Working from home, or ‘And then a bird flew at my face’

In case you don’t follow my incessant ranting on Twitter, I should tell you that I work from home, or, more specifically, my bedroom. Alas, as a relatively new freelancer working in a struggling industry with a laughable amount of debt bearing down on me like a fat child in a pile-on, I’m unable to afford a place with a ‘home study’. I can’t even afford to hire a desk in the city (YET). Thus, I spend about 22 hours a day in a box, the temperature of which is currently controlled by Satan himself.

Occasionally, when the interminable conversation of the neighbours on the street outside becomes too mind-numbing to listen to, I’ll work at the kitchen table. This is fine until Screaming Child Next Door is released into the garden and starts screeching and kicking bricks around while his mother shouts at the builders in their lounge, who seem to be drilling into our house.

The weather is a big factor, too. Miserably, I seem to work better at home when it’s cold and raining, but the damned summer has rolled around and now I face the continual allure of the sun outside.

‘Oh, you’re so luuuuuucky,’ squeal my friends. ‘I’d love to work from home on days like these. I’d just sit in the garden all day long!’

Right, but how do you think that goes down? Working with a laptop in the sun is like staring directly into the sun itself, and then there are the bees. Little furry motorbikes, lurking ominously just out of view, make it difficult to focus on the task at hand, you know. And besides, Screaming Child Next Door is busy screaming at me through the fence. So I try sitting in the kitchen with the patio doors open, but am only rewarded with an adventurous pigeon flapping in my face, later followed by a stray cat that wants to sit on the microwave.

So back into my box I go, ensuring I get even less sun than office-folk who at least have the luxury of walking to and from their wonderful air-conditioned, distraction-less cubes.

And then the doorbell goes. If it’s not the damned charity Gestapo glaring at me with disdainful disbelief when I tell them that I’M ACTUALLY WORKING, it’s another delivery for my housemates who spend their air-conditioned lunchtimes perusing bargains online, or it’s a repairman who can ‘come over whenever because Rachel’s in’, who then needs constant monitoring as he rips the oven away from the wall.

But then I find ‘the zone’. The Holy Grail of freelancers. There’s a perfect breeze in my room, Screaming Child Next Door seems to have been given a sedative and all the uninvited wildlife has been ushered out. I flick on the radio for a bit of background noise as I prepare to delve into my amassing emails, and through the speakers comes this – Trashmen’s seminal 1963 release, Surfin’ Bird.

I’m going out.



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4 responses to “Working from home, or ‘And then a bird flew at my face’

  1. as someone who would like to give her office life of airconditioning and online shopping for a dream of freelance writing, this does not make encouraging reading.

  2. Dude, I spend my lunchtimes eating with one hand whilst typing kitchen features with the other. My section of the glass hotbox (aka my office) is also home to it’s own tropical microclimate thanks to the fact that the aircon is terrible. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

  3. It’s learned rather than taught discipline, isn’t it? It’s finding what works best for oneself and then bloody well sticking to it. I work at home two days a week; spend three days a week out on the job. I have a rigid discipline at home that starts at 7.30, ends at 5.15 and goes right down to taking an hour for lunch during the Jeremy Kyle afternoon repeats. I know. I have no shame. But I have to mitigate the distractions; hide my ipod, switch work email on once an hour and never switch gmail on. And I’ll follow you on Twitter now, just to see what you’ve got.

  4. Soz. Wrong details in the email/website field. What a twunt.

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