As advised by mental health professionals, I have been attempting to cope with earthquake aftermath by returning to my normal habits as much as possible. Hence, perhaps, the following conversation:
"Last night, I had this brilliant idea!"
"Were you drunk?"
"What did I just say? Anyway, I was saying to Megan-"
"-that there are a whole bunch of people in Christchurch who are working from home for the first time in their lives, and doing it under particularly trying circumstances. And given all my years of experience of working in my Winnie the Pooh pyjamas, I should write a column full of helpful advice."
Also hence, almost certainly, my having had this conversation with myself.
Anyway, I got right on that, and slightly over a week later, the typing started. There were a few games of solitaire first, of course, and some time spent chair-dancing while I warmed up, and since the top of this page I've checked Twitter six times and it's one in the morning. Which is kind of appropriate [Game of Scramble] because one of the hardest things to deal with when you're working from home [check comments at The Stroppery] is distractions.
There's some really interesting advice about working from home around. "Most interesting" would be a tie between "make sure you still get up really early in the morning because that's the most productive time of the day" [wonder if there's an iPhone ap of a chainsaw starting up] and "hire a housekeeper and a nanny so those little everyday tasks don't keep distracting you". [Try to remember the name of that parenting advice that actress whose name I can't recall writes, fail.]
The most useful advice? Have a door, shut it. Try to ensure that every partner, child and cat in your family understands that when the door is shut, you are Not At Home. [Look up the new Dutch porn magazine Filament has recommended.] The cats are just going to see it as a challenge, but it's more fun that way. [OOH, POSSETS HAS NEW PERFUMES OUT!]
This is hardest, of course, if you have a family, and particularly in the school holidays. [Check the directions to the bach in Kaikoura.] Even if you don't, though, there may still be people in your life who find your being at home during the day Very Handy.
Particularly if you're by yourself, but even if you're not, try to make an effort to leave the house every day. If, when you were working in town you met people for lunch, arrange to still do that. It might be a little more difficult now [let the cat in] but it's worth making the [let the cat out] effort, because you will disappear up your own arse without even noticing. [Check Twitter. Russell, go to bed.]
These are not the biggest dangers, though. The biggest problem with working your existing office job from home [ha, look, a 2000 year old ad for a male prostitute, that's awesome] is your job eating your life. Are you switching on your computer before your coffee machine? (By "switching on" I mean "waking up", I'm not crazy.) Are you reading work emails over breakfast? Have you done an hour's work before you make it to the shower? [I love this song, there's some real subtlety in the acoustic guitar, I really should get some more of this, I'll just – wait, no, finish this first. Fuck it, where was I?]
All the time that used to be yours still should be, including your travel time. Have a knock-off time after which you are no more reachable than you were previously. [Solita- no! Emma, stop being such a jerk-off. If you're not going to do this, you'll have to work on your novel, and you don't want to have to do that, now, do you?] Self-discipline means having designated goof-off times too.
Still, the best advice I can give those of you now working out of your suburban homes? Noise-cancelling headphones. Awesome.