When I was trying to make a decision, after months of agonizing and debating, whether to leave my full-time corporate job or not back in December, I made a pro and con list. I’ve always been able to think more clearly when I see things on paper, which is probably what drew me to writing in the first place! My pro list for leaving my job was pretty long—flexibility of schedule, freedom to travel, unlimited potential and creative work. My con list had one main point—I loved everyone I worked with. I kept wondering how to work from home as an extrovert, and what that would look like.
As an extrovert, I absolutely thrive off of being around people. My favorite parts of my corporate days were meetings with friends, stopping by co-workers desks and going out to lunch (oh, and also the work part….totally). Going from a great environment that encouraged interaction to working for myself, by myself, all day long seemed really daunting (and really lonely).
I went for it anyways. And over the last 6 months, I’ve come up with some best practices for myself that I think will help all the extroverts out there. Here is how to work from home as an extrovert!
Get Up & Get Dressed
Rule number one about working from home…get up and put on clothes! No, not yoga pants. Like real clothes. You don’t have to wear a suit, but at least put on some blue jeans or whatever you would wear outside of the house. Do your makeup and fix your hair. I used to think that it was all a waste of time, and spent the several first days of self-employment in sweats and a ponytail. I started noticing, however, that the days I would get dressed I actually worked better and felt happier. Save your sweats for 5:01 pm, okay?
Work Out of Your Home
Hands down the best advice I got about working from home was from my husband. Scott, who happens to be an introvert, told me I needed to get out of the house and work from a coffee shop or somewhere every day. Even my introverted husband felt stir-crazy working at home alone daily! So, I work out of the house 3-4 days a week.
I rotate between local coffee shops, Whole Foods, a local church that offers free wifi and has a huge work area, and, of course, Starbucks. 🙂
Get a Pet
I didn’t get a pet just to work from home with—I happened to already have two dogs at home. But they truly do make me feel less lonely! They sleep at my feet and talk to me with their weird dog sounds and are always so, so happy to see me! They add a lot of joy to my life and it’s fun to spend even more time with them.
Find a Hobby
Adding a hobby to your life that allows you to interact with others could be the highlight of your week! Choose something that gets you out of the house, not an online class. Not sure where to start? If you want to work on fitness, try group classes at a gym, Zumba, kickboxing or a yoga studio. Feeling artsy? Take an adult education class in art appreciation at a local gym or try a calligraphy class. Find something that interests you and go for it!
Find Your Tribe
Hands down the best investment I made in my career as a blogger was to join the Elite Blog Academy VIP program. I took EBA 3 years ago and implementing the content in the course is what allowed me to become a full-time blogger—so when the VIP option came up, I jumped on it. It’s so helpful to have a group of bloggers that are all working towards the same goal…just like having co-workers! Find a group that are your people and chase the dream together. 🙂
Work with Others
With the world of self-employment and remote work taking over, chances are you have a friend or acquaintance who works from home as well. Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in working together. I am lucky enough to have several close friends to do this with, as well as Scott! While I don’t work with someone every day, I shoot for at least 2 days a week not to go crazy.
If you don’t know of anyone who works remotely, someone you know does. Ask around and see if your friends can hook you up with a new friend to work with! There are now also co-working spaces that you can join for a monthly fee.
Extrovert extra tip: Yes, this means you actually have to work, not just talk though. 😉 A little talking is only natural (and fun!!), but try to get work done too!
Schedule Lunch Dates
Just like any job, it’s important to take a lunch break every once in awhile. I used to work through lunch, but caught myself getting grumpy too often at the end of the work day. Now I use my lunch break to run errands (out of the house!), catch up on a good read, or meet up with friends. This is a great way to keep in contact with old corporate buds—do them a solid and force them to leave their cubical to meet with you. 😉
Give Yourself People Dates
Take advantage of your flexibility and meet up with people just for fun during the work week. This is an area I really have to limit myself on because I LOVE PEOPLE and I would happily spend all my time hanging out if I could. Spend an afternoon with a friend who is a stay at home mom, or take your own mom out for coffee and shopping.
Do Something You Love
At the end of the day, if you are doing something you love and you’re good at, your work will energize you. If you are leaving a corporate job to work from home, chances are it’s to pursue something you love—so put your heart and soul in it and go for it!
Set a Schedule
Here’s the deal. Having a flexible schedule is awesome! But it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Like I mentioned above, I could happily spend all my time bouncing from hangout to hangout, and the day can easily slip away. To combat that, I have a schedule that I’m trying to be strict with—there are 3 days a week that I won’t schedule any plans outside of working remotely with someone together (since we are actually working!). The other 2 days I give myself the flexibility to cram in lots of appointments, errands, and dates, then usually end up catching up on work in the morning and evenings.
Find your balance. Do you need to work 40 hours a week? Or can you hyper focus and get it done in 20? Do you need 60 hours this week to finish a task? If so, can you take a few days off to recover? Figure out what works for you and stick with it!
So, what about you? What are your best tips on how to work from home as an extrovert?