How do you balance working alone all day? (for those who do)
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  1. #1
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    Default How do you balance working alone all day? (for those who do)

    I imagine that like myself there are many other solo shops around the forum. I have day's where it is great to be alone with my thoughts and get into a good work flow without interruptions. There are of course those days where nothing goes right, and it would sure be nice to have someone in there to share in that with. I sometimes take breaks to go bs with the shop a few doors down who is usually also solo, but often can have full days without much interaction.

    I am sure there are people who prefer the isolation, but for me I can feel it wearing on my mental health at times. Just curious of other's solutions to not isolate yourself too much.
    Last edited by johfoster; 12-09-2019 at 10:24 PM.

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    most shops want at least 2 people on a shift in the shop area in case one needs help or in trouble or just needs some advice or consulting on something

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    I just log on here.It seems to be my (un)social network. LOL.

    Ed.

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    I have been in the same situation, and will be putting myself back into that situation next year as a 'solo shop' guy. For me I found that establishing a community around my shop is vital. Finding other people who run shops, or even just making friends with the people who work at a local cafe or something so I have somewhere to go when I need some 'people time'.

    As you said sometimes you get into the flow and you don't need much contact, but other days it can be pretty crushing to just be by yourself for hours on end. Funnily enough this was enough of a consideration for me that it actually played a big factor in selecting the new building I'll be moving into... Before signing the lease I just went around knocking on doors of other units in the building and introducing myself, there are lots of great people in the building which was a big factor in signing on the line.

    Finding someone in the area you can have lunches with is great. It sounds a bit weird but knowing you go to place X to have lunch at time Y with so-and-so can be really nice! I used to have a guy who ran a guitar building school around the corner from my old shop, he and I had lunch together pretty much every day and I think I would have gone crazy in the shop by myself if it wasn't for that 'time out'.

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    I get more done with less distractions, after all, I am working to make money, not to just spend some time in the shop. For those times I need someone to bounce ideas off of or ask for help then I come here. Another great benefit is no arguing about the music!

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    I have 2 Great Danes that keep me entertained, I have had as many as 16 humans working for me, I much prefer the Danes...

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    You can always go hang out with Jack, Johnny, and Old Grandad.

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    Sock puppets...one for each hand....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fulcircleny View Post
    I have 2 Great Danes that keep me entertained, I have had as many as 16 humans working for me, I much prefer the Danes...

    Would that still be true if they were originally from Scotland, then became Danes?

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    Q:Would that still be true if they were originally from Scotland, then became Danes?"

    A: ABSOPHUKINLUTLY

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    Yup!

    I have worked in places where there were no others who I could really share my work related problems with. I was a ONO (one and only) in my job. I loved it when the internet came along where I could ask questions and share frustrations with people who understood and who could provide real advise. Before the internet, there were monthly meetings with others in my same situation.

    Often the management took a suspicious view of either of these activities. I always made sure that they knew of the real help that I was able to get that way, sometimes saving my company many thousands of dollars. But even then, they wanted it to be a one way street and did not want me to spend time helping others. Duhhhhh?



    Quote Originally Posted by atex57 View Post
    I just log on here.It seems to be my (un)social network. LOL.

    Ed.

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    I found running a one man shop,others would drop in to tap your brain for things they couldnt do themselves,and generally waste your time.....Its a question of work alone ,and go home on time,or shoot the breeze with timewasters and work till 10pm every night.

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    Having internet forums and the like definitely helps a lot, but also not really a replacement for real social interactions to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulcircleny View Post
    I have 2 Great Danes that keep me entertained, I have had as many as 16 humans working for me, I much prefer the Danes...
    I have my two dogs with me all day too, and have certainly helped to keep me sane on rough days. I prefer their company over many humans, but they unfortunately don't always make up for that need either.

    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    ...Its a question of work alone ,and go home on time,or shoot the breeze with timewasters and work till 10pm every night.
    I get where you are coming from there too, but I feel like for me there has to be a balance throughout the day. Especially since my Wife deals with people at her job all day long, so we both get home wanting polar opposite levels of human interaction.

    Also it can be the days when workload dictates working until 10pm without many breaks that really start to wear on me being alone.

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    have 3 kids ,wife and I been married for 37 years I learned I can tune anything out.

