Don’t Procrastinate

Someone said to me recently – must be great to work from home – you don’t know how lucky you are – being able to do as you please – stop when you want etc. I nodded my head and agreed at the time but then that gave me pause for thought. Was I lucky? Was working from home so much better than travelling to your workplace every day…

So I decided to draw up the Pros and Cons…
See what you think?


  • You aren’t (technically) set to any time frame so have flexibility with your daily routine
  • If you want to work in your Onesie you can!
  • At least you are home to let the dogs out regularly for their ablutions right?
  • You can work later into the evening or even overnight if that helps you to get things done or when you feel most productive
  • Everything you could want is generally to hand if you set your work area up correctly from the start
  • If you have children its far easier working from home than trying to organise transport or crèches/childminders
  • Some people find they get far more done when they are in a familiar relaxed environment


  • Constant distractions from daily life
  • Family life can often get in the way of setting aside time to work
  • Family constantly asking you to errands as you are home to do them
  • Visitors popping in for a catch up or coffee without considering you need to work
  • The attitude of some that you don’t work at all but skive at home all day
  • The isolation of working from home – especially if you live alone
  • The real fear that you cannot close the door on work so you end up living – eating – breathing it 24/7
  • The actual outgoings from running a business from home

As you can see it’s fairly evenly matched BUT the ‘cons’ are quite hefty consequences to bear! Every job or business is different – there will be more or less cons depending on what it is. For me I am a Writer and I design knitting patterns for babies & toddlers.  So should be easy peasy for me – right?

Well no – actually it’s very difficult! I am just dipping my toe into my 50s age wise – so no childish distractions (unless you can count the man in my life – adult baby comes to mind!) So how do I manage to get any work done?

Well I confess to procrastinating recently – we moved house in Autumn 2016 – the move was a positive one to a larger detached home – private – quiet – less stresses and distractions to our previous property and perfect for writing. But of course moving house means a huge change in routine and for months afterwards you are often still unpacking boxes – redecorating – sorting the garden or doing any other nature of jobs that need to be completed– that immediately sends your routine out the window – then I have been trying to get my office unpacked and set up to maximise productivity and as we know personal living space usually takes priority over office space. So for 5 months now I have been flitting from job to job around the home and until this week had not really got my office space unpacked and organised and even worse been very sporadic and fickle with my writing – I still have a few boxes in the corner to open too! Of course winter and weather meant I have been poorly – Xmas took up time as well and the man in my life got a new job and his transport died a death all in the same moment so I seem to have become taxi driver as well – which also makes my day difficult as its yet another distraction..

So as I am sat here writing this blog I am also writing a Schedule out in Microsoft Excel – just a normal spreadsheet with the days of the week in a column to the left and hourly time slots across the top – as I don’t particularly want to be scheduling work over through the night my cut off is 10pm and my start is 10am – this gives me time to get up – shower – eat – sort the animals etc. before I sit down at my desk. I print the blank schedule of each week and write in the boxes how my days need to be set out. I try to structure a minimum of 2hrs work then a mini break – even if it’s just coffee and wee time.  I include my ‘have to do’ distractions such as taking or collecting hubby from work – bedding the animals down for the night – doctor/work related appointments etc. and I try to stick to it.

There are various timer apps you can download for free on the internet or even online websites that you can set alarms on – by leaving the page open while you’re working it will activate when your time slot is up. I use Softonic’s Free Alarm Clock that works alongside your PC clock but there are several others out there such as Online Stopwatch – some that sit on your browser and can be activated as you need them and even some that can be downloaded to your mobile. I find that if you set alarms you become more focused to get the work done in the time you have allotted yourself.

Another thing you could do is perhaps inform your family and friends that you don’t want any distractions or interruptions for a set time period on a  certain day – so request no visitors – no interruptions at all unless urgent for the length of your time period required. But most of all you need to focus yourself – make sure you have everything you need to hand before you start – don’t get distracted by Facebook or Twitter or your mobile – switch them off if you need to – and then you should be able to get a bit more done than you used to! But also make sure you do leave time for family interaction so they – or even YOU don’t start to feel too isolated!

Wish me luck and good luck!


