Monday, August 20, 2012

Isolation and Focus

In the past week, I have had no less than four conversations with people who, like me, work from home.  While they appreciate the freedom of setting their own hours and following their own work patterns, there is a downside to "being your own boss", when you are also the only person with whom you're working.  You can begin to feel isolated, especially if you are, by nature, a more social human.  Once isolation sets in, the wonderful sense of focus you have with being able to do things in a way that suits your working style becomes a struggle.  So the question I asked my Runes this week is how can we, as people who work at home alone, maintain our focus when we are feeling so isolated by the very position we have chosen?

Uruz.  This is the Rune I have been waiting for for a while.  This is the Rune of strength, of the wild ox, and it is the most appropriate Rune, I think, I could have drawn for this question.  You see, the wild ox is strong, courageous and these attributes come with a conviction to survive the challenges we face.  Better still, as humans, we have the ability to learn and grow from our challenges.  This is a pretty accurate summary of our situation.  Staying strong and focused when we are feeling so separated from the rest of the world is what we are trying to do.  There are those who thrive in this environment, who don't require as much socialization as we do.  In that regard, they are fortunate, because they tend not to experience the same levels of isolation.  But, for those of us who tend toward needing social interactions more frequently, how do we maintain our focus on the work we are doing and remain determined to succeed in this situation?

 The challenge here is, in my view, keeping an eye on the long term benefits of this situation.  This is supported by Dagaz, the Rune of day, light, and clarity.  This approach or way of looking at things addresses two aspects in this case.  First, when we shine the light on the prize (look at the long term or other benefits of working from home), it becomes easier to deal with the struggles and obstacles presented by it.  Second, when we shine the light on our situation and look at all aspects of it, it becomes easier to organize and plan and even interpret.  We know that working from home is isolating, but what can we do to reduce that sensation?  Arrange breaks with friends or family members.  Go for walks or meet for tea or lunch.  Schedule some face-to-face-meetings if you can.  Simply get out of the house and go work in the coffee shop for a few hours.  When you're looking at the whole situation, finding time for these important social interactions becomes easier.

I've named a few actions we can take, in fact that I have taken, but what other things can you do?  Berkana, the action Rune for this question, represents beginnings and creativity.  As we begin to address this issue, we can be as creative as we like or need to be to reduce the isolation.  We have the power to and strength to overcome this challenge of working form home.  From this point forward, what are you going to do to reduce your feeling of isolation so that you can continue to focus effectively?  Let me know.  Post a comment or send me an email.  Have a great week!

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