My Work From Home Learnings

by Angad Sethi, Developer

09 Sep 2021

Over the past few weeks I’ve had to re-learn behaviours and processes I had forgotten since last lockdown. I am writing this blog post so I don’t have to keep re-learning the same thing repeatedly. I thought it would be worth sharing publicly in the hope some of you reading can find value in this.

As lockdown was announced on the 26th of June for 2 weeks I wasn’t very phased. “Just weather the storm” I told myself…

Roughly 60 days later and many to go, I’ve found that I have not been very satisfied with the working hours which constitute my life.

But why?

As per the Self Determination Theory coined by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, being competent at what you do is one of three key needs to have a fulfilling work life (see this article for an overview).

Am I not retaining the same level of competency as I was when working out of the office? Or Is it that I am not performing at a level of competency I expect of myself?

“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”
Steve Jobs

Here are 5 punchy, mad-wicked things (@marketing) I’ve learnt that help improve my productivity working from home. Most of these might seem trivial in hindsight, but not when I discovered them.

1. Re-Adjust your goals/ Set new ones

Lockdown is our current reality. Our style of work has changed, our communication has changed, our routines have changed. The yardstick needs to be changed. Setting new goals puts control back in the hands of the individual. This is powerful.

2. Don’t go for lunch surfs

By not being surrounded by a (really good looking) group focussed on their work nor being in an environment I actively entered to solely and purely apply my mind at and instead being in my shoddy little fortress of a retreat (a.k.a home), it takes me longer to find my concentration or my “state of flow” (NCBI - WWW Error Blocked Diagnostic ). By going for surfs at lunch I found myself switching context too frequently and found it hard to settle and re-achieve this concentration which had already taken me longer to achieve*.

3. Put your phone in a cookie Jar

As the Inspired Unemployed mention in one of their more recent videos (at 23 seconds), the phone is a vacuum which sucks away your dopamine. I find myself constantly drawn to my phone a lot more when at home. Leaving my phone downstairs when working, allows my whole mind to get lost in my work. This is a good thing. This idea is taken from The Social Dilemma.

4. Have a good morning/evening routine

A friend of mine has a tattoo of a triangle and signifies balance between work, family/relationships and self-care (or something along those lines). Having a good morning and evening routine gives me time to tend to these and maintain that balance. Surf in the morning instead of lunch and go to bed early to get enough sleep opportunity hours. Get out of the house post work for any form of exercise.

This is a good segue to point no. 5 which is…

5. Don’t burn yourself out.

No need to elaborate on this one. "Better with Balance" sums it up nicely.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The person who grasps principles can successfully select their own methods.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above are just methods that work for me, and they might not (probably won't) work for you. Hopefully this blog post encourages you to start a conversation with yourself about any difficulties you might be facing and find methods that help you.

* I had previously assumed Surfing at lunch would be of great benefit since it offered exercise and time for system 2.

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