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    I have a choice of tv or music in my shop. May not be the solution for everyone but it does give something to my mind away for a bit.

    Incidentally I use standard antenna programming which not only is free but has all the old shows which I like. You couldn't pay me to watch this current crop of crap.

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    In a town of 1000 people, there are not many options for socialization, internet and youtube gets me thru the week, and the crazy dog won't let me forget to take him for the daily rabbit run. There is a small group of us, with educations, that get together on Friday nights at the local watering hole, its always starts as intelligent discussions, does not always end that way. Without that group of people, I don't think I could stay here.

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    johfoster, This will be my long winded, serious reply. Please forgive me if in any way I offend you.

    My Dogs keep me sane, and I am at the age where being alone, is something I almost prefer, That said here is some unsolicited advice. You can hire in, but, those folks are your employee's not your counselors, or friends, they may end being both, but, that is no reason to hire. I have been machining since 1978, in business since '85. I have been very lucky, and at times unlucky as hell. On my second wife, 2 great kids, two grandkids that I treasure. Here is the thing, if I wrote a letter to my younger self today, I would strongly recommend a certified life coach,to be more active in my community, and I believe I would seek out a 'therapist' that specialized in helping professionals deal with themselves. If you had ASKED my younger self about any of the 3, I would have laughed, called myself a pussy, and made fun of myself, because I was that ignorant. Being successful IS all about interacting with others, people buy from people, so having those 'social skills', and confidence to apply them is very important. Seek out a local venue that has a Dale Carnegie course, AND a toastmasters. BOTH will be well worth the time and effort. If you are already feeling alone, it wont be long before you get depressed, angry, and not fit to be around, even with the dogs. Trust me, I speak from experience. (I did say I was in my SECOND marriage)

    One thing about work, we are all in a business, that, if God forbid, we suddenly took the dirt nap, some purchasing guy would reallocate our current order(s)to another shop, before we were cold. You MUST take time for yourself, no matter who might not like it.
    Learn to golf, or shooting sports, or camping, or something for you and the family.

    There is a young member on here, whom I give GREAT credit to, he bought some machines, started a home shop, realized it was not the life he wanted for him, and his family, so gave it up, took a job, and I THINK is much happier. Not saying that is a solution for you, but I AM saying he was very wise to analyze HIMSELF, and what he wanted from and what he wanted to contribute to his own life.

    Last thought, your customers will push every boundary you set, be it price, delivery, scheduling, whatever. but I tell you this they do it, then they go home! Set your tolerance for boundaries, and stick with them, if you loose a job because you didn't stay till midnight and come back at 5am, so be it. I know you might 'need the money', or need the next job, but again, your health, both mental and physical, and family well being far outweigh the PERCEIVED profit from that job.

    I WISH YOU NOTHING BUT GOOD TIMES, SUCCESs, AND A HAPPY FAMLY LIFE.

    I live across the country from you, but if you ever need to chat, rather than yell at the dog, look me up.
    Regards, Chris

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    I found in my shop, if i get there early, and get plenty done by noon im doing good. Everyone stops by in the afternoon. Its a nice balance. Sometimes i need to keep working while visitors talk, but thats ok. Its usualy customers bringing or picking up their stuff, so its still part of the business. I do my parts calls before 8:30 cutoff for same day delivery, or over my lunch. I dont lunch with others much during the week, but weekends yes. It is nice to have this forum, too.

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    I have found that it is possible to work alone in a building full of people. That is when you and coworkers have little in common, another reason that I appreciate this forum.

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    I have never had a problem working in my shop alone but I do have an issue with eating alone. I traveled a lot in my career and sometimes would be camped out in a hotel for weeks at a time on a job. The thing that bothered me the most was going to a restaurant and eating alone. I noticed that there were a lot of other guys in the same position. You would look around and see someone sitting at a table by himself and you just knew he was in the same boat. I got to where I would introduce myself and offer to buy them dinner. They would nine times out of ten jump at the opportunity to have company for dinner. I met a lot of nice people over the years and heard some interesting stories. Sometimes it was even a bit unnerving because I would meet someone in a faraway town and they would be so interesting that I felt like they could be a good friend although I knew I would never see them again.


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