Working from home (not)

If, like me, you are a tragic victim of the global recession and find yourself unexpectedly ejected from the cut-and-thrust of office life (well, I had a lovely part-time job that finished), then my little guide to maximum productivity while working from home could be just the thing.

1. Do not, on any account, join Twitter or Facebook. And, while you are not joining Twitter or Facebook, make absolutely sure that you do not subsequently join Tweetdeck. Twittering away all day is bad enough, and I personally would never dream of doing it *ahem*, but adding Tweetdeck is sheer madness. Because if you ever do start trying to do some work, tweets will suddenly materialise in the top right-hand side of your computer screen and distract ……..sorry, where was I?

2. Try not to have a cat. If you’ve already got one, then fine, I’m not suggesting you put it in a wheelie bin or anything, but just lock it out of the house while you’re working. Otherwise, like me, you’ll be trying to type while enjoying a close-up view of your cat’s tail, at best, and then brushing cat hairs off the computer screen as they impede your view of the tweets materialising in the top right-hand corner of your screen …..

3. Throw away your kettle. After all, you don’t need to stop for refreshment. Getting on with some good, solid work is refreshing enough. You never get thirsty, after all, and don’t much like a nice cup of tea round about now, in your favourite mug, all nice and warm and steamy, with maybe a biscuit on the side. Oooh, has it boiled? Hang on, back in just a tick …..

4. Do not, on any account, have children who need collecting from school. Make them walk. Or make them cycle, unaccompanied if possible, it’s very fashionable in Dulwich. Or there’s always public transport. I hear it’s quite good sometimes.

5. Be realistic about deadlines. As a hard-working professional, you can turn around the most difficult project in a matter of hours. But should you? You don’t want your employers to start taking you for granted. Start with deadlines of a month, and see if you can work them up gradually. To two months. Or maybe Christmas ….

6. Meanwhile, whack in those invoices the moment you do the work. Do not, for heaven’s sake, forget which projects you have done, forget what the rate was and who to contact about accounts, until six months later when your credit card gets spat out in John Lewis …

7. Once your children have staggered home from school, do not, on any account, allow them access to your computer. Yes, they may well have urgent GCSE coursework to do or vital research to carry out, but surely that’s what libraries are for? And another healthy walk is just the thing to keep up their cardiovascular exercise levels, leaving you free to check Twitter meet that urgent deadline.

8.Do not, on any account, allow housework to distract you. Yes, you may be working from home, but that is simply no reason to clean your home. You didn’t clean the office, did you? As long as you can still negotiate the mounds of dirty washing to get to the kettle (in order to throw it out, obviously) then you’re fine.

9. Likewise, do your level best to forget about the garden. Autumn is a good time to let things lie fallow, and fallen leaves can provide a great organic mulch. Lawns can only get so high, anyway, can’t they? As long as the children don’t get lost on the way to the trampoline, you’re fine.

10. And remember, whatever you do – DO NOT give up the day job.

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