working at home - 4 months on, what have I learned

So, it's been 4 months since I left the BBC (and wow, looks like the Homepage is about to go live-beta). It's been a bit of a learning curve/wall, especially some things which I wasn't expecting. Here's what I found.

  • I don't work well on a morning. Once I worked this out, it's a lot easier to plan around it - I can do things like put a load of washing on, run an errand or 2, or just sit and think about the problem a bit. But there isn't a hell of a lot of point getting hug up about not coding before lunch time. On a similar note, Twitter is a total time suck. I'm about this close (|-|) to using the parental controls on the router to block it.

  • I can't, and shouldn't, work as much as one of the owners of the company. It's not my company. Comparing myself to them/him is just stupid, as I dont have the (potential) financial reward. Kicking myself for not working to 2am is unproductive and depressing. So I stopped.

  • I need to be managed around the coffee machine. And the pantry. Sad but true. Solution: I have a can of half-caff and the can of normal espresso beans. Not perfect, but better. 5 espresso's is normal for a day, but at least with Monmouth half-caff (self-mixed from their swiss decaf and organic espresso), thats only 3 shots of normal, which I can handle. Iced tea and water is a great replacement too.

  • It is quite possible to not leave the house for 2-3 days. I often have to make an effort to get out. That said, if I include home + tube + office, it wasn't hard to not step outside of those bounds for weeks at a time, so thats not really a big deal. Having the gym here reopen with new gear is also helping there - even if it is just a walk to the end of the block and a workout.

  • Some things are better once accepted. Mental load and all that. Once I accepted I needed some new hardware (yay! new Macbook Pro!) and bought it, development has been much, much nicer. I agonised over spending around $2000 USD for months. I could have been using a machine which is actually suitable for the job since January! Once I accepted that around 2meg is the most we can get in this area unless BT rewires the island, it was .... ok.

  • If I listen to talk radio (in my case, TWIT/MacBreak/This week in */Guardian podcasts, not actual public talk radio), I don't get any work done. Issue solved: subscribe to Tiesto, John 00 Fleming, Armin, Above and Beyond and co, all as podcasts. Most others cleared out. Result: 5 days of so of new (psy)trance, and a load more work done.

  • Oh, and the Tiesto remix of The Editors - Papillon kicks serious arse. I need - NEED - an RPM bike for this track. If I play it any more - or any louder - I'm sure the neighbours will complain :)

  • Setting up a company in a country you dont know isn't as easy as it should be. This is the second company we have had in the UK. We are still setting up a few things. It's a little painful, and it shouldn't be.

  • Turning down work is hard, especially when it's for friends. I'm at or slightly over capacity at the moment, and I've turned down 2 lots of work already. While it's not a big problem during winter, it's going to become one in summer (which appears to be rapidly approaching!). If it's not sorted out, the result is an unhappy (but understanding) spouse. Sorting that out tho.

Other than that - so far, so good. I have a nice "office" setup, and while it isn't ultra tidy or perfect, it's comfortable and definitely workable. Would I like faster internet and an office in a room on it's own? Sure. Why not. But then I'd most likely lose the ability to turn 90deg to the left and see the dogs playing in the park. Not at all bad.

Nic Wise

Nic Wise

Auckland, NZ