With my job I can work from home. The fact that this is possible makes me very happy. Usually it involves a great deal of self-discipline, organization and cooperation from husband and daughter or other family members. In my case it works out fine.
The following points are important to make it work:
1) trust your partner that he/she is able to watch your kid.
Even if you can hear your kid crying, screaming, yelling, complaining – it is your partner’s responsibility now.
–> the same applies to other family members / babysitters
2) find a room in your appartment where you can close the door and concentrate on your work
This might involve ‚Boze‘ noise-killing headphones. I put up several Campus maps of UC Davis and Stanford to motivate myself. I also put up some sand from Carmel and Seaside at Monterey. In the middle there is a little toy boat that my father carved. When I see that stuff it signals to my brain that it is time to work and give the responsibility for my daughter to somebody else.
3) Make sure that you have a functioning internet connection wherever you are
I end up using it all the time to get access to papers and look up how different R-scripts work.
4) If your babysitter or kid is sick, make sure that there is a corner in your working room where the kid can hang out and spend some hours on its own.
Linnea is totally fascinated by the following:
– cat food
– fish food
– cute baby dolls with cute faces that she can put down in a toy bed
– clothes to put on her dolls
– counting real money
– sorting playing cards
– sorting tablets for the dishwasher
– eating a joghurt on her own
– cleaning everything with a wet wash rag
– painting on herself and on the walls
From time to time she wants me to acknowledge her work and give her a hug. When I am too absorbed with my work she does not even try to approach me.
If she does not want to play on her own anymore make her useful to do some work for you.
5) When you get to a point where you are not productive anymore let yourself be distracted and do some housework
You are at home. Undone housework can be distracting. Do not fight against it. Little breaks from writing a manuscript can be very helpful to come up with new thoughts and ways for phrasing. Big projects such as insulating an old house or painting shutters are very rewarding projects to distract from work for a while. They make you feel useful and successful and this makes you work better when you are back working on research.
6) At home there is no 8h-days.
Working at nights is very efficient. It makes me feel good because I am at peace and I know that my family is happily asleep very close to me. Work whenever it is possible and you will anyway end up with more than 8h every day.
Photo booth – pictures from the last 18 months: