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Is Working From Home A Good Or Bad Idea?

September 25th, 2020

COVID19 has meant many are required to work from home instead of their normal workplace. Has it been a good or bad experience for you?

Many writers work from home, of course, so here’s my list of critical things I found when first setting up my home office over 20 years ago.

 

Make a Timetable with realistic times to start your working day, when to have a break, when to go to the shops. It may not always work out, but it helps you focus on the bits you must do each day.

Let others know you are “working” from home. Friends and family are still likely to pop in for a chat, phone to say “Hi”, expect you to make them a cuppa and sit with them. You are not available because you are at home, so they need to know your timetable. No distractions. Avoid phoning you at critical times of the day.

The “to do” list. Yes, I know lots of people think this is a waste of time as you could be, well, doing it! I don’t make a list every morning, but I do have a list of things to complete this week. They are prioritized with a notional idea of how long to spend on each. Write it BIG and stick/pin on the wall. A whiteboard is good – very satisfying rubbing it off the list.

Make an office space – not on your lap – to avoid setting up each day. A tiny space big enough for laptop or PC away from the family/ the kitchen table/ the TV is better even if it’s just a pull-out drawer or tray.

Stock up on odd office stuff that you usually have handy, bits of stationery, scrap paper, in a box or tray if you don’t have a permanent space.

Allow one-hour social media (twice a day) and switch off the ‘pings’ during your work time.

Exercise! Before you start, lunchtime, at some time. My thinking time is my daily three-mile walk. Working from home means you are tempted to spend too much time in front of the screen – remember you should take a break from a screen every 20-30 minutes even if just for five minutes.

Keep a drink nearby (dehydrated brain cells don’t work well), but not a packet of biscuits or chocolate. Apparently, your keyboard is the least healthy piece of equipment so remember to clean it regularly with antiseptic wipes.

Enjoy the extra time not commuting. The commute is not always lost time, of course, as it is sometimes the best way to catch up on reading or social media.

Finally – no jimjams! You need to dress the part – comfortable but still at work. Somehow it feels more like “this is me working at the moment” than “I’m fitting in a bit of work while relaxing”.

 

Many of these points are obvious and they work for me. But sometimes I ignore them and go out with my husband!

 

Dr Jacqueline Jeynes – PhD, MBA, B.Ed(Hons), BA(Hons) in Creative Arts – has been a published author for more than 20 years, writing business, social history, art history books and articles plus international conference papers. She is a travel writer, distance learning tutor and course writer, and won Writer of the Year 2015 award. 

She established her own small-run specialist publishing company 5 years ago, including an Editing service, is a tutor for Aberystwyth University distance learning art history modules, and a book reviewer for Non-Fiction Authors Association (NFAA). Her latest book with New York publisher is released in Autumn 2020 – “Targeting the Mature Traveler: Developing Strategies for an Emerging Market”.

Email: jackiepencoed@gmail.com

Web: http://www.jacquelinejeynes.com

Web: http://www.pencoedpublishing.co.uk

 

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