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5 Tips for Working from Home Without Going Insane

Working from home is based on the same revelation that most supervillains must have: Removing other people eliminates 90 percent of your potential problems. But turning your home into a hollowed-out volcano to build a lava cannon would mean filling it with other people again, and you're right back where you started. And if you're a supervillain, your minions' idiocy leads to you being thrown face-first into lava instead of being bored by vacation stories.

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"Jenkins, I would rather be thrown face-first into that lava than hear your vacation stories."

Working from home has all the advantages of supervillainy: You set the rules, no one can stop your monologues, and Internet access will cause your contempt for humanity to grow at almost the same rate. And with enough hot wings you can still build your own lava cannon.

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The most powerful weapon to use against the Ninja Turtles.

But the Internet will try to sabotage you. Most online "tips for working from home" are softballing participation trophies for toddlers. Their idea of advice is "Remember to do some work" and "Try to be conscious for a few hours each day." If you need that kind of help, you're the reason most jobs treat adult humans like naughty schoolchildren who have to be bullied into homework.

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"No, Jenkins, I don't believe that a dog ate your work and ran away. Because you make Dog Paralysis Poison."

I've already provided tips for freelance writers. Here are some real tips for working from home.

#5. Set a Minimum Pants Threshold

The first and worst of the useless tips is always "Wear office attire to get into the right mindset for work." If you're still wearing clothes, you're not working from home -- you've let the office annex your living space rent-free. Flopping around is one of the biggest advantages, ladies and 10 percent of gentlemen, saving wear and tear on your clothing budget and eternal soul. That's why angels are always so scantily clad. They're not free of clothes because they're in heaven, but vice versa.

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"Wow, all the guys up on Cloud 9 there sure are naked."

The last time a work uniform helped the wearer, it was plate steel and had swords bouncing off it. Modern uniforms are how corporations say, "We don't have the technology to reformat your personality yet." The tie is a symbolic leash, but without the potentially enjoyable aspects. And even if you could employ better bondage, anything you're forced to wear all day becomes less pleasurable.

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"Sweat productivity up 300 percent. This is not a good thing."

The only problem is that once you're free from the tyranny of pants, you can be careless -- nay, insensitive -- to those still restrained by the Matrix of garmentry. Set a minimum pants threshold: If you're expecting visitors, pantfully prepare before they arrive. Nobody needs to hear the desperate scrambling that says, "Until one second ago all the air in here was being gently genitaled." A dressing gown/bathrobe should be available for unexpected visitors. Think of it as your Batman outfit: something you can change into at a moment's notice when the evil outside world strikes. Batman-themed bathrobes score double. And nothing gives you the upper hand in unexpected encounters like being able to wear a bathrobe. There used to be reasons wearing only a bathrobe would put you at a disadvantage, but we invented technology and laws to counter them. The fact that the other party was forced to wear clothes and go outside now gives you an air of authority.

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"Yes, tell me more about this 'Lord' fellow while doing my nails. You say he got to wear a robe at work too?"

You could take on the galaxy in one of those.

#4. Narrate Your Life

Working from home frees you from interacting verbally with other humans, which causes you to start saying things like "interacting verbally with other humans" or, in advanced cases, "Hssssssssssss!"

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"The small talk, it burns!"

The Brownian interactions bouncing us off other people are a big part of what prevent us from devolving into giant models of single-celled organisms, spherical blobs with vague desires for food and an inability to communicate beyond quivering and pain signals.

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Explaining 90 percent of all Internet comments.

The most enjoyable anti-Morlockification strategy is narrating your life.

Behold the power of my tweetmotron!

It prevents your vocal cords form curling up and hiding, and a tree doesn't sound crazy if there's nobody around to hear it. Besides, you're already on the express train to crazytown: Might as well be the conductor instead of the creepy quiet guy staring from the back seat. It means you don't end up coughing and spluttering at unexpected visitors, and there are many motivating role models for when it comes to choosing a narrative style. I recommend Raul Julia's Gomez Addams, Raul Julia's M. Bison, Dr. Algernop Krieger, and John Astin's Gomez Addams.

Filmways
The best role model in sitcom history. Sadly not a joke.

#3. Screw Around Properly

When people work from home, their worst problem isn't not working properly -- it's not playing properly. Schools teach too many people how to sit quietly at their desk on time instead of how to learn, and that has prevented them from learning anything since. Vague guilt keeps them at their desks, but a lack of any other motivation has them pissing away time instead of getting anything done. They're why most jobs pay you for how long they can see your carcass instead of by how much you actually do.

James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty
The worst part is he's dreaming of Minesweeper.

These are the people filling out the "Which asshole are you?" quizzes and posting the results to Facebook. (Answer: an asshole.) They're connected to the greatest information system on Earth, and never mind work, they're not even wasting time on anything new. Instead they're reminding themselves of something they've already seen for 10 minutes. It's memory masturbation. It's easier to respect people physically masturbating to Game of Thrones characters; at least they're getting a bit of exercise and doing something they really want to do.

This is why most useless work-from-home advice builds a psychic schoolroom out of guilt. At which point you might as well hire someone to come and be strict with you. But most freelancers don't earn that much.

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Well, some do, but they're the ones being strict.

When you're working, work properly. But the instant you find yourself refreshing a site instead of getting anything done, get off your ass and do something fun.

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Luke McKinney

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