra says:

    I find that if I’m feeling very isolated, I don’t have to specifically speak to people I know in order to feel better. If I start to feel stir crazy, it’s time to pack up my laptop, or even just a notebook if that’s all I need, and head to a nearby coffee shop. I may not be meeting anyone in particular, but just being around people, and getting out of my house can do the trick!

    I wouldn’t recommend doing this too often, or it can start to get expensive, but getting out of the house whilst still doing something productive can make me feel better without worrying about not getting anything done!

  149. lesley says:

    i have a horrible, stressful job (almost entirely due to a terrible person for a boss) that zaps everything out of me during the day. i have recently started an etsy shop and no longer have the drive after work to create/make the items, let alone find the time to photograph and list everything.

    i am getting ready to ask for a four-day work week so that i can treat the fifth day as a complete and total work day at home for strictly the purpose of building my business with the hopes that i can eventually get away from the horrible job and find my “bliss”!

  150. Melanie says:

    I read a review of this book just yesterday and am already excited to get my hands on a copy. I would really like to to start a business again; I ran a home-based business once before, and it took such a bite out of my spirit that I am hesitant to start over. I’ve heard great things about this book and am eager for ideas.

    Isolation has never been a problem for me staying home, I’ve always been a bit of a home-body, but when I was in business, I did get dressed everyday regardless, I took regular and planned breaks. Eating lunch was a big one for me, too, I always ate lunch away from the business; I sat down, ate slowly, then took a quick walk with my dog.

  151. AP says:

    I think the best thing is to allow yourself permission to walk away from the pile of work and to get out for a walk, exercise, meditation, whichever is the thing that connects you to yourself. Even if you don’t meet someone, the time to clear your mind (or plan away from the computer) is time well-spent, and it helps to make you a healthier person.

  152. Brenda says:

    I run a freelance writing business out of my home. I find I need to get out everyday, even if just to the gym, and have at least one good conversation on the telephone. thanks for the chance to win.

  153. Debbie D. says:

    I’ve worked from home and alone 25 years this coming August.. I wouldn’t have it any other way.. I just don’t do the corporate dance well at all! It has its advantages and pitfalls also.. I can get errands and appointments done easily.. but it’s easy to get distracted and family can forget you are actually working.. interrupting and vieing for your time

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