“Procrastination is the nemesis of those who work from home. Some homeworkers fall foul of housework, an easy and time-consuming trap to fall into. They vacuum stripes into their carpets, arrange their spice racks alphabetically and scrub windows until the glass is wafer thin: anything rather than settle down to work.
Others find their Achilles’ heel is TV. They happily lap up the most mind-numbing programmes (‘Celebrity Fish-Gutting’, ‘Celebrity Window-Shopping’, ‘Celebrities Watch Paint Dry’) rather than knuckle down to the big presentation looming over their head.
Social media is another problem for procrastinators. Checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can leave the homeworker with very little time to get on with whatever task it is they’re actually paid to do!
We advise that procrastination is only allowed during set breaks in the homeworker’s day. Watch TV, but do it at a scheduled time each morning. Clean the house, but only after the homeworker has got some tangible work done. Get on social media, but do it on the loo – like everyone else!”
Something a bit lighter from me today.
I’ve never enjoyed #BonfireNight – I just don’t ‘get’ it.
So here’s a piece, from me, moaning about November 5th – it’ll be here before you know it!
“We spend the rest of the year sorting through recycling, rinsing out washing-up liquid bottles, offsetting our carbon foot prints and attempting to shop locally and sustainably. So why does all that go out the window when November 5th comes around? “Hey you lot?” is the cry up and down the country. “Fancy spending an evening burning anything you can lay your hands on?” Wood? Brilliant. Bits of furniture? Great, especially if it’s heavily varnished or glue-filled chipboard. Paper! Recycling is so last year! Let’s burn them all! In fact, let’s buy stuff, just to be burn it! But what happened to limiting CO2 emissions? Who cares! Every Nov 6th I wake up feeling as though I just smoked 200 cigarettes, and this is somehow a ‘family friendly’ event.”Chris McGuire ‘West’ Magazine
For the full piece, in Western Morning News’ ‘West’ magazine, click here.
As ever, in these gloomy times, I’m deliberately focusing on upbeat moments in the past.
Some of my contacts may not be aware of my background in children’s TV. Over the years I produced and directed content for CBBC, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. It was a fun period filled with silly characters, larger than life celebrities and vast amounts of gunge.
A highlight was working on two series of Pet School for Cineflix shown on CBBC. I developed and wrote this innovative series that helped children answer the perennial question: “Am I ready for a pet?”
You can imagine how thrilled I was when the series went on to win an International Emmy!
One of the things that I love to do is to work with a business or organisation to distil their story into something meaningful, for both them and their customer base. Here’s a piece I wrote all about the importance of storytelling, published by the amazing folks at Proven.
Saying: “I’m a Mac person” is to align with a story that’s almost universally understood. This person sees themselves as modern in attitude, technologically astute, not one of the crowd, a maverick. That an exceptionally large percentage of the population now ALL see themselves as mavericks is neither here nor there. These narratives don’t come about by accident, big business understands that the tale they portray often matters MORE than the product. Just like the generic cereal that so upset me as a child, it’s all about the story. Personally, I could get another (cheaper) phone that does much the same as my trusty iPhone, but like the non-brand puffed rice, it wouldn’t hold the same thrill. It’s the STORY that Apple is so adept at telling that interests me, probably more than the product. As a consumer, I want to be part of that story.
A business doesn’t have to be a huge multi-national for the cultivation of a compelling story to be important. A good narrative, one that will engage with a chosen demographic, is vital for any organization trying to show they’re not just another bowl of generic cereal.
As a consumer, I want to believe that I make good choice. Because, like it or not, these decisions reflect upon me, and how I feel about myself. I want to be interacting with brands that fit in with my own personal story.Chris McGuire: ‘And that’s another story…’ Putting compelling narratives at the heart of business.
For the full essay, click here.
If you’d like to talk about how to foreground the compelling story that lies at the heart of what you do, please get in touch.
It’s all a bit full-on at the minute, isn’t it?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s this: a bit of laugh always makes everything seem better.