Colour & Pattern Varieties of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

My current publication was released 29th November 2016. I have been involved with the showing and breeding of Netherland Dwarf rabbits since my children were little some 30 years ago. In 2001 I had a break from it as the children had grown and flown and it just didn’t seem the same without them. Two years ago I decided to return to the UK Rabbit Fancy and now in my 50s I enjoy the whole social andcompetitive mix of people.

Lots had changed since 2001 with many new faces but with pleasure I found a lot of old faces too, some even remembered me from before so it was lovely to be welcomed back. Over the 30 years my interest in animal genetics had never waned and I was able to bring more to the table this time round so to speak. As before I decided to work on the rarer colours and patterns as they presented the greatest challenge and in return the greatest satisfaction when I hopefully achieve my goals.

It soon came to my attention that with social media being what it is a lot of misinformation was being given in answer to queries by rabbit owners and breeders regarding genes and modifiers – a lot were in my view also making big mitskaes in what they were breeding together. As people began to realise I knew a bit aout genes I began to be the ‘go to’ person if they had a query and so my next book was born!

It took a year to write, research the genes I was less familiar with and source the many photos required (116 images to be exact), I also had to wait for permission to be granted for me to use the British Rabbit Council (BRC) rabbit standards etc, so it was a long process.
The book has proved to be very popular around the world with many requests to have it translated into other languages too which I hope to do later this year (2017). Within its first week it became No1 Bestseller New Release for the Pet/Small Livestock category on Amazon and I am very grateful to all of you who purchased the book and have found it useful. Feedback is still coming through and the general consensus is that the book was a much needed tool for Netherland Dwarf owners and breeders who wanted to learn more about colour and pattern.

Colour & Pattern Varieties of the Netherland Dwarf is available to purchase on Amazon ( and … click -> Visit Divina Blackwell-Bates Author page on Amazon

Breeding Merle Dogs

So I am going to take this opportunity to recap on my current publications available on Amazon.. this post I want to talk about ‘Breeding Merles Responsibly’
As a life long dog breeder and exhibitor there were a few things that happened in the dog world – specifically the Chihuahua which had breed wide repercussions within the UK.
Back in the 80s imports stepped up a  gear and became more popular – dogs started to arrive from the USA and one of note was a Chihuahua called Chocolate Chops Ahoy, a chocolate merle Chihuahua – on his wave of popularity and demand came the wake of cross-bred merles being passed off as pedigrees and coupled with the lack of knowledge of how the gene worked the Chihuahua Club of GB called for a ban on merle Chihuahuas being registered, using the cross breeding and a lethal gene as their leverage. This ban was later extended across the board to other breeds.

It became apparent that breeders really didn’t know what they were doing with the gene – I knew a bit about it but didn’t feel qualified enough to go public with my thoughts so I spent 3 yrs studying science papers – articles – researching the history of the American Merle Chihuahua and seeking evidence that the merle Chihuahua had been around much longer than the anti-propaganda was saying – I read all the scare-mongering and anti- propaganda posts I could find and I bred merles myself for 3 yrs recording every detail of each litter to see whether they were indeed really unhealthy sickly animals.

The end result of all that work was my book .. I devised a breeding program that would cause the minimum of issues and recommended health testing before letting pups go to new homes, as well as ensuring the new owner was given a break down of the merle gene and what it should and should not be bred to.

All these details are in the book for anyone to use as well as a break down of the gene and the various patterns that appear. Definitely a must-have for those serious about maintaining a good reputation as a Merle Breeder.

Breeding Merles Responsibly can be purchased on AMAZON  … to visit my Author page click ->… Divina Blackwell-Bates on Amazon



Well after 3 x published books (non-fiction) I decided it was high time I created a little corner of internet presence for myself. I do have a Facebook page but felt I needed more scope to ramble and keep my fans/readers up to date with the news – views and ramblings of my mind – and so this blog was born.

I hope you will enjoy – laugh – feel sad (only on rare occasion) and become totally embroiled within my world of writing … characters … plot-lines … background research and how my ideas are born 🙂

There will also be the odd giveaway and competition – sneaky peek first glance at some of my books and any secret I choose to let you in on 😉

In the meantime – bear with me as I get used to the workings of this fan-dangled system we call blogs!

Love Divina xx