If you are able to consistently have days where you sit in front of your computer and write for hours on end, then kudos to you. I, on the other hand, find that if I am not mindful about how I spend my time, a day that is free of appointments can end up being a frustrating, unproductive day.
|I love my home office!|
My very best writing days are the ones I have at my annual writing retreat, where I am in a beautiful location, surrounded by amazing women writers. I try and replicate that experience about once a month by meeting up with friends at a mountain café and then going on a hike with them afterward. Alas, I can’t do a mini-retreat every day or even every week.
I can, however, work my schedule such that I have at least one day where I work from home. And, how I cherish those days!
Here is my recipe for a productive day of work from home:
Wake up: 5:45am (I know … I am an early riser)
5:45-6:00am: Prepare my almond milk latte and sit on my couch and savor it.
7:00-7:20am: Take my daughter to school (We live in a small town so I can do a round trip in 20 minutes)
7:20-8:30: Go for a run and have breakfast.
9:30-10:00am: Shower and get ready for the day (I always need a little break after a long writing session)
10:00-11:00am: Reading and/or data analysis
11:00am-11:30: Lunch prep (I do love putting things in my Instant pot and then getting back to work).
11:30-12:30pm: Reading and/or data analysis.
1:00pm-2:00pm: Email (It is important to avoid email for most of the day to stay focused but I can't ignore it all day, so after lunch is a good time to check it.)
2:00pm-3:00pm: Review papers. Take care of administrative business.
3:00pm-3:30pm: Youtube Yoga session
3:30-4:30: Meet colleague for tea or have phone call.
4:30-5:00pm: Final email check of the day
5:00pm: Shut down work for the day
If you are counting (and I know some of you are), that’s 2 hours of writing; two hours of reading and/or data analysis; 90 minutes of email; one hour of meetings; and one hour of administrivia.
For me, that would be a super-productive day at home. What is most important to me about this schedule is that I get all of my focused work done in the morning. In my experience, the single most important thing I need to make this happen is to avoid email and social media before finishing all of my focused time. The second most important thing is to have a clear cutoff time for email – where I stop checking email for the day.
Having this schedule is also helpful because, when I am writing, I might start thinking: “I really should put a load in the laundry.” If I have some light housework on my schedule, I can just tell myself that I will do it at the scheduled time. Likewise, if I remember an email I have been meaning to send, I can make a note and then send it when my email time comes around.
I also will schedule phone calls in the afternoon of my stay-at-home days because I often can take those calls while going on a nice walk around my neighborhood. Having this schedule in mind makes it easier for me to time those phone calls well.
How about you? What does an ideal work-from-home day look like for you?
PS: We have had a couple of cancellations for our retreat in Belize this June. Apply here today and we may be able to get you a spot!