I’m a freelance journalist. Like many other freelances, I work from home.
Working from home has advantages, but home-based journalists need to be more disciplined than those working in newsrooms or editorial offices.
One productivity trick I’ve learnt over the years is I work better when I feel better. And I feel better about myself when I’m smartly groomed and dressed.
Although I start early – most days my work begins before daylight – I shave, shower, brush my teeth and dress before switching on my computer.
That way I’m ready to take a pride in my work. I look professional and, more important, I feel professional.
There was a time when I’d jump out of bed, drink a cup of tea and go straight to work in my pyjamas. I found it doesn’t put me in the right frame of mind.
I don’t go crazy – my suits stay on the hanger and I’d never wear a tie. There are trainers or boat shoes on my feet. I may even skip ironing a formal shirt and choose a rugby sweater instead, although if I have an ironed shirt ready I’ll wear it.
This approach has three advantages. First, I work better. Second, I’m not embarrassed if someone comes to the door – even if the most frequent visitors during the day are Jehovah’s witnesses. Finally, if I have an appointment later in the day – which happens two or three times a week – I don’t have to race to get ready before leaving the house.
There are exceptions. On slow days I may take a break to fix the car, do some repairs or mow the lawn. Then I might sit at my desk in old or scruffy clothes. But I still go through the shaving, showering and teeth brushing before work.