How to Work From Home and Actually Get Stuff Done

Home office writers of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our relationships, families, and sanity…oh, and our freelance gigs. Here are some suggestions about how to work from home and not mess things up. Well, not mess them up too badly anyway.

by Jill Chafin

Although working from home sounds lovely and relaxing, it has its own set of challenges. You need to be diligent about scheduling or risk getting distracted. Here are some easy steps for boosting your productivity.

Structure Your Day

You’re forced into a structure when you work in a traditional office environment. You have to get dressed (properly), commute, and attend meetings. You have the pressure of working around colleagues and you have defined times for starting and ending work.

It’s harder to implement structure when you’re on your own. However, creating a solid routine is key to being productive.

  • Wake up at a designated time: Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should keep hitting snooze. One thing successful entrepreneurs have in common is that they get up early. Don’t let those productive hours slip by!
  • Get dressed: This will help switch your mindset to “work mode,” making you feel more productive. Resist the urge to work in your PJs: take a shower and fix yourself up, even if no colleagues will see you.
  • Do some work before breakfast: The usual recommendation is to start with a healthy breakfast, to fuel you for your busy day ahead. However, when you’re home all day, breakfast can be a drawn-out luxury, with reading, checking social media, and other distractions preventing you from getting started. Try diving into a quick work task, checking it off the list, and then sitting down to breakfast.
  • Prep meals in advance: Try prepping your breakfast and lunch the night before. Avoid the kitchen during your work day—you’ll be tempted to cook elaborate meals or waste time mopping the floor.
  • Eat in a separate space: Take your meal breaks away from your office—outside if possible. Pause all work activities, switch your phone to silent mode, enjoy the fresh air, and let your mind reset.
  • Exercise: One great thing about working from home is flexibility. Hit the gym early, do a YouTube yoga class from the comfort of your living room, or go for a quick run if you’re feeling stuck or need a mid-afternoon boost….

Read it all with lots more bullet points and other good stuff at

Time for Undead Burrito Prods to Weigh In – @brisownworld

NOTE FROM LB: One picture is worth a thousand words, and this is one VERY BIG picture. So appreciate that you only have to read a few words. Thanks, Ms. Castellini.

MUNCHER’S NOTE: Hahahahahahahaha…. Bri said “Bris.”

NOTE FROM LB: >sigh<

by Bri Castellini is, at long last, no more. It hasn’t made sense to have a website dedicated to a web series we haven’t created more content for since 2016, so we traded that URL for, a new central spot for all things we make and all things to come. Check it out!

In a similar vein, I also redesigned my personal portfolio site in a similar style, to streamline my previous work experiences and highlight the skills I actually want to be known for. You can find it here.

All Undead Burrito Projects

Buy In | Short Film (2019) (coming soon!)
Sam and Pat Are Depressed | Web Series (2017-)
Ace and Anxious | Short Film (2017)
Brains | Web Series (2015-2016)
Relativity | Web Series (2016)
dusk of the dead | Mini Series (2017)
Apocalypse Yesterday | Short Film (2016)

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE.

The 5 missteps most new freelancers commit and how to avoid them

This is a general article on all freelance gigs, not just writing, but truth is truth, and the misstemps here are universal.

Alas, the treacherous freelancing path!
Alas, the treacherous path of the freelancer

by Nancy Van Brunt

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to leave the corporate world to enjoy the flexibility and earnings potential of freelancing, you’re not alone. The “Freelancing in America: 2019” (FIA) study co-commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union found that, for the first time, half of the freelancer respondents said they view this way of working as a long-term career choice. The share of those who freelance full time increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019.

As the head of freelancer and agency success for Upwork, I see new independent professionals struggling with mistakes that limit their potential for finding satisfying, well-paying work. The good news is that you don’t have to fall prey to these missteps. Here’s how to start your freelance career on the right track.

Newbie mistake #1: Undercharging

Top earners aren’t afraid to focus exclusively on clients who understand their worth. The majority of clients are looking for quality and understand that they get what they pay for. Furthermore, many clients are unsure how to price projects and are looking to you to guide them on an appropriate budget (and scope). After all, you’re the expert — so don’t shy away from consulting and negotiating.

Before you set your rates, research the market to benchmark what others with similar skill sets are charging and then adjust based on your experience level. You might be pleasantly surprised: The data shows that some independent professionals are earning more than $250 an hour for work in categories that span nearly every industry, including tech, marketing, legal, and finance.

Newbie mistake #2: Not thinking like a business

Freelancing comes with many ancillary tasks. That means you have to remember all the tasks that businesses routinely handle, from budgeting and contracts to invoicing and client communication. It also includes marketing, business development, and sales. When you decide to freelance, you are launching a business!

The most important thing you can do to establish credibility and gain more business is creating a professional, polished portfolio. Clients want to see what you’ve accomplished — and what you can do for them….

