Working from home is what most writers do. Watching the rest of the world try to adapt to the home-work situation is sometimes painful for all of us work-at-homers. From much experience in trying to make a home office efficient when working from home, I can offer some ideas to make your work easier.
Consider SPACE, DEVICES, and ATTITUDE:
Space when Working at Home
Assign yourself a comfortable and quiet place to work. This area should be free of distractions and not easily available to the other members of your household (even your fur babies!). If you don’t live alone, the kitchen counter is not going to be a good place to work. You have the distractions of food availability and people cruising through.
If a home office is not an option, perhaps a corner of your bedroom would be the ideal place from which to work. Look for a space off of the traffic pattern of your home.
Have a desk or table to work on which to work. Holding a laptop on your lap may work in some instances, but when you have a Zoom meeting or an email to carefully write, you need a secure surface for your computer.
A good, comfortable chair is critical. You will be sitting for long periods of time, and without proper support, your back will complain by the end of the day. It doesn’t have to be a fancy office chair. It just needs to be firm in the right places and overall comfortable to sit in. Wheels are quite useful, too, allowing you to roll away from the computer.
Devices for Working at Home
Now that you have a comfortable, workable space, consider the computer you will be using. Is it a laptop or desktop? Be sure you have enough space on your desk for either. If you use a mouse, leave space for that too.
Something that I have found invaluable is having two monitors. Experts say that your productivity is increased by at least 20% having the two screens and I totally agree. It is great to have one screen for research and the other for writing. It is easy to set up and even easier to use.
Lighting is something else to consider in your little nook. It should be bright enough to allow you to read, but not so bright that you are blinded or have difficulty reading your screen.
Earphones come in all shapes, sizes, quality, and prices. You need a pair, even if you don’t expect to use them. You will be surprised at how they help to amplify and somewhat clarify bad audio on some of the platforms. They also can cut out noise from your household.
A printer can be quite handy. I know the younger generations tend to be “paper-free,” but as a writer, I have found value in hard copy, especially when I am editing. Things tend to look differently on paper and it is easier to find mistakes. Workers might have to send hard copy somewhere, so a printer might come in handy.
Along with a printer comes paper and ink. Have enough supplies in so that you don’t have to order frequently.
Flash drives and back up hard drives are also important. You can easily back up to the cloud (any platform), but every once in a while, you might have to move data with a flash drive. I also use a hard drive, in addition to the cloud, as one more safety stopgap to protect my materials. I know that is a type of paranoia, but I have lost big files via both types of Saves. Computers can be ornery at times. And, I can make mistakes.
An accessory that you may not need is a microphone. So many computers today can do audio (and video), but if you want really good audio, you will have to purchase a stand-alone microphone.
Attitude when Working at Home
A good attitude is so important for being a successful worker from home. Why? If you allow yourself to become sad/depressed/unmotivated, etc. inertia will set in. You will find it harder and harder to sit at that screen daily and complete your tasks.
One thing which will help your attitude is to dress for work. In other words, don’t go to work in your pajamas. The first couple of days, this will be fun, but if you keep it up over days and weeks, it will begin to affect how you feel about yourself. Draggy, tired, bored, uninteresting. . . You don’t have to wear true work clothes—maybe a nice pair of jeans and shirt. The trick is to make your outfit better than just your gardening gear. Ladies, how about some lipstick (at least)? Make yourself feel good about yourself.
Don’t forget to take your coffee breaks and lunch time. Getting away from the screen will help your mind to reset itself, and you can work sharper.
Exercise. The standing/walking desks are wonderful, but not all of us have them. Take some time during the day to walk, lift weights, do yoga, or some other type of physical activity. Your brain needs the blood flowing again, after sitting for hours. Move, at least for a few minutes, every few hours.
As you settle in to working from home, you will find things that will make your life easier and some that make it difficult. Revise your work plan and space to suit you. This is all about you being productive at a very difficult time in history.
Thank you to these fine photographers for sharing their work:
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash
Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash
Photo by Ahmed Carter on Unsplash