Thursday, 23 November 2017

Top tips for working from home

I blame Facebook. For all those wasted hours. Every morning, I settle down in front of my computer, flex my fingers above the keyboard and mentally gear up for a day of writing. But first there is the ritual - that niggling urge to kill a bit of time. Of course, I kid myself that I am just warming up the cogs in my brain before knuckling down. This means checking my blog stats, my book sales, the news headlines and then allowing myself a little peep at Facebook... 

Candle, tea and treat to help me work happily from home
Working wonders: a special candle
and a healthy treat from Eat Real Food
Half an hour later, I'm abreast of who's flown off to Copenhagen for a business trip, which child scored a gymnastics medal at the weekend and who consumed a giant mussel on holiday but my word documents remain unopened.

Then, before I know it, the dog needs walking, the dishwasher unloading, the emails ping and I glance at the clock - argh! Lunchtime has rolled around and my son requires picking up from school in a couple of hours. Damn you, Mark Zuckerburg! 

So (deep breath) in a quest to improve my productivity, I've devised 10 top tips for working from home:

  • Close down social media, zap your email and even your internet browser if you don't need to be online; switch off  noisy notifications on your phone too
  • Find a comfortable nook in the house to suit your mood - sometimes I retreat to the study downstairs for freelance projects; or I set up on the kitchen table and stare out at the pots on the patio until inspiration strikes...
  • Set achievable deadlines - use your diary to break your workload down into scheduled chunks
  • Keep a log of the hours you work - noting down start and finish times as you go along (avoids time wastage)
  • Make your working environment feel hygge - light a candle, set up a pot of tea and reward yourself with a treat halfway through the day 
  • On that note, ask your spouse/partner to hide all the biscuits in the house and ensure that only healthy snacks remain accessible
  • Stay warm - have an old jumper to hand or plug in an electric radiator (nothing worse than feeling chilly)
  • Once your concentration levels start to slip, take a proper break - walk the dog, exercise, pace up and down the garden in the fresh air
  • Ring-fence your working time (all household chores should be relegated to a specific slot in the day)
  • If all else fails, pack up your laptop and find a friendly cafe with wifi; I've done some of my best work in a shopping centre in Reading with a flat white by my side

Right! Now I feel better. But before we get started, does anyone fancy a cup of tea?