I know this comes as a shock to some people, for whom working from home is a euphemism for a lie in, but it is entirely central to my routine. In fact, I tend to start earlier and work more hours sitting in my kitchen. I feel it’s a privilege to be able to do this, and I don’t abuse it.
2. Refuse to look after my child
It can’t be done. I do not work at home to save on childcare. I work at home so I can see her for more time around the childcare, rather than missing half of bedtime sitting on a train. When she is with me, she deserves 100% of my attention. When I am being paid, my work deserves 100% of my attention. This way, everyone wins.
I make sure that I still take an hour’s lunch break (though it might be split into two shorter breaks) and it is a great opportunity to do job lot of cooking of simple things that can be shoved in the oven. This also means I achieve more time with my child when she gets home.
4. Take a walk
Before I start, or after I finish the main bulk of the day’s tasks. Or at lunchtime, if I’m not cooking. Fresh air is one of the best things for creativity and clear thinking I’ve ever encountered.
5. Set a timer to get up
I have the kitchen timer next to me, and I set it for a reasonable interval – 30 or 45 minutes – and when it goes off I stand up. I might just blink at a wall for 10 seconds, do 20 star jumps, do a couple of stretches or walk to the loo and back, but whatever it is, I don’t stay seated.
Far too much, sadly. It’s so easy when you’re so near the fridge.
7. No housework
It’s paid working time. Not hoovering, tidying, sorting or dusting time. Aside from cooking, the only chore I might consider doing during a break is the laundry, largely because it’s done by machine, not me.
8. Wash and get dressed
I can’t claim to always dress exactly as I would for work, and my shower might be deferred til lunchtime if the morning routine doesn’t allow proper time, but I refuse to work in PJs. It’s the wrong mindset. Also, I feel cold.
9. Work in silence
I was the teenager who couldn’t write a word without pulsing indie baselines. Now I cannot focus properly with music on. So I work in blissful, library-like peace and quiet without a single interruption but for a cat’s inquisitive meow now and again.
…though I have been known to talk to myself.
10. Send fewer emails
I thought I’d send more because I need to keep in touch with people but actually the distance does make you re-evaluate your ability to handle the issue at hand without bugging everyone about it. And those I do send tend to be longer and more carefully thought out.