Saturday, March 22, 2014

Working in Pajamas

By Mary Kennedy
Do you go to work in your pajamas? Okay, true confession time, sometimes I do! Not on the days I see clients at the practice, but on the days that I sit at the computer, writing mysteries for Penguin-Random House.
Working from home is very trendy; one in five Americans work from home these days. Not only writers, of course. Accountants, marketing specialists, computer analysts, fund-raisers, medical coders, etc, all find it useful to spend at least part of the week at home.
The upside is that you get to work in your PJ's, the downside is that you may be spending far too many hours at the computer, and you are also subject to constant interruptions. Some of my friends refuse to believe that I'm really "working" on my "writing days," and think I'm secretly watching Netflix with a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey. (not true, I swear! I prefer Cherry Garcia.)
If you do work from home, here are a few tips to get you started. First, find a separate space for your work area. Don't let it bleed into the den, the family room or your bedroom.
Also (and this is tough), try to set realistic boundaries with friends and family. You cannot be available by phone all day long, you are working! Make a plan to return phone calls and e-mails at a certain time each day and stick to it. If possible, put the phone on mute, unless you are afraid there will be an emergency or you are waiting for a call from a doctor.  Set specific times to work and schedule a daily lunch break.  And stop checking your phone!                                                           
Finally, understand you personal working style, do you work best in the mornings, or in the afternoons? Choose to do projects at your most productive times. Remember, you have the privilege of working from home make the most of it! If you work from home, what are some of the obstacles you face? Is productivity an issue? Thanks for stopping by.

Mary Kennedy


Lynda said...

It's a little different situation, but before I retired, I was a computer security administrator for the State. Because I COULD access information from home, they just figured I SHOULD. I would put in a 10-12 hour day and then would be expected to do additional work from home (and I was not paid by the hour). I made the mistake of agreeing a few times and then it became expected. It got totally out of hand, and was one of the reasons I retired when I did. However, if I could have done all my work from home, instead of putting in a full day and then working at home nights and weekends, I would really have been able to enjoy the casual working conditions. But, as I found out, I was not good at setting limits (or saying no). I realize now how important that is. Even now, when I take a day to do paperwork or computer work at home, I get way too many interruptions. I need to get better at telling people no (or at least "wait").

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Lynda, that is an excellent point. I've heard a lot people say that their work week "never ends" when they work from home. And as you say, being salaried, there is no pay for extra hours. And once you set a precedent--oy! The employer will ask again and again. Happy that you are out of that situation, my friend. Thanks for stopping by!

Lynn Cahoon said...

I'm definitely a morning person, but since I work full time outside the home, I have to carve out writing time when I can find it.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

My sister works from home. She has her own office and keeps the door close. Break time she comes out and we have lunch together and then back to work she goes. She's been working for home for years, but has just stared working in her pjs over the last few months since we moved. Her other office was too cold she said. But now he office is toasty so she is loving jammie time. And ANY time I'm home is pj time for me. I change into them the moment I walk into the house!

Clea Simon said...

Setting boundaries is the hardest part! For me, since I've learned tha tmy most productive hours are 4-8 p.m., that means no cocktails during the week with friends - and dinner WILL be late. Hard to stick to, but my writing demands it.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Hi there, Clea! I hear ya on the boundary settings, very hard to do. Thanks for stopping by. It looks like the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series is going great--congrats!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Hi Lisa, love your quote, "any time I'm home is PJ time for me." I feel the same way--it feels great to peel off the work clothes and transition into "chill time." (even if chill time means being shackled to the computer!)

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Lynn, it's a challenge trying to carve out time to write. I wish there were more hours in the day. It's a giant juggling act, thanks for stopping by.