Here’s a piece that I wrote for WesternMorningNews. It’s a sorry tale of green tights and bodypaint. Have a read of (and a chuckle at) my own personal fancy dress nightmare.
“I’ve thought about boarding up our letterbox. Nothing good ever comes through it. Recently we saw the least welcome arrival yet. An invite to a Fancy Dress Party!
“Will it be Fancy Dress or FANCY DRESS?” I muttered.
The former is a party where you turn up in normal clothes but take a token prop – hold a wand and proclaim you’re Harry Potter. The latter is FANCY DRESS where you’ve let the side down if you don’t need a team of dressers to squeeze you into your custom-made outfit.
“I think it’ll be FANCY DRESS,” my girlfriend murmured. I would be attending the party dressed as ‘The Jolly Green Giant’ while my girlfriend would go as ‘Bagpuss’. Don’t ask.
When the big night arrived, my girlfriend uttered the words every reluctant Fancy Dresser dreads: “I’m feeling ill. I think I should stay at home. You should go though.”
Cursing ‘Bagpuss’ under my breath, I walked to the venue…”
For the full column click here.
If you have chance, why not check out the latest issue of Cycling Plus magazine. There’s you’ll find my latest feature ‘Gears to grind’, all about cyclists’ ‘Pet Hates’.
Thrilled to announce that my second book, in collaboration with the amazing Spencer Wilson will be out on the 12th of March. ‘Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide’ is the perfect read for anyone who works from home, or is planning to take the plunge – leaving the traditional world of work behind.
I’m thrilled with the way this book has turned out – so please pick up your copy soon.
Pre-order ‘Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide’ here.
Here’s my latest piece for Eastern Daily Press, all about my son’s passion for Spider-Man.
Have a read.
“My son’s superhero of choice is Spider-Man. I’d like to say that the obsession with blue and red spandex-clad fella is driving me up the wall, but it’s my son who’s doing the climbing in our house. Watching him play, I keep being reminded of the old Spider-Man joke about the hero who only struggles with one thing – getting out of the bath. He’ll stand by a wall, palms flat against the brick, then attempt to climb vertically. Nothing happens. Yet Sam doesn’t seem to notice that he’s getting nowhere fast – much like a house spider stuck by a plug hole. As I watch him, I can’t help feeling amused and a little bit jealous. The passion and enthusiasm that possesses him during this period of Spider-mania is beyond anything most of us experience in our adult existence.”Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press
For the full piece, click here.
With Halloween approaching here’s a piece I wrote for Huffpost UK all about my experiences of Trick or Treating as a kid…
In the 80’s when I was ‘Trick or Treating’ (it was a very new thing back then) black bin bags were the staple constituent of every costume I every wore. The conversation would go like this:
“Mum, I wanted to be Frankenstein this year.”
“‘Frankenstein’ is the name of the doctor, not the monster.”
“You want to be ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’. Not Frankenstein.”
“OK. That’s easy. We’ll cut some holes in a black bin liner – for Frankenstein’s body. You can wear your green balaclava, I’ll paint your face green with my eye shadow and we’ll put you in some of your sister’s black tights.”
“I don’t want to wear tights, or have green eye shadow. That’s not how Frankenstein looks.”
“Don’t be silly, I think I know more about Frankenstein than you.”
“But Mum!!”Chris McGuire Huffpost UK
For full column, click here.
“It seems to me that the candidates on The Apprentice are getting worse. I mean if the express intention of the show was to bring together a collection of vapid egomaniacs with all the business acumen of a mouldy Tupperware set, then I’d understand. But these contestants are ‘supposed’ to be smart. Seriously! Unless I’m very confused, being good in business is about more than wearing a Topshop suit and high heels in the most inappropriate of contexts, while scowling from under a year’s supply of makeup and dropping the word ‘premium’ into every sentence. If it were that simple I’d be getting the heels and slap on myself. “Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press
To read the full column, click here.