I really enjoy working on my own – I can decide on my priorities, it gives me the freedom to dive into certain tasks and topics without being disturbed and, frankly, I can take breaks when I want and need them and decide what I want to do. As I have many meetings in person and online, I never feel “alone”, as I work quite efficiently with partners across the globe. For many of my tasks I really need to be on my own. I find it tough to do research or conceptual work in a “classic” office setting with people constantly having conversations, the phone ringing and people walking in and out. Even in my corporate job, I ended up doing these things on the week from the comfort of my apartment. Sometimes, I have to be a lone wolf.
Working this way also means I “celebrate” it. Firstly, I have my table neat and tidy – only when I have structured my work area, am I able to structure my thoughts. Then I have a coffee on my table and I can start rolling. My long-term plan is to add some small décor items and pictures, maybe add some of my photos and illustrations to make the office more cosy; it still feels as if I have just moved in. (This items has been moving steadily downwards on my priority list for months.) But I know it is important to do it – hence, my plan over the summer is to improve it a bit. Even though it is not the ideal office (and definitely not “Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy” as yet), I really like this little workspace dedicated to myself.
However, every once in a while, I actively seek the interaction with others. It is tempting to just stay in the comfort zone of your own office and keep doing what you are doing. But it can be a bit tiring and it definitely affects my productivity and, maybe even more important, my creativity. I need the impulses from others – it does not necessarily mean that I have to meet with people who work in the same field. It is more to see how people solve their problems, what they do when they are stuck mentally or from where they get their inspiration. I am also interested to learn about the challenges others are facing – maybe they are similar to mine or maybe I can help out.
A while ago, I started regular calls with fellow entrepreneurs where we update each other about the current progress and also exchange ideas or give feedback. This has been a real game changer. I am usually very good at setting myself deadlines and motivating myself, but I see that I am even more motivated because I have a call lined up. Furthermore, I feel that when I work on my own, the only “person” I can talk to is myself. Sometimes, I am stuck and I need a likeminded conversation partner to untie the knots in my mind. I do not expect the other person to solve my problems for me, but I see that just talking about the issue, explaining it to somebody else and breaking it down into smaller items, helps me to structure my thoughts better and it sometimes already helps me to solve it.
I always try to learn new things or get inspiration from whatever I do. A walk in the park gives me ideas about colour schemes, a museum visit is a great way to learn how to communicate with visitors/customers effectively, archive research is a great method for new shapes. Similarly, when I have a meeting with somebody, I look beyond it and try to learn something from that person. Even if they are totally different from me – fitness trainers have taught me to think positive and set realistic goals, friends with children show me how efficient we can be when we plan out and structure our days and successful entrepreneurs are living proof that things really are possible and that I should not stop believing in my mission. Even if it is not a direct form of inspiration or however we may call it, I think every interaction teaches me something. After these encounters – and sometimes already during them – my brain immediately starts working and I think about how I can incorporate the lessons learned into my daily life.
We are social beings after all. I think this is something we all learned during the pandemic. On the one hand, it is good to have enough time on our own to focus but on the other, it is really important to get out there and get stimulated, inspired and motivated by others.
Have a great week ahead!