I worked at home today. This is something I do rarely, but sometimes it becomes necessary. This time, I had a long chunk of analysis to do on my computer, a slog with images and spreadsheets that I’ve been putting off for weeks because I just couldn’t find the mental space I needed to make it happen.

Somehow, in the lab, there is always something else that needs doing — cells to tend, papers to read, colleagues’ questions to answer. Only yesterday the ceiling of the tissue culture suite collapsed under a weight of water from a malfunctioning condensation collector and we had to mop up 20 liters of water from the floor as well as hundreds of dripping chunks of ceiling material that looked and felt almost exactly like a dog’s breakfast. The only good part about this episode was being allowed to crack open the shiny “Chemical Spills Kit” and use the fluffy pink absorbent cloths and sand for the first time — but that’s another story.

I always find it amazing how productive I can be at home. One would think that distractions would abound — food, tea, the internet — with no watchful eyes to catch you straying. But in my case, I always end up being far more focused. The hours slid away, interrupted only by a spate of laundry and the need to dash out five or six times to pull clothes from the sunny, wind-swept line before they got re-soaked by repeated cloudbursts. Otherwise I was one with my spreadsheets — and even found myself enjoying them.

Tomorrow I have a queue of experiments as long as my arm, but until then, this serenity is all mine.