Tuesday, 5 November 2019

'Working' from home (Cecilia Peartree)


I've been lucky enough to be able to work from home on Wednesdays for the past few weeks as I recover from eye surgery. Work at my day job, that is. I am more used to working at my writing from home, except in emergencies such as having to wait at the garage while my car is being fixed, when I have been known to produce a few hundred words on my Kindle Fire.

Thomas - one of the interlopers
Doing my day job at home is a little different from writing there, I've found. I feel more of an obligation to carry on for a certain number of hours, regardless of whether I am bored almost to tears or whether my back locks in position due to the unsuitability of the old dining-room chair I use at my laptop. When I'm writing I tend to write until I run out of steam, which can be after a few hundred words or a few thousand, depending on how well things are going, and then I go out to the shops or empty the dish-washer or read for a while or spend some time with the new cats, who are still in semi-quarantine because of the new female cat's tendency to chase the cat who was already in residence, Jacques, up and down the stairs. It's a funny thing but I was very cautious about introducing them to each other in case Jacques became aggressive, but I didn't think about the alternative!

Daisy - fiercer than she looks
I've tried a few different options while working from home to address the boredom and the back problem. The other day, for instance, I took some paperwork I had created in the office upstairs to read through while I sat with the new cats. There were a few interruptions when I had to stop them stealing extra cat treats from a packet I had foolishly brought upstairs with me, and then when I had to intervene in another of those staircase encounters between the new female cat and Jacques. Later in the day I moved my laptop into the kitchen and worked there for a while before discovering that the new kitchen chairs aren't at the right height to work from and the lighting conditions aren't ideal either.

Then there's the urge to fit in just one more domestic task around the work, and the discovery that some of the tasks, such as taking out the recycling, take a lot longer than I would have thought, especially if the talkative neighbour happens to be about. And then there are the interruptions. We have carers who come in four times a day and occasionally we get one who seems a lot more helpless than the others and asks where the kettle is and then, after I've sat down again, where the coffee is and minutes later, where the milk is. (Despite the chaos that usually reigns in our household, all these things are exactly where most people would expect them to be.)
Jacques - the original cat

I did manage to pause for long enough to wash my hair last Wednesday during day job hours, but I justified that to myself easily enough because I had to be on an interview panel on Thursday and, I reasoned, I wouldn't want to frighten the candidates too much by looking like a scarecrow, particularly on Hallowe'en.



3 comments:

Dora said...

Being an author is a lonely job and pets are a source of joy in my life. I am ready with a romance boxed set for Christmas. I am getting a 100 reviews from https://usabookreviewers.com/christmas-gift for my 3 book set and will also line up Bookbub promotion along with a few other sites. Last Christmas was great for sales and I am hoping for better sales this time..

Umberto Tosi said...

I so know the home-working distrations and frustrations you describe so pithily. During many years of freelancing, contract work and other jobs from home, I learned that because one is at home, everyone - family, friends and all the many callers of the day (meter readers, postal workers, help) - assume that one is always available. I loathed to come off as hard-nosed, and my instinct has always been to please, but I had to bar the door and put up warning signs at some points and hope folks would get over it. Thanks for the post!

Wendy H. Jones said...

It can be difficult to keep at it when working from home. However, self care is also an important part of the working day. Love the stories of your cats and those Scottish Females can be right feisty.