by Jessi Burg and Kelly Sullivan
There are so many great things about being your own boss: you can write your own schedule, choose your own clients, and work on projects that you enjoy. Oftentimes, when paired with working out of your home, it can also get lonely or become difficult to stay motivated. One of our favorite ways to combat these issues is with business co-working.
What exactly is co-working? Co-working spaces are increasing in popularity amongst individuals who need a space to work, but don’t always want to work from home or from a coffee shop. You meet at a given location with provided desks and reliable internet, and are able to make connections with others while you work. Similar to working in an office, but with people who don’t work at the same company as you.
Co-working is also successful in a virtual setting, or in planned groups. In this sense, co-working is a set time frame where a group of people come together at the same time, like a study group for business owners. Everyone works on their own projects, but being in a group setting helps them stay focused. Keep reading for some of our favorite reasons to join the co-working movement.
If you didn’t already know, voicing your goals out loud to someone else makes you more likely to actually achieve them. Co-working helps to promote this same process! At the start of each session, everyone in the group talks about what they’re working on, and at the end, shares their progress. This creates accountability, which makes you less likely to procrastinate on the work you need to get done. Once you get your task done or achieve your stated goals, you have a group of people around you to help you celebrate your accomplishments.
Owning your own business can get lonely, especially if you are one of only a few employees, or you are the sole employee of the company. Sometimes it’s hard to find people who understand the issues specific to your business. During co-working sessions, you’re given the ability to network with other small business owners who understand some of what you deal with in your day to day. Whether you help each other troubleshoot or listen to each other’s qualms, creating community is vital to individual success.
For those who mainly work from home, co-working blocks out time in the day to have some human interaction. For those who spend much of their time having transactional exchanges, (every conversation is about someone paying you, or about who you’re paying), co-working allows you to chat without any fiscal expectations.
One of the hardest things about working from home is creating structure. It’s easy to decide that you’ll start late today because you want to get laundry done, and promise you’ll make the work up later, even if you don’t (somehow, there’s always more laundry). Even if you work on personal tasks, co-working gives you a start and an end time to get your work done. If you can’t make it to co-working sessions or have trouble finding a group that works for you, we love the Pomodoro method – you can set up your smaller work periods, choose a short break or a long break between them, and voila! Structure!
Co-working is sometimes referred to as “body doubling”, which is a term for a productivity strategy used to help us stay focused. The “body double” is the presence of another being in your workspace that holds you accountable and makes you less likely to get distracted (check out this quick video from How to ADHD). You may have heard of “mirror neurons” – these are particles in our brains that tell us we should be doing the same thing as someone else. Being able to watch someone else work tricks your brain into thinking you need to be working too. For neurodivergent business owners, such as people with ADHD, this can be a physical anchor to the world – making it harder to chase those mental rabbit holes.
Here at Outgrow Your Garage, we offer virtual co-working sessions twice a week. If any of the above applies to you, or you just want to check it out, come join us to find out why we think co-working is so beneficial.
*Note: You can also test out the concept of the Pomodoro method using a focus app – we recommend Forest since it works as both an app as well as as a browser extension, and the paid version supports forest restoration (YAY)!