The Career Author Podcast: Episode 118 – How to Efficiently Work From Home

Work Efficiently From Home

How to Efficiently Work From Home

With many people forced to stay indoors as we fight through the COVID-19 pandemic, many writers are finding themselves with more time to write. Some are even getting to write full-time as their day jobs temporarily shut down.

Writing full-time and working at home possesses many challenges that people don’t think about. Today, Zach and J. talk about some of those challenges and give tips on how you can avoid the pitfalls of time mismanagement and distraction.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why a dedicated space is important
  • What rituals Zach and J. find sacred for productivity
  • How the right music can fuel creativity
  • Why scheduling tasks is crucial
  • How to avoid procrastination and distraction
  • Why communication is key

Also in this episode, learn a few ways you can work out from home with little to no equipment.

Send us your ways and hacks – https://thecareerauthor.com/waysandhacks/ 

Leave us a comment: With the changes in our daily lives due to Coronavirus, how are you handling your writing career?

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Make sure you tune in to our 2 special episodes coming up:

  • On Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 8pm EST, join us for a Netflix Watch party for one of our favorite “The Office” episodes – “Dinner Party” (episode 13 of season 4).
    • You’ll need a Netflix account (you can get a free 30-day trial if you don’t have one), as well as the free Netflix Party Chrome extension that you can find here: https://www.netflixparty.com/
    • Install Netflix Party and then visit https://thecareerauthor.com/netflixparty where we will post the join link. Once you click on the link at 8pm EST, you’ll click on the red “NP” icon now on your Chrome browser and you’ll be watching in sync with us PLUS we can talk to each other during the episode using the chat window. To participate you’ll need to be able to watch Netflix through your Google Chrome web browser.
  • On Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 8pm EST, join us for a live Q & A episode that we’ll publish as a bonus episode for all. Details for that will appear in next week’s show notes so make sure you save the date.

18 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 118 – How to Efficiently Work From Home

  • Morning guys. Great hack Zach. Another place to do press ups, in between floor and wall, is on a set of stairs. Best stand on the floor rather than a stair. The beauty is you can normally access two different stairs so you have two exercises, one for upper and one for lower chest.
    I love music and it can put me in a frame of mind but before, not during writing; I need to hear my mind think.
    I plan in 3 month blocks which allows me to adapt to what’s happening around me daily and weekly. I have two main principles:
    1. I mostly don’t work to a timetable because I was a teacher and when I left I thought why should I live my life by a timetable if I don’t have to?
    2. When I create a project I think of how long it will take me then I double it to allow for life. And if I don’t succeed to my timescale I don’t beat myself up about it because why make false stress? There are plenty of managers I have worked for who thrived on making false stress for their teams.
    How is Coronavirus affecting my writing life? Wifey is a nurse and still goes to work, I’m a writer and still stay at home. We’re a pair of boring bastards and rarely go out. What’s Coronavirus?
    Great show guys.

  • Good morning J.and Zach. Great podcast but I have to confess that I really didn’t learn anything new.I have been working from home ever since I started ghostwriting tech manuals for the electric/electronics industries way back in the dark ages of writing and publishing, circa 1977. Fortunately that did provide me with a steady paycheck that almost equaled what I was making as an electrical engineer doing contract work for the government, so I was able to quit my day job and still support my growing family in the style they had become accustomed to. My son was just turning seven and was pretty much following in my footsteps. My wife taught foreign languages at a Catholic middle school which had a really good day care program in place for their teachers, so when our son was younger , she took him to school with her everyday. Anyway, with all that said, I do agree with everything you talked about in this podcast and have been doing those same things ever since I started my career as a writer.

      • Actually, J, the scheduling method that I use combines the “To-Do List” with “Time Blocking” methods. I use Gantt Charts which allows me to keep track of what I have to accomplish and the time frame I have to accomplish it in. I started using Gantt Charts when we had to create them on paper by hand before Gantt software became available for computers, back in the day when we wrote on typewriters. I still use the original Gantt software which is a pretty pricey piece of software but there are freeware versions available today that will do everything most freelance writers will ever need to do.

