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Advice On How to Work from Home From a Lifelong Expert on Working From Home

By Wojciech Góralczyk | Miscellaneous | March 15, 2020 |

By Wojciech Góralczyk | Miscellaneous | March 15, 2020 |


tanya-skagle-hung.jpeg

There’s this bit in Hung where Tanya (Jane Adams) is on the phone explaining that she can’t make it somewhere, as she’s swamped with work. When pressed for details, she goes “Some big bank is going under, I don’t really know, my job is just to make sure that everything’s spelled correctly when it does.”

I felt seen. That’s about how useful and relevant my job is. But now that so many people are asked to work from home and are effectively quarantined, I suddenly have some wisdom to impart. I’ve been living alone and working from home my whole adult life, so I’ve decided to compile a guide for those of you for whom this might be a new experience. Unfortunately, it applies only to home-office situations. If you’re doing something that is actually important — or If you’ve managed to build a relationship and/or family — this article might not be for you. So …

You wake up. Don’t get out of bed yet. There’s no rush. The day is a lump of clay for you to shape as you wish. Sleep some more. Watch some YouTube on your phone. Don’t read the Internet, it’s all coronavirus.

Once you get up, don’t get dressed right away. That’s an important transition, it provides structure, don’t waste it on a habit. Make breakfast. Eat it watching an episode of something. Heads up: you’ll get a lot of watching done. You’ll be able to recommend things, and steer sailors away from Season 2 of Westworld. When people ask where you find the time, give them a wink and a smile and a flash of ass.

After you’re done with breakfast, take care of minor work things (emails and such), or have some fun. Read a book, play a game, do a puzzle, whatever floats your boat. Give yourself two hours or so of leisure time.

Now it’s time to face the world. Get washed and dressed, so that you can go out into society. Don’t go out into society. Pandemic, remember? Step out onto your balcony. Or open a window. Show the world that you’re clothed and productive. Close the window. Think to yourself: I’ve tricked you, world. You saw a clean man with pants on, you have no idea about the shit show behind the scenes.

Lunchtime. If you’re a cook — I can’t help you. If you’re ordering in — do it. While waiting for food, get some work done. Knowing that it’s a finite period of time and that you’ll get a treat at the end will make this the most productive part of your day.

Have lunch chatting with your friends online or watching something. Prioritize cute animals over social injustice, be mindful of your digestion. There’s a great video of fish encouraging shrimp to get all up in there and clean out their gills. Enjoy it before clips of marine life start feeling too in memoriam. Here, as well, YouTube is your friend.

Post-lunchtime is the best time for masturbation, seeing as in about half an hour you’ll feel like napping anyway (this is a tip for beginners; advanced freelancers already know that masturbation is just the alternative spelling of procrastination, and therefore there’s no bad time for it).

Post-lunch nap. Possibly the best part of your day. Celebrate it. Drink it in. You mandated your own naptime. You ARE the Matrix. Give yourself a good 45-60 minutes. Most of the time, you’ll manage to stick to this limit. Most of the time.

After you’re done napping, it’s time for some Serious Work. Sit down at the computer steeped in that thought. The lie is very important, it organizes your reality. Three hours later, crawl out of a Wikipedia deep dive and make dinner. Put a kettle on.

Late evening. It’s dark outside. No one wants anything from you anymore. Now is when you will do most of the work you were supposed to do today. You will think, briefly, that you could have easily taken care of it in the morning, and then had the whole day for yourself. It is one of the least valuable truths in this world. Scoff at it.

And you’re done. Don’t go to sleep immediately after work - it’s important to treat yourself at the end of the day. If it’s past 2 a.m., don’t start any video games, or you’ll end up going to bed at dawn and then wonder why coins don’t fly out of your mother when you hit her with a freeze ray in a glitchy dreamscape. Read a book. Watch something. Relax. Tomorrow’s a new lump of clay.


Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


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