I live on a very quiet street in a fourplex just a few blocks from the beach. It’s an extremely walkable area, with restaurants, bars, coffee shops and grocery stores all at my fingertips. Just about every week there is some community event within a couple miles of my home. The only thing I love more than my bustling neighborhood is getting to disappear into my sanctuary apartment.

Yes, it’s true – I’m a bit of a recluse. Not 100% of the time, but with the holidays quickly approaching, I feel another bout coming on. Especially since this year’s holiday season is dedicated to time with the in-laws. I’ve just about perfected using working remotely as a shield against social activities I’d rather not partake in. With no set work hours, it’s all too easy to gracefully bow out with a simple, “Sorry, I have to work.”

Having to work is just about the best excuse there is. It’s one of those obligations that leaves little room for rebuttal. Been wondering how to better leverage that remote gig as a social buffer? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Keep Your Work Computer Handy

Whether your trying to keep your ‘you time’ yours while at your local coffee shop or need a reason to slip away from relatives during an extended visit for some much needed solitude, there’s no point in throwing the work excuse on the table if you don’t actually have your computer present to hide your nose behind. To help solidify the buffer, you might want to pack some headphones as well.

Use Multiple Virtual Desktops

If you find yourself in company of people who like to look over your shoulder, the ability to setup multiple virtual desktops is a wonderful thing. Typically, I use this feature to help keep my work sorted when I’m multitasking, but I’ve found it also makes a great coverup for when I only need it to seem like I’m working to the looky loos around me. One quick swipe and my movie is gone and a desktop full of open work applications is all that’s displayed.

Actually Get some Work Done

Stepping away to get some work done shouldn’t always be a fib. Don’t get so caught up in acting the part that you forget to actually do your work. Remember, you’re just trying to take a little space, not blow off your responsibilities.

Hopefully you’ve found some good pointers here to help you indulge your reclusive side. Keep in mind though, you’re going to have to come out of hibernation at some point – especially if you’re not looking to write off all your relationships in life. So after you finish up that tv show binge or are all caught up on your favorite blogs consider dusting off those rusty old social skills and getting back out there.