Recently there have been piles of articles about working from home, many by so-called “experts.” What about learning from a team who have been working that way before the IRS nailed you for the home-office deduction? Ken Langridge and Eric Head are two of the most creative writers in the business. The SMZ promise around quietly making noise: these men embody that promise. Here are a few pieces of guidance for those who want to be more efficient and less distracted while working remotely from two guys who have perfected the art.
WORK SPACE — NOT PLAY SPACE
Both said you’ve got to dedicate a space to work. Ideally with a door that can be closed. With a door hanger: “Don’t bother knocking …” Those are Ken and Eric’s home offices. With intensity, Ken described his ideal work environment as, “cold, dark, quiet.” At that point, I worried they might be vampires. Until Eric said, “A window to see outside is key. A hint of a tree; knowing if it’s raining …”
Music? A distraction to both as they concept and write. Ken fessed up that he occasionally plays binaural beats when facing a tight deadline or tough nut to crack. He finds the frequencies can help provide a breakthrough.
MAKE IT SEEM ROUTINE BY HAVING A ROUTINE
Eric works out in the morning. Ken in the evening. But otherwise, they both kick off their day at 9:15 a.m., work through lunch (one hour saved not organizing lunch plans) and break between 6 and 8 p.m. They catch up with each other on weeknights or weekends when there are “crumbs to sweep up.” That routine means not wasting energy establishing a routine. While these gentlemen said, “We fell into a rhythm,” they think nothing of picking up the phone and saying, “Hey, this just hit me.”
Other times, they have planned calls where they talk about family, weekend activities and other stuff that can lead to work but isn’t necessarily about work. That’s how relationships are kept fresh and ideas even fresher.
SHOW UP BUT DON’T FORGET TO STAND UP
Working from home means meetings and obligations run right together. When your chair and your ass begin to form complementary shapes, it’s time to get up and stretch a bit.
And just because you’re at home, don’t think you can take twenty-minute coffee breaks and steal unlabeled food out of the refrigerator. Save that kind of behavior for when you safely return to the office. Not that Ken and Eric will be.
PARDON THE INTERRUPTIONS
It takes cooperation from others to work well from home. Their suggestion to announce your schedule to the family is sage advice.
Eric notes, “For many, working from home is a new experience. You have to let everyone know you’re at work. Family and friends respect that. They’ll respect your place and your space … they’ll even respect your paycheck.”
Lastly, Ken reminded me the secret of work from home is … “work from home.” He added, “It takes discipline and hard work.”
This is true, no matter where you work. Especially true if you have the good fortune of working from home. As the rest of us adjust this this reality, it’s nice to have two sage, successful souls to point us in the right direction.