Today I am super excited to welcome to the blog Fiona Gibson author of The Mum Who Had Enough. Today Fiona is going to be talking about working at home without going mad and I am super excited to read her thoughts.
As always don’t forget to check out the other blogs on this tour for other amazing content!
Fiona Gibson: Working at Home without going Mad
It’s been 21 years since I had a workplace to go to. I can hardly believe it’s been so long. I can always go back to an office, I kept thinking at first, if it all gets too much. In fact, I fully expected to. From my late teens through to my early thirties I’d worked in magazine offices in Dundee and London, and many of those former workmates are still my best friends. I loved office life. Why would anyone choose to work from home with only the biscuit tin for company?
I’d only chosen to go freelance after becoming a mum to twins. It just seemed like an easier, more flexible way of managing work and parenthood. However, once I’d adjusted, I discovered it has a ton of other advantages too. Yes, it’s a precarious way to earn a living – and can get lonely – but on the positive side there’s no sweaty commute or office politics to negotiate.
Here’s what I’ve learnt about working on home turf – and how not to go mad in the process…
- There will always be reasons not to work. Eg, you fancy a nap or a snack. For those first few months, I grazed all day long, my mouth permanently stuffed with Kettle Chips until I was ‘ready’ to do something more productive. By which time – oops – it would be time to pick up the boys from nursery. Eventually, the guilt – and lack of earnings – forced me to muster the willpower to treat freelancing as a proper job, and just get on with it.
- Having a routine helps: ie, a proper start time and lunchbreak like ‘normal’ people do. Try not to work all the time. It’s a good idea to keep your work stuff (laptop/paperwork) away from your main relaxation space (ie, the living room) so it’s not constantly there, emitting ‘shouldn’t you be working?’ vibes.
- We all have our own ‘peak productivity’ times. I have friends who write novels way into the night, but these days I’m a morning person. I guard my most productive hours, and save easier tasks (dreary stuff like invoicing, which I detest) for later in the day when my brain’s jiggered.
- Home workers are allowed to leave the house. It’s a lifesaver actually – I love to work in cafes. While I’d love to say I only frequent cute independent coffee shops, I tend to feel guilty about taking up table space for too long. Starbucks might not have the best coffee but no one cares how long you stay – and you can munch on those oddly addictive smoked almonds (for brain fuel).
- It’s probably best not to work from your bed. I know a couple of writers who do this, spending much of their days shrouded in duvet. I tried it for a short time, revelling in my ‘boudoir’ environment – but kept falling asleep.
- …And to wear actual daytime clothes. Personally, I can’t bear to work whilst still in my pyjamas, and with bed-hair. It makes me feel as if I’m in a hospital. For me, getting showered and dressed, walking the dog and dosing myself up with copious coffee are all necessary before any real work can be done.
- A dog is the home worker’s best friend! Or any animal really but especially one who demands walks. Without sounding tragically lonely, our collie cross is excellent company, and I can kid myself I am ‘talking to Jack’ rather than to myself. I can also blame him for wolfing all those Kettle Chips.
Fiona’s new novel, The Mum Who’d Had Enough, is published in ebook on June 14, and is out in paperback in July.