Saturday, 6 March 2010

the truth about homeworking

There is very little I won't actually read,when I am at home and meant to be working. Scanning the newspaper headlines, obviously, is allowed: that's part of my job. And I can sort of get away with opening the post.
But when I catch myself reading the Lakeland catalogue that fell out of last weekend's papers from cover to cover, it's time to face the fact that I'm doing absolutely anything to avoid starting work.
There are plenty of people who are fantastically productive working from home: on the rare occasions I managed it in my Proper Job I got more done than I ever did in the office, because there were fewer interruptions. But now I'm entirely my own boss, it's different.
Last week I had two days' childcare and more than two days' work to do in it. The first day was surprisingly productive, basically because I was out of the house: interviews, a long meeting of a taskforce I'm sitting on, lunch with my agent about the book proposal I'm supposed to be writing, sorting out a blogging project.
The second day, I was at home, with nine solid hours in front of the computer ahead of me. Ha!
Let's just say by the end of the day I'd hoovered the entire house (I hate hoovering), walked the dog, made endless lists, faffed about on Twitter for hours, spent an inordinate amount of time making lunch, and...oh, and then it was time to pick the boy up from his childminder.
My biggest worry about working from home was that I'd get lonely. But I'm surprised how much I love having time to myself (an odd way to describe work, perhaps, but I like writing so much that's how it always feels to me).
In fact, it turns out the biggest hurdle is that I'm a deadline junkie. Years of working in newspapers means I can't really take anything seriously until I've got less than half an hour to do it: give me a whole day, and I'll wander about making endless cups of tea until I'm right up against the clock, where it feels comfortable. Having always thought of myself as driven (and having always behaved that way at work), I'm surprised to discover that all along there's been a procrastinator inside me trying to get out.
Or actually not trying to get out. More likely reading the Lakeland catalogue, and telling itself it'll definitely get out later. Sigh.


  1. There's nothing like 'working from home' for getting the housework done.

  2. Oh I know what you mean. I wrote a post on procrastinating recently hoping to shame myself into behaving, then low and behold the next day I was up to my tricks again and managed to delete my email address (don't ask). I've got worse since giving up work. Perhaps the return later this year will help. And this time I will not look kindly on an offer to work from home if I wish. Its a special skill to self-motivate at home. Have you started repotting plants yet? That was my special work avoidance tactic.

    MD x

  3. haha, guess what I should be doing? Yep, that's right - working from home! But oh no, I've followed some links and ended up at your blog - I'm quite glad actually :)

  4. I honestly wouldnt worry about it Gaby, you have been flying high for so long that you need a break - longer and more unproductive than you imagined but thats fine. Enjoy doing nothing while it lasts, becuase it won't.

  5. that's why i found the switch from working for a daily to a sunday newspaper so impossible. just not enough deadlines.....