Written by Lori Thiessen

Some of the best known pitfalls of working from home are: social isolation (potentially leading to depression), weight gain, and overwork.

Making Social Isolation Go Away

Get out of the house everyday! I mean it. Cabin fever doesn’t only happen to goldminers in the far north. Get out and join the real reality.

Part of the social isolation problem can be solved by finding your coffee shop office. If you work out of a coffee shop, you will be among people, the hubbub of everyday life. Humans are social animals and we need social contact to maintain our well-being.

You may want to invite friends or clients for coffee at your coffee shop office on a regular basis. This will get you out to your office on days when you may not feel like going.

Make sure that you keep up with your networks of people. I’ve taken to writing into my daytimer to call or email my friends, family and clients so that I don’t come to the end of the month only to realize that I’ve not really communicated with anyone.

Glance at your local newspapers and find something interesting to do every week. Invite people who share this interest or if scheduling conflicts make it impossible, go by yourself. You never know who you might meet when you are out.

Preventing Weight Gain

Okay, I’m not the best person to be talking about preventing weight gain because I’m well, … a well-rounded individual.  Perhaps that’s makes me an expert — I’m an expert at gaining weight so if I suggest that you avoid everything I do this might work. Here goes nothing!

People who work from home often report weight gain. It’s easy to figure out why–you are sitting all day and the fridge is far too close. You don’t even have a vending machine to feed coins to to get a bag of something.

Going to the coffee shop will help initially with weight gain. First, you have to walk to your coffee shop (or you should walk to your coffee shop). Then you have to pay for whatever it is. Handing over some dough for your doughnut may help you to stop overeating. And when you are contemplating that doughnut you may want to cast a glance at the yoghurt cup.  Making better eating choices will help not only with your physical well-being, but your emotional well-being.

Drinking no more than 2 cups of black coffee a day, no milk or sugar, has been shown to help elevate moods. Hurray for caffeine! But did you know that plain black coffee is also full of antioxidants? Apparently, even just breathing in the heady aroma of a well-brewed cup of coffee contains as many antioxidants as 3 oranges.

As journalist Caitlin Crawshaw of the Edmonton Journal so eloquently put it: “…your health is your number one priority. Without it, you can’t run a business for the long term”.

The Pitfall of Overwork

When you are running your own business, overwork seems to be the least of your problems. Everything is riding on your shoulders. You have to keep working, right? Wrong. Overwork will lead to burn out and other health issues. Set your schedule and don’t let time-hogs, like the friends who think because you work out of a coffee shop you aren’t really working, steal your day away from you.

And don’t let distractions fritter away your day either. If I’m working from home, I’ll sit down in front of the tv to eat my lunch and before I know it 2 hours have passed. Not keeping to a schedule eats up precious time.

It’s also important to have a time for the end of your day. A colleague of mine says that she doesn’t do any work at all after 9 pm, whether it’s work-related or household work. At 9 pm, her cell phone, computer and dishwasher are all switched off.

If you are having trouble managing your time well, you may want to try something simple like tackling a task for 20 minutes at a time. Set your alarm and go to it. I also try to set myself a task list the night before and I try to list no more than 5 things if possible. If the task turns out to be too big to accomplish in a few hours then I break it down into smaller tasks.  Write out what you need to do, step by step if necessary. As a business coach said once, if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t count. Ticking stuff off the list gives me a ridiculous amount of pleasure.

Make sure that your time is spent wisely and well. After all, didn’t you decide to become your own boss because you wanted to have more control over your time, your life? Well, now is your chance to do it, so don’t mess it up.

Q: How has working out of a coffee shop affected your working life?

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll save your seat until next time!

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