Home & Sanity: Co-Work to the rescue.

co-working /ˈkəʊwəːkɪŋ/

noun

the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.

 

The coworking movement has been gaining momentum as more and more people work from home, and with the rise of the digital nomad, many are choosing to live abroad or travel while working remotely. If you're an expat in another country or a freelancer who works from home - especially a solo worker, co-working can be a life-saver!

A friend and fellow coach @archienglishteacher and I have been co-working together for the last few months (both in-person and online) and often spend time talking about how beneficial it is... especially as an expat or someone outside of their home country.. and even more so as solopreneurs. The following are some of the most significant advantages that coworking has to offer.

 

Getting stuff done:

There is a certain level of comfort in working from home; however, there are also many distractions... I'm looking at you laundry pile! When you're working alone, it can be hard to get into a routine and stay productive. Having dedicated work time and seeing other people working hard on their current projects helps combat procrastination by keeping you accountable and allowing for focused work sessions that are free of outside distractions. It's kind of like having a gym buddy.

To make things even more productive, Tara and I also use the Pomodoro technique... a time management method that uses a timer to break work into intervals. This way of working allows you to break down your big tasks and projects into something you only have to do for the next half an hour. It keeps you focused on one thing rather than getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the whole task. 

At the start of the session, we say what we will do for our half an hour or 45 min time block.

Then, we set a timer and hustle.

At the end of the timer.. we have a quick chat about how it went. 

This brings me to the accountability; now I don't know about you.... but I don't want to be the person turning that camera back on and telling someone that I didn't do much and that I spent half an hour cleaning the oven instead, or faffing about with the dog...

Then depending on the time, we do it all again and do another block.

Even on the days where things get hectic, or you don't feel like working, knocking out a good solid block of work is a game-changer.

 

Gaining clarity:

Whenever Tara and I do a coworking session, we start by talking about what we intend to accomplish during that time. So all of the things you've been mulling over in your head kind of have to be dealt with and put into words.

After explaining your idea or project, you realise that perhaps it's not so complicated, and the things you have been dreading or expecting to take ages aren't nearly as bad. By simply chatting about it or asking a question, we can save a lot of time; hashing things out means you don't waste your energy on parts that aren't necessary.

As a bonus, explaining your business and projects to someone and having them cheering you on to get it done gives you a confidence boost and a sense of assurance that you can handle it.

 

Meeting your people:

Networking is a critical factor in the success of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other self-employed women. 

Creating connections and communicating with others from different backgrounds is a great way to gain knowledge and grow as an individual.

Even with complete strangers, sharing a workspace can inspire motivation and help you feel connected to the larger community.

Meeting people with different skill sets not only adds to your contacts list but allows you to gain insight and exposure to other solutions and processes that can help you while you are growing your brand. It might even open up possibilities for new business and collaborations.

Coworking is perfect for expats who struggle with networking and want to feel connected to their new community. You will have the chance to meet people in the same situation as you, so it provides a great opportunity to make new friends with similar values.  

 

Ditching your comfort zone:

As freelancers and other independent workers, we can be at risk of staying in our comfort zones just as much as people who work in an office - if not more so since we are working solo most of the time.

In a workspace that contains a lot of motivated and accomplished people, there is a chance to meet great thinkers and exchange ideas with those you might not usually have access to.

Even if it's online, working alongside someone you would likely never work with can expose you to new ideas and help you hone your creative process.

 

Finding balance:

Theoretically, independent workers and entrepreneurs should maintain a more balanced life since they have more freedom to navigate their working hours. However, people who work remotely or from home find it difficult to separate work and home life. For example, they find it harder to avoid distractions, like doing the dishes, checking emails, or responding to everyone around them.

Although working from home has its perks, working in the same space that you live, can harm your work-life balance. All of this can leave you feeling like you're never free while simultaneously not getting anything done.

Coworking allows you to compartmentalise work from your home life so that you can easily transition between the two. With a dedicated space and time for work, it's easier to build a schedule that includes all the things you love while staying productive. 

 

If you're a solo entrepreneur or small business, coworking may be the perfect solution to keep your productivity high and distraction levels low. Coworkers can help generate ideas, network with potential clients and partners, and provide accountability for getting work done.

 

Interested in joining one of our FREE weekly virtual coworking groups? We meet online every Wednesday, the zoom meeting opens up at 6am (Paris time) and goes until 6pm (Paris time). 

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