I work from home.
I have a computer on a desk and everything. I turn it on every morning and check my emails and do stuff and fill in my time sheets, and it’s all very grown up.
Remote working is not for everyone, but being a writer, self-discipline is pretty much baked into my code. It has to be. For a decade I worked on my novels without anyone out there in the wider universe having the even the slightest interest in reading them. If I didn’t MAKE myself do it, there’d never be a book, and without a book, no hope of ever being published, so I taught myself discipline. It worked.
So that’s the discipline angle covered, but it also turns out that I am more productive without distraction. People are darned interesting, and when there’s real living, breathing ones around, I tend to want to chat to them about the meaning of life, or socks, or something, which is not optimal for meeting deadlines (mine, or theirs).
So, it would seem that I thrive in semi-isolation. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself at noon when I realise that I haven’t washed my face yet, and am still shluffing around the house in slippers.
But the ‘being alone at home all day, every day’ thing can have its downsides too (and I’m not just talking about the above-mentioned personal grooming concerns). Firstly, if something needs to be bought from the shops, or there’s a broken tap, or firewood to be ordered, because I’m at home, the work gets dropped and the life admin take precedence. This means that I have been known to end up working at odd sorts of hours to just get things finished.
Then there are the basic distractions of being at home: like a kitchen to raid, cats to pet, and a garden to muck about in.
When faced with a challenging task, it’s astonishing how appealing cleaning out a random, seldom-used cupboard can suddenly become.
OK, and now we get to the whole ‘zombie apocalypse thing’.
What the hell, you ask?
Well apart from the nagging worry (usually surfacing when meetings have been cancelled, and nothing has pinged into my inbox for hours) that everyone has forgotten about me, and I’ll never be able to invoice another cent ever again, days spent alone at home without talking to other humans can leave one a little odd.
There have been times when I’ve honestly entertained the question: is the world still happening out there? What if the zombie apocalypse is underway, and everyone beyond these walls is either dead or munching on brains, and I don’t know about it?
That’s when it’s helpful to switch on the radio for a bit. Or maybe go out and breathe some air, see some people.
Being alone a lot can make you SERIOUSLY WEIRD.
However, working from home saves petrol, styling products (see above) and keeps you out of office politics (depending on the nature of your relationship with your pets, or your kitchen appliances, for that matter). It’s not for everyone, but so far, it’s working for me.
Now, maybe I should get up from my desk and change out of my PJs…