The Beginner’s Guide to Working from Home

Benedict Cumberbatch in LA gif

Try as I might, I can’t seem to stop being a freelancer. Sometimes I go to an office, but usually I don’t, especially now I’m getting into the final stages of my Open Uni course and working on dragonnovel. I’ve learnt a lot during my time of commuting down a set of stairs or across my bedroom to my desk, and I thought it high time I share some tricks of the trade.

Your wardrobe should be work-appropriate

For example, your trousers should be elasticated to account for all the caffeine you’re drinking and all the angry snacking that takes place after a less than fruitful Skype call. Matching socks can help one focus on the day’s tasks, but as long as they’re clean you’ll be able to sit at your desk with pride. Just kidding – if you’ve cleaned your teeth today, you’re already 99% set for work!

Sometimes working from home does require you to leave the house – perhaps in search of your sanity, which you fear you may have lost underneath paperwork. In these situations, I recommend you consult WikiHow to re-learn what deodorant is. For those days when you’ve got people over, or have an emergency video chat, I recommend you keep a couple of unstained outfits at the back of your wardrobe. Remember, only the parts of you that are visible need to look like you’ve got a self care routine.

 

I wish I could tell you where I found these gifs, but my computer has eaten that information. It was in 2015?

Your workstation should be organised

Even the most organised work from home-er has a tendancy to multitask, especially if you’ve accidentally overbooked yourself, so you need to ensure that your paperwork, computer and faintly stained coffee mugs are well-organised. I find that keeping stationery in odd places, like the key tray by the front door, or in my dressing gown pocket, helps make home feel more like an office, and there’s always the old trick of piling all your papers onto one tiny allocated space so you look far more official than you actually are.

You need several planners

One or two, at least. Probably a wall calendar. They contain nothing but deadlines because you last saw your friends on Halloween 2016, but they’re a nice reminder that the end of the tax year is coming up and you’re not as rich as you thought you would be by now.

Invest in quality headphones

Not to block out your neighbours! Not to listen to interesting podcasts while you work! Your headphones are there for when your family members come home and you’ve accidentally read Atlas Obscura all day so you have to catch up during the evening and need to look focused.

Disconnect your wifi

So you can get lots done with no distractions! Wait, you need the internet to work from home in the first place? Hm. Well. If I ever work out a happy medium, I’ll let you know, but I spent a full thirty seconds this afternoon watching a Facebook video of someone’s pet fox zoom around their living room. You should probably just go and work in a coffee shop or something. Or a library.

Or an office.

 

Advertisements

Colour Codes

I think I might have been insulting people for ages. I mean, I know I’ve been insulting people for ages, but it turns out I might have been accidentally insulting people who I actually wish to do the opposite of insult.

That’s getting tautological so I’ll get on with it: yesterday Benedict Cumberbatch (I’d forgotten how hard his name is to type quickly) apologised because he accidentally used the term ‘coloured’ instead of ‘black’. I did a quick Internet search, aka poked about on Twitter and Tumblr, and there was surprisingly (refreshingly) little bullshit about… or maybe I didn’t look hard enough, haha.

My point is, I was under the impression that it’s completely okay to use the term ‘people of colour’ to describe non-white people? I mean, it’s pretty standard usage on Tumblr, and if anywhere is going to eat you alive for using the wrong terminology, it’s those snowflakes. Where I come from people say ‘black’ and ‘coloured’ interchangeably, and not usually in a racist way (if you want to insult someone’s race, there’s a way more varied list). Apparently Martin Luther King used the term ‘citizens of colour’, and if we should follow anyone’s example my gut feeling is that MLK is a good dude for the job. So should Benedict have said ‘actors of colour’ instead of ‘coloured actors’? Or ‘black actors’? What if he meant anyone who isn’t white but isn’t necessarily black? Should anyone care when he was actually making the point that the acting industry isn’t as diverse in the UK as it is in Hollywood?

Have I just insulted more people in my ignorance?

Help.

A Poem About Leaving School

I have graced the hallways of my school for seven entire years, roughly the equivalent of the time it takes to get to the front of a queue in the post office. Typically students bring in notebooks into which other students write farewell messages of good luck and sappy happiness. I forgot to get a notebook so I’m writing this instead, which is way more impressive because it’s in the public domain forever.

So, what was happening seven years ago?

  • Gordon Brown was prime minister and students could attend university without first selling their organs
  • Jimmy Saville was an okay dude
  • North Africa was full of peaceful, dictatorial regimes
  • Benedict Cumberbatch could go out in public
  • People used MySpace
  • Leonardo DiCaprio was waiting to win an Oscar

Well, I never said the world had changed beyond all recognition.

But still. Seven years. Part of me thinks about leaving school and is like this:

from lisce.tumblr.com
from lisce.tumblr.com

Part of me feels like this:

Found... somewhere on Tumblr
Found… somewhere on Tumblr

Since I’m a writer, blah blah blah, I thought I’d write a poem about my time in school.