        With Gantt Charts I know what I have to accomplish each day, each week and each month on any tech manual project I’m working on but leaves me the flexibility to decide exactly when during that day that I”m going to do it.

  • Nice on the netflix watch party.

    I used to work from home and then my new job had me working in an office. Well the new job has everyone working from home and so I am back to my home office. I am scared to have you guys see a picture of my office since it looks like a home depot tornado hit it. I got small snacks and tablets and several inboxes.

    Similar to J, I have prioritized my sides jobs into those that bring me income. I.e. contract software jobs take first priority. The writing is done mostly every day but if it gets dropped in lieu of direct paid gigs then I have accepted that.

    I have a todo list that I keep with an estimated time next to them. So I can check the times versus what I am feeling like versus how much time I have. It works out okay. I know its not perfect but then I think everyone is still working on finding the best way since there are a million podcasts about productivity and videos and books and…yeah. Zach’s key on this was find what works for you. So far this is working.

    How did you guys do this when you were juggling a main job and a writing side project? Same techniques?

    • When I had my day job, I wrote in the morning before work and then also my entire lunch hour. I fit in any other admin or marketing work I had to do whenever I could, usually after my daughter went to sleep on some nights.

  • Thanks for another great episode.

    Due to demands at my job, my writing had to take a back seat for about a week and half, but I’m slowly making time to write every day.

    What I will comment on is this: Good habits are hard to build up. Breaking a good habit is easy. I wished I had found a way to keep writing, but each day was 13-15 hours of non-stop work the last couple weeks.

    J – a quick note about Zoom recordings: we use Zoom at my job and Zoom recordings/use has grown exponentially. We have see 2-3 days on processing recordings. You could always consider recording locally. The risk in that is that if anything happens to your computer or in the recording process, you could be screwed. I will say that I had one local recording get hung up and Zoom support helped me “unclog” it.

  • I just got a motorized standing desk this week! My husband already worked from home and had been considering getting one, but now that I’m working at home temporarily, we finally ended up getting one on Amazon. I’ve only used it one day so far, but I’m a fan. We also considered putting a door on our dining room where the desk is now, but it doesn’t look like as quick as a project as we thought.

    As for writing, I’ve been in a super big funk lately where I haven’t been able to write fiction. I’ve been picking away at a memoir idea, but other than that, I haven’t been writing much at all, which I don’t like. What I am trying to force myself to do is read more, which I’m hoping will ignite my excitement for creating fiction again. I’m really hoping the virtual Career Author Summit in May will light a fire under my butt again!

    Looking forward to the Netflix Party!!

  • Great episode. I have it bookmarked for when I feel more functional.
    How is Coronavirus affecting my writing life? I’m almost through my second week of strict quarantine after being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and getting sick shortly after. As a health care worker, I find it immensely frustrating to sit at home while my co-workers are out there fighting this thing. And I’m letting that frustration eat up all of my energy. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I hope others are faring better.

  • Short answer to your question? Not well. I had a pretty good system in place for my writing time. I have a dedicated space (my own office! woot!), it’s quiet, and my family respects my time and what I’m doing. Unfortunately, I have had a really difficult time focusing. My spouse is sick with what we are fairly certain is COVID-19, and even though it’s not severe, it adds an extra layer to my stress and anxiety. The anxiety has disrupted my sleep and that affects my ability to create.

    One thing that has helped: I belong to the Story Grid Guild and Tim and Shawn started a two-hour write-in on Zoom. On Monday we received a prompt from Shawn and each weekday there was a two hour Zoom call with our fellow writers so we could work together. It actually helped a lot to be able to look up and see other writers at work. I wrote about 2500 words this week, which isn’t much for a week, but I’ll take it.

    Please keep doing the podcast through this crisis if you can! Listening to my favorite podcasts helps me feel like there is some normalcy and consistency to my life. Be well!

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