It can be great, but do you have a good boss??
Working on for yourself and from home is the biggest test of your self-motivation, isn’t it? Not to mention self-discipline! You know – I’ll just have one more cup of coffee and watch the episode of Game of Thrones I missed last night, and then I really should go on Facebook, just to catch up with everyone and look at my writers’ groups…
Most important, I think, is being a good boss – in other words, be good to yourself! Writers, proofreaders and editors all know what it’s like to be the point where the buck stops – but have you, as a boss given yourself, as an employee, a good job description?
I think I’m a good boss, I’ve created a nice work environment! I live by the sea, and do proofreading work for authors from all over the world. It’s strange to be working on a novel written by someone who lives a continent away, while I’m still in my pyjamas. (And with my proofreading head on, for the benefit of my US clients – you say ‘pajamas’ and we say ‘pyjamas’!) Here is the view from my desk, looking out onto the sea – the weather is lovely this morning; hello, everyone, I hardly ever get a chance to meet my clients, so this is my way of saying ‘howdy!’ Here’s the view from my window, when I look over my laptop (yes, that is a guy with a surfboard).
Honestly, I really am working, and I hardly ever play Solitaire or Minesweeper. Whoops, where did that come from?
I think having your own working environment exactly as you want it is very important. When I started working from home I gave a lot of thought to where I wanted to situate my laptop, because I knew it would be important to feel very comfortable in what I was doing. We’re all different; I love my view, I know some of my clients listen to music while writing. My sister, an author, writes in complete silence with the curtains drawn and facing a wall, because she doesn’t like any distractions. Whatever you choose, I think it must be right for YOU!
One thing I believe is that a boss gets better results if she doesn’t give her employee a hard time! So I don’t place unrealistic expectations on myself – I know that, because proofreading is so demanding of ultimate concentration, I must take a break for half an hour every 90 minutes or so. I do my best work like that. I go over and look at the sea (yes, I know I’m lucky, I appreciate it every day!), or do a bit of housework – something totally unrelated and NOT on a computer screen. That way, I come back to work nice and fresh.
As all those self-employed at home will know, it’s great to be able to set your own timetable. Even better when you’ve been engrossed in what you’re doing, and look up to find that three hours went past (that’s if you’re a writer, not a proofreader; my boss doesn’t let me work for that long without a break!). Don’t you feel pleased with yourself when you’ve had a really productive day? Makes me feel like this:
There’s also the time thing. Are you a lark or an owl? I’m a morning person, so I like to get started as soon as possible, and I never work after nine o’clock at night. I know some writers, though, who function best in the early hours of the morning – I think it’s important for you as a boss to allow yourself flexi-time! One tip I’d give anyone is to work out when your most productive time of day is, and try to get the bulk of your work done then, other commitments not demanding.
Oh, and just for fun, here’s a quiz I found to determine whether you’re a lark, a hummingbird or an owl!
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s working day, and how you, as a boss, make it work for you!
Now get back to work! Julia xx