Let’s be honest about this. We all know that this COVID-19 issue is not going away anytime soon and there is a significant amount of time before our lives come back to normal. If they do ever come back to what we are used to calling normal. For the foreseeable future, I can see us working from hour homes for some time and it’s important that we set some rules and avoid mistakes. Now the tips that I am sharing are not business rules and tips on how to work from home efficiently or how to manage teams remotely. They are all personal tips and rules that I follow myself and want to share with you so that you can benefit individually. If you are looking for ways to effectively work remotely, this is not the blog post for you.
Stick to your routine - Since you do not have to travel to work you could be tempted to sleep a little longer. Since there is no defined lunchtime you can eat anytime you want. Since you don’t have to commute back home you can maybe work a little longer. These are the easiest traps to fall into which you must avoid. Stick to your routine. Wake up at the same time as you would normally and then do your daily activities just as you would have done if you were still going off to the office. Eat your meals at the same time as you would at the office and take your breaks at the same time as well. This will make your life much easier. Working from home makes an extra number of hours available to you which you need to fill somehow. Not following your existing routine would mean building an entirely new routine altogether. This is not only a computational expense now but also will cause you problems when things come back to normal. It takes just 21 days to form a habit and this lockdown is going to be much longer. If you are not careful you will be trapped in this new routine which clearly would not be optimum for you. By continuing your existing routine all you need to think about how to fill the exact gaps in the routine. That is computationally a much easier decision to make. I, for instance, am writing this post at the time I would incested in commuting otherwise.
Eat less, move more - Your daily activity is drastically reduced now. Even if you have a cushy office job that just requires you to sit and work all day the sheer act of traveling to and from office burns calories. Add to this all the movement that you perform at the office, going up and down the floors. This all contributes to your daily calorie expenditure and with all this gone you are burning way fewer calories than you normally do. Counter this by reducing your diet a little and adding a little more exercise in your routine. Since you can’t go out to exercise try to talk indoors only as much as possible. When you are at home, so close to all the food, your probability of overeating actually increases by the simple act of snacking. Try to curb that urge. Also since you can’t go out to eat or get it delivered it is much easier for you to now eat healthy.
Take more and deliberate breaks - Believe it or not, I am way more productive when I am working from home. Sitting in my room with very few distractions I am able to get a lot more work done and code written and reviewed that I would at the office. And this will be the case for most of us since a huge number of distractions have been eliminated by the lockdown. You can now work for long, uninterrupted stretches at a time. Install an app or something that will remind you to take a break after a certain prolonged period of inactivity. My smartwatch does it for me. And when I say break I do not mean a switch to a new screen altogether towards Netflix or Facebook. I personally take a ‘Ring a ring o roses’ break with my toddler.
Avoid too much social media - Unless it is your job, you know Social Media is bad for you. It would be very easy for you to dump all the free hours that you get now into social media. That’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Avoid that. Deliberately restrict your usage to the same number of hours as you would normally give to social media if you were at the office. Do not give all this free time to memes.
Upskill - The world is going through a tough time. And the worse is still yet to come. The economy of every single country is going to take a major hit which will eventually translate into jobs, or loss thereof. Use this extra time to upskill yourself. Take MOOCs, certifications or learn new skills. You need to start working to not just make sure that you retain your job but also get the career growth similar to what it would have been if COVID-19 was not happening.
If you are in tech and are looking for some advice as to how to proceed, hit me up on LinkidIn at https://in.linkedin.com/in/akhilrex
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I have helped many startups in building their products and I would be happy to have a chat with you about your idea. Catch me on twitter at @akhilrex