What would your perfect work day be like?
I think I have two ideal work days, which are only ideal if I can alternate them.
The first looks similar, though God knows not identical, to my current schedule. I get up at half past six and do my morning pages. I’ll have been organised the night before and set both the bread machine and the coffee maker to provide delicious sustenance and gorgeous smells for when I wake. I won’t spill jam on anything. My cycle ride will be a bit longer than it usually is – say six or seven miles – and there’ll be a shower at the railway station reserved for my personal use. I’ll shower, change, and step onto the train clean and fresh.
The train ride will expand or contract magically depending on my mood. It might be long enough for me to get through an entire book, or it might be so short that I just sit and look out of the window at beautiful wheat fields and chestnut trees.
Work is interesting and absorbing. There’s plenty of it, enough for me to get my teeth into and not be bored. I work with perhaps ten or fifteen other people. I never have to answer a telephone. Meetings are fun, quick and friendly.
At lunch time, I sit with other people, but I have a book open. I’m generally disengaged from the conversation, and people don’t expect answers from me, but occasionally I make a comment or ask a question. Lunch is delicious, exactly the right quantity, and made by somebody else.
In the afternoon, the mood lightens. There is chatter and banter, and occasional hysterical laughter. I go home early, before the start of the rush hour, and in time to get two or three hours of daylight at home. I don’t even try to work in the evenings. I read, or watch TV, or lie on the sofa and listen to music. It’s not my night to cook if I’ve travelled to work.
On the other days, I’ll wake an hour or so later, and get on with morning pages and breakfast as before. I’ll go for a walk – probably a couple of miles – and let ideas percolate. Or maybe I’ll go swimming – with a lane to myself. Then I come home, put something in the slow cooker to look after itself, and do two to three hours of writing. I have a magic search engine that only works to find things I need to know for research. Lunch is an absolutely fantastic cheese sandwich, eaten in the garden – or I meet up with friends for a pub lunch.
After lunch I have an hour’s nap – no more – and then spend a couple of hours doing something with my hands. I have a huge table that I don’t have to clear to eat meals off, and a couple of big chests for supplies. Beads, arranged in separate drawers by colour. Fabric, in layers. It’s a big room, well-lit, and not too hot and not too cold. I don’t get interrupted.
At six or half past I stop for the day, prepare something tasty and easy to go with the gorgeous stew in the slow cooker, and proceed as above.
I sleep soundly on fresh sheets, under a duvet that’s so big the two of us never have to fight over it.