I expected when I went full-time with Reclaim Hosting that the first thing I'd miss is the bullpen. I imagine it's a feeling that others who freelance or otherwise work solely for themselves experience and more and more I'm interested in learning ways that they deal with it. For myself the problem presents itself in that I also work really well in isolation. I'm driven more by my ability to lock in and get work done without others getting in the way. There's a real danger to this line of thinking because work done in isolation is void of external analysis, critique, and revision. I might be satisfying my brain but I'm not going to be doing the best work I can be.
The more practical need is for human connection as well. Lately I've found the silence of the home office bothersome and I've been less productive as a result of not feeling like I have a workplace that is active. I'm sure it didn't help that I've been coming off a rather tough sinus infection that had me unable to do real work for almost 2 weeks. Now I'm trying to find a rhythm to this again and thinking through ways that I can combat the negative feeling of isolation.
One thing I plan on doing this week is taking a visit to the co-working space in Fredericksburg, Business Playce. The idea of co-working as I understand it is that groups of individuals like myself that normally wouldn't have an office of their own can become members and share deskspace in a central location. The benefits are obviously (I suppose) that feeling of being surrounded by people that are working, networking, potentially having others who would critique my work and enjoy some level of commraderie in a work environment. I'm very skeptical at this stage that this is the right thing for me, in part because this is not a co-working space unified by any central theme so I think it's more likely a majority there would have no idea of my field or meaningly contribute in a way that would better my work. I'm also reticent to put myself in a position where I could spend more time explaining who I am and what I do than actually getting any work done, that the location might be more social than work-oriented. But the act of not assuming the worst is something I need to embrace and so I will visit this week and see what that experience is like.
Today I fired up the iMac on a desk adjacent to mine and opened Noisli to provide the atomospheric sound of a coffee house mixed with the whir of electic. I first heard about the site from Ben Rimes and it seems like a small thing but I've had it running all morning and it certainly has made the time go by. Why not work from a coffee shop in real life? I've done that here and there as well but there's something to be said for sitting at a desk with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to do work and coffee shops also aren't the place for video calls which I actually tend to do quite a bit of throughout the week. So I think I'll work on the ambient noise thing more and utilize it more often.
I'm also trying to mix up some of my personal habits online to get out of a rut. I cracked my RSS Reader open the other day and have been reading a lot more which I've found incredibly rewarding. After reading about an informal book club Bryan Alexander is going to do I decided to buy the hardcover book from Amazon and read along and perhaps contribute to that discussion. It's been a long time since I read books and it's a habit I'd like to get back into. In fact this blog post is itself an act of forcing myself into more interactions rather than quietly consuming online and putting all of myself into Reclaim Hosting.
I'm very curious to hear if others have battled stuff like this and what methods have worked for you.