/ remote

Tips & tricks for working from home

Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), many people are forced to work from home.

I have been working remotely since 2006 (minus 3 years in between). Remote, for me, is more the norm than going to an office.

For me, working remotely isn't just that you don't have to go to an office - it enables deep uninterrupted work.

I have noticed the following anti-patterns when people start working from home:

  • Thinking you are at home and not at work
  • Not having a clear schedule
  • Not exercising
  • Overeating (because the fridge is just a step away)
  • Wasting too much time with TV, social networks, house chores, and similar activities
  • Working in an uncomfortable position
  • Unable to turn off work, when you are done

Here are my tips on how to avoid those and be more productive working from home:

Kick start your day by doing something that makes you feel accomplished: make your bed, clean something.

Have a routine - wake up at the same time every day, get breakfast, exercise, and so on. Dress up for work.

Have a designated place to work. It should be as isolated as possible. Try to make it as ergonomic as you can.

Whatever you do, don't turn on the TV.

Try to keep your regular working hours, have a lunch break. Before the quarantine, I used to go out for a 30 min walk to signal to my brain that my workday is done. Now I close my laptop and walk to the other room and change clothes.

Especially at this time, don't check social networks and news sites every 5 minutes. Try to do this every couple of hours at a maximum.

Try to even put your phone in silent mode for an hour or so.

I recommend trying the Pomodoro technique if you have problems concentrating at home. I use it when I notice I'm getting distracted.

Here is the technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done, set up a timer traditionally to 25 minutes (it is called "a Pomodoro").
  2. During this timer, you only work, avoid distractions (put your phone and computer into silent mode).
  3. Have a 3~5 min break and repeat 4 times.
  4. Have a more extended 15~20 min break.
  5. Repeat for the whole day.

The goal for this is to help you focus and reduce you from being distracted. I use "Be Focused Timer" for this.

If you have any questions or comments, you can ping me on Twitter.