Saturday, 24 May 2014

 Even though I've been back from Lithuania since AUGUST, there are still people meeting me on the streets of Porto and being all "OH, You're back!"

"hmm... yes.. I've been back for 10 months now"
Coincidently, ten months was also the amount of time I was away, and apparently, it's the longest I can go without packing my things and leaving because this month I did it again. I moved out of my parents home (Can you really move out of your parent's house completely? I have more panties there then here. Real home is where your old stretched-out underwear is.) and came back to Porto!!

But it's not strange that people are still surprised to see me and act like I've been back from the Baltics yesterday, for 3 reasons:

- my facebook account doesn't say where I live.

- I'm dispensable in their lifes.

- I spent a big part of the last 10 months alone, working from home, on this book that just came out this week:

And, at the book launch party last Thursday, a few people asked me how I managed to work on a project for so long, all by myself, without giving up.  So I decided to share with you some of the things that made me more motivated, organized and kept me from losing my mind during my sabbatical reclusion, last winter.


I'm the type of person that cares deeply about living up to everyone else's expectations and I'm very  afraid of letting people down. At least professionally. So I always try my best to have everything ready on time.
But, when I'm working alone, trying to meet my OWN expectations seems way less worrying and I only feel a faded sense of guilt as I press the snooze button on my alarm clock for the 14th time.

To force myself to respect my own deadlines I started telling them to everyone around me. My mum, my dad, the neighbours, friends...

Because, if I tell everyone that by Friday I'll have this printed, damn sure I'll work to make it happen! I'm too proud to admit I got lazy.

Though this works for me, I'm aware not everyone is so sensitive to social pressure, so I have this other alternative, invented by my former flatmate, Ceren:


This is very self-explanatory. Ceren was doing her thesis and had a bunch of books and texts to read, but kept slacking off. So she instaured what I called "SLAPPING SUNDAYS". She would decide what she had to read that week, and if by Sunday she hadn't finished reading I had permission to slap her face.
Luckly, the fear of being of physically hurt was enough motivation for her to read the whole thing, every week. I say luckily because I doubt that I would be able to hit her. I would probably start crying instead. But I'm sure we can all think of a friend that is less scrupulous and a little sadistic about this things. So, next time, call him/her and start a Sunday Slap tradition!!

Working alone is the best opportunity not only to find out your favourite patterns of sleep, but also the patterns of work.
For example: In the evening I'm way more focused at making the sort of mechanic and monotonous tasks that would drive me insanly bored and annoyed in the morning. But, when it comes to editing a text, coming up with a solution, or answering emails, I'm at my best during the day, sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee on my side. I had never had the opportunity to make my working and sleeping hours float so freely around the type of work I have to do at a certain point. When I started doing that, and taking on tasks depending on what I felt like doing, it made a huge improvement on my overall sanity.


I tend to be an over-achiever when I'm writting lists. I get super confident, write too many things to do and tend to postpone the ones that I dread, over the easy not-so-urgent ones.
Now, I set some sort of priority hierachy. Making a huge list but then underlining only 3 important things that I really need to do now, TODAY! NOW! NOW!
This sounds kind of obvious now that I write it down, but it took me ages to come up with this solution.

Some people say that when you do what you love, it's not a job.
I would like to punch this people in the face.
Of course it's a job!  No matter how much you love what you do there are always parts that aren't pleasurable at all and will make you feel bad and fantasize about having chosen a different career.
That doesn't necessarily mean you are making a mistake.

If I'm very focused, working on the computer, I forget to move.
or make pauses.
or eat.
I may even be sitting on unconfortable position with a fat cat on my neck.

I will stay still for a long time if nothing distracts me:  And when you're home and alone, there's not much to distract you.
So I dowloaded a software (this one: that litterally blocks my computer every now and then and tells me to move my neck. uncross my legs, or even to make a longer break.
I have a love and hate relationship with this thing. On one side, it works and I feel better when I use it. On the other, being told to take 5 by a female robotic voice coming from my computer makes me really annoyed every time.


I'm not very athletic, but at least when I was in school I had to walk everywhere.
Living in Penafiel, I didn't need to move a lot, and some days I would find myself having a hard time sitting still, as if I had too much energy to work. My mind and my body kept wandering off and it took me a while to understand that that was my body telling me I needed some action. So I started dancing around the house or jumping on a little trampoline we have in the living room. (My mum put it there because Dr. Oz told her to.)
I feel there's a difference between doing proper exercise or doing fun things to tire yourself out. I generally choose the latter.

So, have any of you worked alone? Do you have any cool tips you'd like to share? Do it and I promise to try them out during the makings of my next book!

No comments:

Post a Comment