Updated: May 21
Disclaimer: This is not a useful content-marketing article, offering helpful professional advice to fellow freelancers or potential clients. It may even alienate those who dislike cats. But if it makes you smile, then it’s done its job.
Over the past two months it’s been difficult to avoid the overwhelming deluge of well-meaning articles offering advice on how to work from home during the current pandemic crisis, aimed at an audience who would otherwise usually work in an office. With other people. Remember those?
Even radio stations like Scala have a ‘working from home’ slant, which has grown over the past two months since the pandemic. There’s now a ‘shut the laptop’ track played at 5.30pm; in other words, the cue for thirsty listeners to release those pent-up wine bottle corks to an orchestral crescendo and indulge in deliberations of dinner for the next hour or so.
Let me tell you what works for me, and has done for the past 6 years that I’ve worked for myself.
This will no doubt reassure any clients, past, present and future, of my utmost professional commitment to their project, though less so of my sanity.
I have a 24-hour, 7-days a week live-in motivation buddy.
Meet Mr Pumpkin.
Mr Pumpkin would like to see you back at your desk* and working ASAP, please.
*This is not actually my desk.
If I’m away from my desk for any more than ten minutes, this fuzzy-cheeked feline will start crying with the most mournful warbling yodel you can imagine, lamenting my lack of dedication to putting in the hours so that he and and his two sisters can be kept in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
Bathroom and lunch breaks need to be kept short to avoid triggering the heart-breaking song of his people, ‘No Angry Typing’. A rough and ready translation from feline to human gives me:
“Through some feline alchemy/Angry typing gets turned into treats/*Click click clickety click click – crunch crunch crunchety crunch*/Why is human away from desk?/No sound of angry typing/Just woeful silence/And silence means no treats.”
The translation needs work, admittedly, although the raw Vogon poetry influence is undeniable.
I wondered if it might be the sound of angry typing (Apple iMac magic keyboard + mouse) that soothes him, so I try to leave on some kind of ASMR hard typing track from Spotify, but it’s not as effective as the real thing. I’d have expected Apple itself to have a soundscape solution on iTunes for cats who expect the more expensive clickety sounds of its hardware. It seems to have one for everything else.
Seeing as one of my reasons for going freelance 6 years ago was to spend more time with this guy and his furry sisters, it seemed to have worked out well.
Before the whisperings about Grey Gardens start, I do have a husband around here somewhere, probably making dinner *searches under piles of books and paper*.
Now, if only Microsoft’s ‘Clippy’ could be revamped for 2020 in the form of an animated cat that pops up to cry if you’re idle for 5 minutes, and purrs loudly once you start typing away again, then I might be able to clear that fatberg of a writer’s block.