Writer Raven Smith’s Best WFH Tips

“I’m Raven (@Raven__Smith) and I’m a writer in London. I used to work at Vogue, and now I have a column in The Sunday Times called The Life Of Raven. There, I write about all the small things in life that sometimes feel large, like height being social currency and the cold realities of a bagel (it’s just four slices of bread). My editors there are fantastically rigorous, and they make me a better writer. I’ve also recently written a book called Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits that expands upon my column. There are more personal anecdotes and in-depth takes, and I really get to nitpick my own psyche. One topic I like exploring is blanket tropes of ideal beauties—skinny blonde women, or muscular white guys. I don’t have an agenda in breaking down commonly-held ideals, but I do want to hold them up to the light for inspection. Whether it’s comparing yourself to models or trying (and failing) to find flattering culottes, I aim to highlight the absurdity of things we chase.

Writing is the best and the worst job. It takes both big thinking and painful attention to detail, and it’s a privilege to get paid to express myself with brutal honesty. Because it’s near a Whole Foods and I have a problem with those parmesan polenta crisps, I sometimes work at this private working space in Soho where I have a studio. Otherwise, like right now, I work at home.

I always leave the house before 10AM, even if it’s just to stroll around my garden to monitor my cat’s ongoing turf war with other neighborhood cats. I also try to do yoga in the mornings, and then I take a shower. Anyone with a nutsack should know the tingling benefits of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap—it’s my favorite. Then, when I’m out of the shower, I slather my whole body in inexpensive cocoa butter followed by three obligatory spritzes of Mister Marvelous by Byredo. There’s something reassuringly selfish about smelling great only for yourself—it’s the highest echelon of self-care, I think. That sets me up for the day.

In real life, I’m very partial to an Acne bomber and just-cut hair. But when it comes to working from home, I think people get too caught up in what they’re wearing. There’s a huge difference between my public-facing outfits and what I wear to type in my kitchen, and the best thing about working from home is freelance pants. You know the ones—mine are those slightly shiny, synthetic Adidas trousers in maroon. When it comes to good freelance pants, elasticity is key.

I do have an addiction to hand creams, and keep some at my desk. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a must every morning, and then I top up with Chanel Le Lift La Crème Main throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll flap my hands around to dry them so my keyboard doesn’t get all greasy, or I’ll also run my hands through my hair, which is a hairdresser-approved tip. Then, it’s imperative to have a space where you can sit and work without any distractions. I use this app called Freedom on my laptop that turns off everything except Microsoft Word from 9AM to 4PM, and then I keep a list of things I want to Google when I’m back online. I also never, ever, put on the TV while I’m working. I cannot stress this enough.

Lunch needs to be as mindless and un-distracting as possible, but I always make dinner extravagant because cooking is my therapy. I’ve also been doing 10-minute treatments with an LED face mask from The Light Salon, which I definitely find mood-enhancing. My aim with it is to look young enough to get ID’d… whenever we’re able to go out again. I’ll usually tone with Biologique Recherche’s P50, but I’m out right now so I’m using Carbon Theory’s Purifying Tonic which I like so far. I’ll use BR’s Sérum Colostrum under my eyes for hydration, and then finish with the Verso Retinol Night Cream.

At night, I’ll watch a movie or put on a podcast. I try to avoid watching anything I’ve already seen, so a good recommendation from a like-minded friend is always the best. But when I do put on something old, it’s got to be great—I’m due for a re-watch of Hereditary sometime soon and am saving my favorite feel-good film, Airplane, for when I’m really down. As yet, it’s been unneeded.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author

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