Perils of running a home business

With the first year of working from home safely under my belt, I like to think I’m becoming well acquainted with the traps and pitfalls of the home office.

It’s fairly important to be showered and dressed by 9am, ready for a day at work, even when enduring a monster case of writer’s block. I’ve heard it said that pyjamas can be worn until midday and beyond, but this is akin to holding a death adder up to your face and poking it in the eye with a stick. Unwary victims have ended up watching Breaking Bad episodes and shoving their greedy, slimy faces full of Doritos until 4pm like a huge putrid slug. At least if showered and dressed, the said writer can maintain the tentative illusion of dignity and professionalism.

It is also important to banish all access to gaming consoles, mobile phones and internet connections whilst in your work zone. Finding all the hidden packages on Grand Theft Auto is all very well and good, but doesn’t help pay the bills.

However, here are the largest dangers I have encountered whilst working from home. Beware, readers.


Generally, I can work with all kinds of noise. 90% of the time I can listen to heavy metal, have the washing machine whirring away and sit there writing happily without a worry in the world.

However, there are times when the words just don’t flow. When that tap that feeds them stops running, and all you get is a trickle of non-related verbs that end up sounding like George W Bush. The industrious tapping on the keyboard slows, the washing machine enters the spin cycle, and cabin fever threatens. Through this haze of frustration two sounds are likely to intrude that push me over the edge.

evil pigeon

pure, undiluted EVIL

That stupid pigeon

I hate this pigeon with all of my might. This fiendish rat with wings can pinpoint the exact moment when the words turn off in my head, and invades my back courtyard with coo-cooing and ridiculously loud wing flapping. It never desires a stand-up fight though, always flying off whenever I run out to do battle, red faced and swearing. This is because it is a filthy coward.

The leafblower Nazis

I live in a complex of apartments and town houses, and as such there are gardeners who visit once per week to blow away leaves FOR 10 HOURS at a time. I am not sure what qualifications you need to possess to operate a leaf blower, but I am sure some rudimentary aiming skills and the ability to blow away said leaves would be right at the top of the list. Blowing them around and around in an infinite loop can’t be helpful for anyone. I am also unsure whether a leaf blower needs to have the volume of a small passenger jet? Has it been turbo-charged?


When you find yourself scrubbing the oven or mopping the roof, you may just be on a cleaning bender. When you are delighted to see a Jehovah’s witness or two, and invite them in for a cup of tea and biscuits, you definitely have a procrastination problem. It only gets worse the more you procrastinate, though, so suck it up princess and get cracking.

Cabin fever

Leave the house once per day. And I’m not just talking about hanging out the washing. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, chase a duck down the street. Otherwise, you’ll be living vicariously through family members and flatmates, greeting them with a desperate look in your eye as they arrive home, begging for news about the big bad world outside. If you’re not careful a Vitamin D deficiency will kick in, you’ll get the shakes and all of a sudden you’ll be hallucinating about the roof mopping itself. Take my advice. Get OUT.

Deadly tree frog of death

Deadly tree frog of death

So, I hear you asking, “what are your solutions for these fiendish issues?” Well, I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to hear that I am taking some drastic steps to improve my home office situation. (Valium . . . just kidding!)

As we speak, I am constructing a series of cunning Home-Alone style traps for both the filthy pigeon and the relentless leaf blowers of doom. They may very well involve tripwires, bear-traps and the venom of the deadly tree frog of death, but I’m also all ears (eyes?) when it comes to your suggestions.

As for the procrastination, I’m still working on that… just gimme a sec.

Stay well,

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1 Comment

  1. Susan Roberts

     /  October 17, 2011

    With you there. It’s much easier to be an employee and work for a wage. Let someone else worry.


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