  • A is for ageing, which we have all done
  • B is for bonkers, which we have all become
  • C stands for lots of coffee… enough said!
  • D is Sunday night and that sudden feeling of dread
  • E stands for examinations, which make us want to cry
  • F are the fuckin’ idiots we’ve all had to put up with in class at least once who make us want to die
  • G is General Studies, ironically my best subject
  • H stands for homework, which you shouldn’t try in public
  • “I is not in ‘team’!” which we learnt in PE
  • J are the in-jokes that make strangers want to flee
  • K finishes ‘okay’ which some days you are not
  • L is in ‘lower school’ when you thought sixth formers were hot
  • M is Monday assemblies, the only thing the entire year thinks is shit
  • N are the notices which make the assemblies such a hit
  • O is organisation which… wait, I’ve lost my notes
  • P is for school pond, where there really should be boats
  • Q is in ‘quiet’ which the quiet study room never has been
  • R is in ‘year seven’ when we were really keen
  • S starts off ‘sleep’ which we very rarely do
  • T are the teachers who are actually humans too
  • U are the uniform rules that have haunted us for years
  • V is the vast amount of bullshit we’ve sometimes put up with from peers
  • W is for websites used to hastily gather information
  • X is in the phrase “surely that doesn’t need another explanation?”
  • Y is for “WHY ME, GOD?” a frequently-asked school-based question
  • Z is for zoo, the place to which we might actually return with begrudging joy when it’s time for a reunion.

And by zoo I mean secondary school. Please never accuse me of lacking in appreciation for the poetic arts, ladies and gentlemen. It rhymed.

Anyway, happy end-of-school! (Unless it isn’t the end of school for you, in which case happy Thursday.)

Six Degrees of Separation: the Bloke Off TV Appearing Alongside Another Bloke Off TV!

Okay so the following was written between last Wednesday and yesterday but the Internet fluffed up so it’s going online now. Let’s pretend I’m not totally over English and moving on to Politics:

Here’s the six degrees of separation post I mentioned last week. The original title was “I’m getting to a point in my life where if I read a film advert and Benedict Cumberbatch’s name isn’t in the titles, I’m surprised and a little disappointed in both the actor and the industry.” In capitals.

Or something (I think I thought it up mid-multitask). Anyway:

  • Last Monday I saw Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear at the National. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re interested in Shakespeare, parenting, dementia, the weather and/or a lack of ability to understand one’s offspring
  • The actor playing the Fool is Alan Scarborough, whose TV work includes Pete off Gavin and Stacey and last week’s episode of Death in Paradise
  • That Death in Paradise episode featured Vinette Robinson, who’s in Sherlock
  • …alongside a guy named Tom Brooke, aka Billy the squishy-armed junkie, who is currently playing Edgar in King Lear
  • King Lear has been portrayed by a lot of people, one of whom is Ian McKellen. He plays Gandalf in The Hobbit alongside the bloke who plays Sherlock
  • …whose extensive film-based portfolio has been rumoured to include James Bond, the last and next film of which Sam Mendes has directed/will direct.

In the interest of not spreading rumours, can I please point out that by “rumoured to include James Bond” I mean “I saw an interview in which the man himself mentioned rumours”. Don’t spread shit snowflakes.

This post is a slight letdown if I’m being honest, possibly because I thought of it a week ago… is there a non-Christmas-based version of “bah humbug”?

Right, I’m going to revise King Lear and some poetry. Lots of poetry. Quite a bit of poetry. Varying levels of poetry depending on how frustrated I get. Poetry and The Rivals. Which David Tennant was in ages ago. Tennant played Hamlet. Cumberbatch is going to play Hamlet. Oh for God’s sake.

Another update after this actually got published: Jay told me that Tom Brooke is also in Game of Thrones. He likes Game of Thrones. One of my short-term goals is to read it before George RR Martin dies. Not relevant. “Oh bullocks” indeed.

The Eleven O’Clock News: TV Reviews Are Funny (and so is the fact that this took ten hours to make)

This is so not-at-six-o’clock because every time I went near anything Sherlock-based online I either tried to lift everything from Sherlockology for The Webways or sat watching Benedict Cumberbatch interviews.

Hardest name I’ve ever had to type.

Very interesting in interview.

Anyway, I had so much fun reading reviews that I decided to highlight them instead of just a round-up. Television reviews are a weird and wacky type of writing… the hyperbole and metaphors are like how I imagine Fifty Shades to be.

The Guardian

Guardian1

Guardian2

Den of Geek

I had never previously heard of Dan of Geek but I might go back to see if all the language is as… bright.

DanOfGeek1

DanOfGeek2

DanOfGeek3

The Daily Mail

Here we go.

Mail1

Mail2

Mail3

Mail4

You’re welcome. Now I’m completely excited for Sunday night (best man speech!) and dreading Monday (school! With a day spent  not homeworking but on a fansite or watching the shitty Percy Jackson film! Not you, pre-Charlie Logan. The screenplay. If actual Annabeth could see film Annabeth she’d launch into some moves with her knife. Ugh).

I would also like someone to give Mark Gatiss an award for publically complaining about Les Mis. Holy shit I thought I was one of maybe five people who can’t cope with the child death and utter lack of hope. Or not if you’re a theist/character, but whatever. Happy Friday.