Stop snacking and concentrate

Working from home, mastication can be procrastination. You need a simple plan

Toast

Sod off, I’m not toasting anyone or anything today. Can’t you see, I’ve got shit to do? © Laura Eades 2013

It’s crunchy, it’s warm, it smells good, it has endless chimeric forms, and it’s become my novel’s nemesis. Where have the hours gone? I sometimes ask. The honest answer, in my mad little world, is toast.

Culinary cabin fever

But although I might invent my very own purgatory in my (all-too) free time, my friend Sarah Cuddon, who is currently making a radio programme about shared workspace, reminds me I’m not alone.

“It all slides into the strange, the irregular, the obsessive, when its just you at home. I am the same. Except my eating habits aren’t nearly as tasty sounding as yours. Mine is pasta with grated cheese and ketchup (truly shameful but perhaps that’s what appeals – you’d never serve it up to your friends) and peanut butter on carrot sticks. You know everyone’s sense of wholeness starts to go after too many of those days I think  – as I’m discovering talking to people who have sought out the co-working space – or the sanity zone – as one lady put it”. 

How to stop nibbles becoming niggles

But maybe us self-employed, freelance, dissertation-writing, working-from-home, ‘whoa-man-who-needs-routine?’ kind of people can do a few easy things to help ourselves not spend our hard-won hours making experimental sandwiches out of leftovers.

Here’s a thought: Perhaps the part of your head that’s screaming “stop snacking” is wasting as much energy as the trips to the toaster. So maybe you should counterintuitively permit yourself. Take the ‘should-I-shouldn’t I’ out of it.

Simple plan to stop snack-anguish

  1. Make a simple plan of eating during your work hours. Pin it on a pinboard in the kitchen. Plans switch off the arguments with yourself. Mine is: a different breakfast every day of the week (the excitement at the variety helps me get out of bed in the early morning), fruit and yoghurt with nuts as a mid-morning snack (when you get up early you’re really hungry at 10am), or alternatively a couple of ryvita sandwiched with some cottage cheese in them; and then a lunch based around veggies, like a vegetable soup or couple of salads.
  2. Include snacks in your plan. But I’m trying to stop snacking. I know, but first stop the arguments in your brain over snacking by giving yourself permission. I turned, as I often do, to zenhabits.net for advice, and Leo Barbauta’s eating plan had five, not three, meals in it. Eureka! Don’t make plans so stringent that you’re breaking your own rules all the time.
  3. Concentrate on your work. This advice is a bit like telling a procrastinating person to ‘get on with it’. But you can organise concentration. I told you some tips for that in my last post. In the meantime, just try to enjoy your work. Then enjoy your break afterwards.

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So, I really wanna know, what weird and terrible concoctions your fridge offers you on a working-from-home day. But I want to hear how you navigate your worse self to be productive, too. Open the comments section by clicking on the grey dot with plus sign on it that’s under the blogpost. I’m here.