Working from home: the checklist

My friend Liisa just got a new job. She’ll be working from home a couple days a week, and she asked if I had any secrets. Why, yes I do! Here’s my survival checklist:

  1. Place your desk far from the kitchen. It’s true, you’ll forget that you made tea until you find it cold on the counter a few hours later. This is a small price to pay for not eating the entire bag of cookies, “just one more” at a time.
  2. Do not keep chocolate in the house. If you must have chocolate available — your children’s Easter candy, for example — have another family member hide it from you.
  3. Keep busy. If you have one thing to do, it will take you until dinnertime to get motivated. If you have ten things on the to-do list, the sense of urgency will drive you forward. If you have to, create your own deadlines. But don’t tell yourself they’re fake.
  4. Take your laundry out of the dryer and dump it in your office area. You’re bound to procrastinate, and you may as well get something useful done.
  5. Get call display, and do not answer the phone when Aunt Marge calls during your work hours.
  6. People will invariably call you about work issues when you are not officially working. If all children are like my children, they will immediately begin leaping off bookshelves and playing musical instruments (wait… that was Min), as soon as you answer such a call. You can put your other family members outside, but I find it most useful to leave them inside, and lock yourself on the deck.
  7. Working from home does not have to mean staying at home. If you start to feel as if the apocalypse could happen and you would be the last to know, then work from a coffee shop, the library, or the park down the street. Take your cell and your laptop. Technology is a wonderful thing.
  8. Get some exercise. If you don’t, your family members will arrive home from their days, ready to relax, and you will be jumping up and down at the door like a jack russell terrier.
  9. Do not book lunch dates in advance. If you’re busy, you’ll need that time. If you’re not… well, it’s amazing how many friends will jump at the chance to leave the office and meet you for sushi.
  10. Shower. Despite the rumours, working in your pyjamas is not productive. Plus, it scares the FedEx man.

That’s my advice! I was working from home for years before these rugrats trapped me here, and I think it might kill me to go back to my old windowless office. And how would my laundry get done?

Good luck, Liisa!

5 thoughts on “Working from home: the checklist

  1. Tanya,I just snorted cold tea all over my keyboard.
    All of it so very true. I would add buy a phone headset. It’s amazing how much laundry you can fold during a conference call.

  2. I loved this but I disagree about the pjs – I have certain fuzzy pants (polar fleece) that I wear while writing with the same superstition as a baseball player on a hot streak

  3. These are exactly the kinds of things I would agree with you on. OBEY the call display. STOP frittering time on lunch dates. NO interesting food in the house (I even have my own s.o. hide it from me, or take it to work in his car and then bring it home again at the end of the work day).

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