Monday, 31 January 2011

Self discipline

People often ask me and Staffan how we manage to work when we are both at home. "Don't you waste a lot of time talking?" No, we don't. We have always had a study each, but I am sure that even if we were sitting in the same room we'd not waste any time. Even when I eventually got an office in Stockholm I was so used to working from home that I never went to work unless I had a class or a meeting. I know some people can only work away from home, in the office if they are lucky to have one, or in a library. I couldn't work in a library. I can read and take notes in a library if I absolutely have to, but I wouldn't be able to write. When I had a scholarship at the International Youth Library in Munich and had to go there every day, all my actual writing (which resulted in a book) was done in teh evenings in my tiny rented room without even a proper desk.  

But Staffan and I have never had problems working from home. When the children were small, one of us would take them to school, the other having an early start. We'd meet for mid-morning coffee and talk about what we had done during the morning, then we would go back to our desks. We still do.We meet for lunch, and we always have a proper hot lunch so preparing it is part of the break. Then we go on working until it's time for dinner. I used to work in the evenings too, but I don't any more.

"Don't you get distracted?" people ask. No, I don't. If I see that the bathroom mirror is dirty I will clean it, and if I remember I will water the plants. But it is also just a necessary short break. Moreover, I forget to get up and walk or do some exercise. So I try to think of some distractions. But no more than five minutes.

I don't open my private email or Facebook, and I check my work email a couple of times in case there is something urgent. If I need to look up something on the internet I do it quickly and don't browse more than necessary. Well, I just don't browse, I look up.

I set tasks for myself and frequently keep to them. If I have a boring task, which is inevitable, I do it first. But I also give myself rewards. If I have worked intensely and achieved a lot - which doesn't have to be a certain number of words - I allow myself to finish early and weed the garden or play with my dollhouses. I can take a whole day off if I wish, and I will catch up another day or during the weekend.

It sounds like a terribly boring existence, but it has taken me where I am.

PS I am writing this post because I need a break. And rewarding myself for a productive day.

1 comment:

Ullah said...

I doesn't sound boring at all. I admire your discipline.