“So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ”
― Stephen King, On Writing
Welcome to the second installment of how to successfully work from home. Check out the first .
Unlike most internet flame-throwers, I’m less concerned about being technology-dependent and more focused about how much it distracts me from putting a pen to page. I think Kate Spade understood this when she designed . I can at least pretend I’m using a notebook when I Google “ how long does chicken take on the grill ” or “ .”
Like I said, I’m not so worried about being technology dependent – on the contrary, I’m worried about Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Instagram seizing my productive hours. Thus, here’s my solution.
Step Two in the Secrets to Successfully Working From Home: Unplug yourself.
TV? Goes without saying – off. (In fact, I have a no-TV-during-daylight-hours rule that I strictly adhere to.)
Phone goes on silent, because God forbid I miss any important phone calls or Tweets — I work from home, after all, so there are days when I don’t use my voice for eight hours straight — but it stays facedown and out of reach from where I’m sitting. If something is out of reach from where I am, then I’m not going to have it in my hand until the next time I have to pee. Fact.
Schedule goes into place. Scheduling out your day is extremely key for a successful WFH day. It should be “step three,” but it’s a boring step. Needless to say, I begin and end my workday by completing my online teaching goals for the day.
I then set an alarm on my out-of-reach iPhone, and “unplug” myself to write in my very own timeout corner:
Computer’s there for show. I write everything by hand and type it later, typically on , when I’m tired, or when I’m feeling particularly uninspired.
Word Count vs. Time Count : Unlike many authors, who set word count goals for the day, I set time goals. There are days when I can write 4,000 words, and days where I can write 4. If I put myself in the corner, though, and know I have to stay there for a set amount of time, that’s usually enough incentive to work through any mental blocks I might have that day. (I don’t quite believe in writer’s block; I do believe in wandering brains.)
In high school, a friend of mine had this… decorative doll. It stood in the corner of her house and faced the wall. Her family called him Time-Out Timmy. Every day, I think of Time-Out Timmy when I chain myself to my boring desk. I’m very much looking forward to our move in April and May, when I’ll have a giant home office all to myself.
Another note on being unplugged: musicians have long learned the value of unplugging. It probably explains my weird affinity for listening to slow jams on Sunday mornings. I secretly love being in the car then. I adore Sunday Mornings Over Easy and Acoustic Sunrise .