Less Zen More Will | The Remarkable Ease of Efficiency

For those of us who have the opportunity, and can't function in high-volume settings like Starbucks, we get to work from home.  Avoiding the daily grind? Yuss!  Being your own boss?  Huzzah!  But it's not all fun and games because you STILL HAVE TO GET YOUR WORK DONE.  I'm sure a lot of people look at those of us who work from home and either see us schlubbing in our pajamas, or glitzy in pristine white settings and tiny zen water features burbling on our desks.  Well, okay, that's some of us, but hopefully that's not MOST of us.  Pristine white setting, yeah, I'd go in for that.  Probably some of you would prefer the pajamas.  But let's aim somewhere in the middle and figure out

how to effectively work from home

1. Setting is important but NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU MIGHT THINK.
Yes, but no.  Put down your iPhone and walk away from the expertly arranged flat-lay you want to make.  Your job right now is writing.  Do you know how photogenic writing is?  It isn't.  Stop.  Sit down.  Open up your document.  Write.

It's definitely nice to be comfortable when you're working; it helps focus your mind on the craft, especially not having to worry about being hungry/thirsty/cold/hot/tired/ugly/greasy/bleh.  Pick a place that fits the criteria best.  Don't go into it hungry.  Grab something to drink.  Get ready - and write.

2. Admit your weaknesses and make allowances for them.
Watching a Carly Cristman video the other day (because I do "waste" time on Youtube), she mentioned that she's going to want to check Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest.  WE LIKE TO CHECK OUR SITES.  And it can be a huge time-waster if we let it.  She recommended allowing yourself a small amount of time every large chunk of time to check one of your sites.  IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG TO CHECK YOUR SITE, PEOPLE; TRUST ME, THE REST OF THE TIME YOU'RE JUST DAWDLING.  Take a five-minute break every hour (maybe, doesn't have to be even as long as five minutes because YOU PROLLY DON'T EVEN NEED THAT LONG, but whatever), then get back to work.

3. Doing research?  Make progress.
This is my biggest struggle, honest to goodness.  Although I love reading, it makes me sleepy.  Looking down or up at a book for any length of time is painful.  I don't like sitting still. I DON'T MAKE A LOT OF PROGRESS.  But I still have to buckle down and work.  I have to go read that book for research, even if I fall asleep while doing so and drop it on my head.  (My favourite time to read is in the evening when I'm going to bed and I've got a sheet mask on my face, because you can't really sit up or the mask will fall off, you have to lie down and hold the book on your chest/knees/belly-button area...long story short, I'm stuck there for at least half an hour and I get some reading done.)

4. As much as you can, don't schlub.
If you feel like crap, if you look like crap, your work is going to be crap too.  Have a nice date with your work and look the part.  Put on your nice (comfortable) clothes.  If you wear makeup, go ahead and put it on.  Rise to the occasion!  Look great!  Feel great!  Make great art!

5. Never underestimate the seductive power of caffeine.
"Maybe I'll cut back on my caffeine and just have one cup of tea - " NO.  Unless you are seriously abusing caffeine and need an intervention, don't play with your synapses while you are trying to get writing done.  Drink that tea.  Brew that coffee.  Be hipster.  (But don't waste your time taking pictures of it.)

Bonus tip: The only way to get the thing done is to do it.
This may seem obvious, but it's not that easy.  There will be days when everything in you says, "NO.  I do NOT want to do it.  I want to go to BED."  Pick me, right here in the front row.  And there are days when I have to sit down, open up my document, and just MAKE MYSELF DO IT.  It's not comfortable, it's not nice, but the only way to get the thing done is to do it.  Maybe that means not even opening up the internet.  Maybe that means not even touching my phone.  Whatever it is, I recognize that, sometimes, I just have to push-push-PUSH and do it.

those are my top-five (+ one) tips for getting work done from home. lots of people have TONS of great advice out there, so please share yours! what do you do to get stuff DONE?

image via pinterest because i am not a photographer

6 ripostes:

  1. I was just discussing this with my family the other day! My younger brother is taking a "technology fast". Sometimes to be more productive, we need to minimize how much media, entertainment, and stimulation we are absorbing. Thanks for the #mondaymotivation, Jenny! :)

    Dani xoxo
    a vapor in the wind

    1. You are welcome, you beautiful chambray plaid unicorn, you. <3 Motivation! Motivation for everyone!

      ...except Hitler. He could have used less #mondaymotivation.

  2. #4 - yes, absolutely. There's always the exception where you have a sudden moment of inspiration while in your pajamas, but on the whole, I like to get up and get showered and dressed and do my makeup before sitting down to work. It makes me feel more put together and professional, and also that I've got a good jump-start on my day as a whole. Dressing the part really does affect your mentality (my mom's been reading me bits of articles and books on this very subject lately, actually). Sometimes just wearing a pretty ring on my writing hand gives me an added dash of glamor that lifts the spirits a little bit.

  3. You have a great way of telling it like it is, Jenny. It's good to get these power talks. I know I'm guilty of dawdling! Checking email and blogs and social media can end up sucking away half an hour that I could've spent writing. Here's to less distractions and more dedication! :)

    1. TRUTH. I will often rather troll through a Pinterest feed that I have already looked at TEN TIMES, when nothing has changed, than buckle down and work. It's sad. X'D

  4. I have to register another amen on #4. This is my job. It's a great job. I need to dress for it.

    Also, the social media tip is excellent. I've recently got into the habit of writing in half-hour sprints and letting myself check Twitter/etc when I'm done. It's a much better way of working.

    One final thing: I have a monthly wordcount goal, and I divide that up into the number of working days I'll have in the month, and then I make sure I don't write any more than just that daily goal. I CAN do 5,000-word days (I once did a 6,000+-word day) but guess what? If I do that, I burn out. Because I've been writing 50K/month every month, I've found I can't afford to overachieve any more than I can afford to underachieve. So I hit my daily wordcount...and that's it.