Read it all at

12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing

Anne Lamott does it all. She writes novels and nonfiction, speaks her progressive mind in public and private, and on the side she teaches the writing craft. We’re thrilled to be able to present her perspective.

by Anne Lamott

My seven-year-old grandson sleeps just down the hall from me, and he wakes up a lot of mornings and he says, “You know, this could be the best day ever.” And other times, in the middle of the night, he calls out in a tremulous voice, “Nana, will you ever get sick and die?”

I think this pretty much says it for me and for most of the people I know, that we’re a mixed grill of happy anticipation and dread. So I sat down a few days before my 61st birthday,and I decided to compile a list of everything I know for sure. There’s so little truth in the popular culture, and it’s good to be sure of a few things.

For instance, I am no longer 47, although this is the age I feel, and the age I like to think of myself as being. My friend Paul used to say in his late 70s that he felt like a young man with something really wrong with him.

Our true person is outside of time and space, but looking at the paperwork, I can, in fact, see that I was born in 1954. My inside self is outside of time and space. It doesn’t have an age. I’m every age I’ve ever been, and so are you, although I can’t help mentioning as an aside that it might have been helpful if I hadn’t followed the skin care rules of the ’60s, which involved getting as much sun as possible while slathered in baby oil and basking in the glow of a tinfoil reflector shield.

It was so liberating, though, to face the truth that I was no longer in the last throes of middle age, that I decided to write down every single true thing I know. People feel really doomed and overwhelmed these days, and they keep asking me what’s true. So I hope that my list of things I’m almost positive about might offer some basic operating instructions to anyone who is feeling really overwhelmed or beleaguered.

Number one: the first and truest thing is that all truth is a paradox. Life is both a precious, unfathomably beautiful gift, and it’s impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It’s been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive.It’s so hard and weird that we sometimes wonder if we’re being punked. It’s filled simultaneously with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, desperate poverty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together. I don’t think it’s an ideal system….

Read it all at

Bri Castellini Day Part 2 – @brisownworld

Today’s second article by award winning film maker, web series maker, film professor and all-around Brilliantly Talented Young Lady Bri Castellini. Enjoy!

NYR 2019: A Reflection
by Bri Castellini

  1. Write 5 new projects. Partial completion. I have a lot of valid excuses for not completing this resolution, but at the end of the day: I made too many non-writing commitments this year and didn’t make writing a priority like this FIRST RESOLUTION implied I wanted to. Next year, hopefully other things will get more stable.
  2. Host 3 table reads. Partial completion. If you’ll remember, this was on the list because I was allegedly “stepping back a bit from producing this year,” which absolutely did not turn out to be true. I directed Better With You, I released and promoted Sam and Pat season 2, I completed post-production on and began the festival run for Buy In (my latest award-winning project, coming soon!), and I produced and edited 2 podcasts (with 1 still ongoing, which I’m editing as I write this blog). Honestly, I’m glad I did these other things, so I’m not overly upset this one didn’t go to plan.
  3. Post one blog and one YouTube video a month. Failure. Listen.
  4. Cook dinner at least twice a week. Failure. I did better than could be expected, but I also didn’t live up to this. This year was… hectic.
  5. Start or end my day active at least three times a week. Failure. Listen.
  6. Release and submit for festivals both projects I have in post. Was done as of July!
  7. Leave New York at least 4 times. Final tally:
    1. January- Los Angeles (for family)
    2. January: Washington DC (to see my mom)
    3. March- Los Angeles (for Stareable)
    4. March- Oregon (for Stareable/visiting)
    5. April- Washington DC (for Stareable)
    6. April- Northhampton, MA (for Stareable)
    7. May- Utah (to shoot Better With You)
    8. June- Denver (for LIU-Brooklyn)
    9. July- New Jersey (for the Buy In premiere)
    10. August- Los Angeles (for Stephens College)
    11. September- Los Angeles (for Seed&Spark)
    12. September- Utah (for the Better With You premiere)
    13. September-October- Colorado (to watch my mom’s house)
    14. November- San Diego (for my cousin’s wedding)
    15. December- Los Angeles (for Seed&Spark again)
    16. December- Colorado (for Christmas)
  8. Save $2k. After my financial scare and my loss of income for a few months and my dipping into my savings to pay rent… I actually ended up managing to save $2760.74! Since Quinn and I are moving across the country in early 2021 and we’d also like to take at least one vacation, this is a huge success and one sorely needed. After a year of financial panic and insecurity, it feels good to have gotten back on track, prepared for whatever 2020 has to throw at me.
  9. Pick my battles. Based on my wording for this resolution, I think I did this. I’m still a person with zero chill to her name, but I like to think I’ve aimed my lack of chill better than I had previously.
  10. Be a better adultPartial completion. I’m still dragging my feet on enough things that I can’t in good conscience call this a complete success, but I’m definitely better off than I was in January.
  • Complete: 4
  • Partial completion: 3
  • Failed: 3

Not bad! Especially given the absolute insanity that was this year. I mean, just look at the travel tally! 2019 was not, by any means, a good year, but it was certainly an interesting one. Here’s to accountability

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.