Not all researchers have the luxury of choice, but if you are among the lucky ones, working from home can be a treat and a nice change to your routine. It can also be a complete waste of time, if you’re bad at it like me…

 07:30 08:30 09:15

I set the alarm optimistically (read: unrealistically) early the night before. The alarm went off and I got up. Almost two hours later, but not to worry, I’ve saved so much time by not commuting and running around campus. Besides, it’s been ages since I last had a lie in. I’ll just quickly have some breakfast and crack on with my work.

10:15

Ok, I’ve checked all the social media; best to get that out of the way, their claws are deep in, I would have succumbed later anyway. There were some urgent work emails I’ve dealt with as well, I like to keep a neat inbox and people who don’t reply to emails are just the worst (well, not as bad as those who don’t put their trolleys back after shopping). Anyhow, I’ve made a nice pot of coffee, opened the documents and there’s no way this chapter won’t get edited.

12:00

The postman came with a blender I forgot I ordered, and I’ve realised only now I’m still in my pajamas. I don’t think the hoodie I threw on fooled anyone (probably didn’t help it was inside out), but if fashion nonchalance is the price of productivity, I’ll happily sport nightwear anytime. I did address a grand total of seven of my supervisor’s comments, so it must be working. Slowly, but working.

12:20

I know I’m risking a snacking vortex, very much similar to one described in this article, but I’m feeling hungry-ish. My breakfast was late and so will be my dinner, therefore, it’s too early for lunch. The serendipitous delivery of the blender leaves me no choice – I must search all of the Internet for smoothie recipe.

Update: Well, I’ve bookmarked a lot of pages, but lacked ingredients for almost every recipe. The one I was able to make didn’t taste nice, so I had a biscuit (okay, two and a half biscuits).

14:25

I’ve finally had my lunch, did the dishes, did my housemates’ dishes, and cleaned the stove. Then I’ve tried working, but the book I’ve need to consult was in fact somewhere in my office (at least I hope so?), so I ended up hovering the kitchen. And living room. I’ve stopped half-way up the stairs. Back at my laptop now, downloading some other papers. All crucial for my project, of course.

15:30

The chair felt oddly uncomfortable and I couldn’t get the lighting to work with screen, I moved my work station to kitchen. Three more comments implemented (current total: twelve; total of social media breaks taken: don’t ask!). I was feeling this draft (and draft is dangerous!) and I brought fleece blanket to keep me warm and typing. Finally, it’s probably best if work in my bed, it’s so cosy. I’ll take my coffee with me, work hard and finish everything in time for gym. It will be great!

18:00

Swear word, swear word, swear word!! I accidentally fell asleep and woke up with just enough time to run to the gym. I’ve missed the warm-up and I’m pretty sure something bad happened to my foot during the training, but I’m marching home determined to turn the tables. Winners never quit!

19:10

Just got some minor interference out of the way but, dear chapter, I’m all yours now. ❤

00:50

I think the time on my laptop wrong, surely it’s not later than 9 or 10 pm? Even though I had dinner and two desserts and drank whole a jug of coffee, these only seemed to have fuelled a YouTube video marathon (I just tried to find a software tutorial, honestly…), wardrobe re-organisation and production of minutely detailed to-do lists. Little PhD work occurred, as is true of the whole day.

Epilogue

Working from home can be nice change. I can work from home too, sure thing. However, I’ve discovered this happens only in situations when I have a non-negotiable deadline and all other options/venues failed. I sleep at home, I relax, I read, I cook and clean, I laze around. I guess my brain struggles to perceive the location as working environment, and on most days I’m not disciplined enough to change that.

With the effort I’ve put into commuting, wearing proper clothes and planning my lunch, the stakes are higher, so I’m more inclined to maximise the benefits. Also, seeing people around me working is wonderfully motivating.

All in all, thesis is not a guest I’d like to host often.

What about you? Have managed to house-train you thesis? Share your tips in comments. 🙂

Ana Kedveš  (@anakedves)

Image credits: ouisch_420CC BY-NC-ND 2.0