How to cope with freelancer isolation
Blog,  Self-Care

Guest Post: How to cope with freelancer isolation

This weeks guest post is from Ashutosh from Refrens.com discussing an issue I think a lot of us have faced recently after being thrown into working from home. Freelancer isolation can affect all of us, and I hope you enjoy reading Ashutosh’s take on it as much as I did.

On embarking their journey as a freelancer, one begins with a sense of being authorized and engaged. With earning the privilege of being their own boss, they are relieved from the pressure of performance evaluation. One of the main perks of being a freelancer is having the liberty to select whom they want to work with and getting the flexibility of the work schedule.

Initially everything in the garden is rosy. Over time, they start feeling the thorns. Freelancing is often known for straining people to perform various roles at same time and living up to multitasking. From struggling to become their own accountant, to marketing their work, and having to live up to the clients deadlines puts them under pressure.

Self employment leads to being lonely and working solo paves way to isolation. This hard challenging side to freelancing arises due to the lack of office social life, missed team working, lack of discussions with colleagues, and not having someone to talk to at the end of the day. This converts into worrying implications on their psychological state. Loneliness can steer to an unhealthy state of mind leaving treacherous influence on their work leading to inefficiency.

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4 ways to cope with freelancer isolation

An act of isolation

Absence of Conversation Partner for Issues

All good things come with a disadvantage. Being on your own does not eliminate facing work related problems, in fact comes with an added cost of not having someone to go to. Communicating and sharing problems with someone lifts off a heavy burden from your shoulders. Freelancers feel the void of not having someone to offer them solutions for their problems. They start feeling lack of motivation, from having negative thoughts revolving in their head constantly. If this keeps building up, they soon start having anxiety and going into a state of depression.

Loneliness is an Obstacle to Creativity

Great companies advocate team working as it leads to collective thinking, synchronizing ideas, and aligning energies. Thinking as a group ignites creativity and generates refined ideas compared to what an individual could produce. One might argue that working solo leads to higher concentration, but it lacks exchange of ideas and elucidating discussions to attain unconventional and unique proposals. A collaborative effort means prompting up on others’ thoughts and stimulating fresh ideas by picking up clues from the discussions.

Decreased Efficiency

The opportunity cost of working on your own and straining yourself under loads of work is not having the time to cherish and breathe. Once a machine gets too hot due to usage of high energy, it needs to restart and have time to cool down. Similarly, by working with maximum productivity, you stress your mental and physical self. As learnt in economics, here also you start getting decreased marginal output for each input, as over time productivity starts deteriorating. Every once in a while, taking a break is necessary. Stop with what you are working on currently, socialize and relax. An outing with friends or a day on the beach is all you need to be back with the equivalent energy and parallel efficiency.

Overcoming the Obstacle

As you reflect on the above points, you start connecting them with what you are going through. Our advice is to not delve into it as it is harmful to your mental health; facing an uninspiring state of mind and inefficient style of working are some of the consequences of isolation for freelancers. Learn to jump over this hurdle. Below are some of the tips to help you through it:

Choose to Work at a Coworking Space

These places foster a great opportunity for fruitful collaborations and dynamic energy. Keeping in mind the budget, coworking space is your go to solution. Bridging the gap from both worlds, it provides a space for an organized working environment, while still giving the flexibility of working by yourself. This space allows you to meet a lot of self-employed people and doesn’t let you feel the void of office socializing and indulging in banter with colleagues.

Become Part of a Community

From generic to profession specific, there are a lot of communities around. Join freelancers’ communities in your local area. Prosper a sense of belongingness by joining them, making a move, or by going over the edge to organize virtual or offline gatherings. If you don’t find any around, take the charge, put in the efforts to create one. Take action and approach people. You will find a lot of similar people who are looking for guidance, and you can also find an adviser for yourself.

Networking

Joining communities is a great method to cope with isolation. But building connections is another efficient solution. Talk to people from your profession as well as freelancers working in other various industries who could complement what you do through websites or social media.

Through building a relationship, you know you are not the only one facing these hard times. Be the first one to lend an ear and give a helping hand, to make the foundation of relation stronger. You share the miseries and be each other’s confidant when facing hardships in professional and personal life. Networking assists you with the required mindset change.

Enjoy A Sport

Do what you love. Playing sports is a great way to feel the change and exert energy. Select anything that you like, running on the fields, swimming, or playing football, there are a range of options available. Sports are usually teamwork. Getting out there, it gives you an opportunity to meet people from various fields of work. Engaging with them in conversations, making plans to meet up, and building a connection will help you have a person who will be there for you.

The challenge of mental health problems attached to freelancer isolation is serious. Avoiding it and not accepting that you are going through it only increases the consequences. Remember, you are not the only one. Stop with overthinking, and start taking steps to cure it. If you have just begun with freelancing, do not worry, all problems come with a solution.

About Ashutosh

Ashutosh works as a Product Manager at Refrens.com – India’s most powerful platform for freelancer’s finances and growth. He has helped some renowned technology companies with their product. In this piece, he shares about the problems associated with freelancer isolation and how to cope up with it.

You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Do you have a mental health, self care or chronic illness topic you would liked to write about? Why not get in touch and guest post on Philippa Claire!

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