Some authors are lucky in that we can work from home, but it often presents unique problems. As in any workplace, you have to figure out custom solutions to the little pesky things that interfere with your job. Here are some of my stumbling blocks with working from home.
- FOOD: It’s always handy. My kitchen and pantry are twenty feet from my workspace. When I’m frustrated, which is often, I get up from my desk and walk into the kitchen and open the fridge. Verrry bad habit. I saw a fellow author comment that her butt had grown three books larger, and I understood perfectly. SOLUTION: I buy tons of fresh fruit and don’t buy the snacky stuff like cookies or chips. (Yes, I do have weak moments.) I keep a mental list of “safe” food or drinks to reach for when I’m not due to eat. My favorite is Licorice Stash Tea. It satisfies the sweet craving without the calories. And it gives me something to hold in my hands while I glare at my screen.
- APPOINTMENTS: I have three kids that need to go to the doctor, dentist, eye doctor, driver’s education, friends’ homes, and orthodontist. I have my own set of appointments. This week it’s the accountant, eye doctor, and tile place. SOLUTION: Appointments are now scheduled in the afternoon. I used to always do appointments in the mornings, but I’ve figured out that mornings are my best writing times. When I have an appointment in the morning, any writing that day gets pushed aside, and I never get back into the groove. Writing comes first!
- MY SCENERY NEVER CHANGES: I eat, sleep, and work in the same house. When I’m here, I see floors that need to be vacuumed and laundry that needs to be started. I get distracted by the dishwasher or a book I want to read. SOLUTION: I go write somewhere else. I often write at Starbucks or a local coffee shop. Sometimes they’re noisy, but I can tune it out. There’s something about sitting in a hard chair and knowing I can’t leave until I crank out 2000 words that works extremely well for me. But I cross paths with that FOOD issue. Recently I’ve been writing at the library. Quieter and no food. But due to budget cuts, the library hours aren’t ideal.
- KIDS: My kids like me. They like to talk to me and hang around me. My eleven-year-old still needs to sit on my lap once a day. Yes, she’s starting middle school this year. SOLUTION: Ideally, telling them that the hours of 9-12 each summer morning is “leave mom alone time” should solve this. It doesn’t. They still yell at me from the bathroom or ask what’s for lunch two hours from now. I don’t have doors I can close, so they peek in my office or simply stroll through. They say they understand they’re supposed to leave me alone, but training their minds to obey is another issue. Assigning a chore every time a kid interrupts me seems to help. Cat boxes. Dishwasher. Laundry. They scatter fast after that, but the damage to my groove has been done. It’ll be better when school starts. (HA! Middle daughter just peeked around the corner at me and vanished. She also steals my phone and takes odd pictures for me to find.)
Both my husband and I offer daily thanks that we can work from home. We don’t have commutes, we can work in sweats, and I’m present when my kids get home from school. I’m my own boss and can take a day off when I want.
It’s the best job in the world.
What are the fantastic perks or daily problems of your job?