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Dad Things (And Other Interesting Things) - Issue #5
The last time I published an issue of this newsletter was Christmas 2019. My how much has changed in 3 months. Since the last issue, Kobe Bryant passed away, a novel virus is causing a global pandemic, and a number of cities and states are implementing some form of lockdown or shelter in place. This is unprecedented in our lifetime.
With these mandates, some of you are working from home probably for the first time ever. I was motivated enough by these announcements that I’d share some tips for working from home having doing so on and off for over 5 years.
Shower and get dressed. I had my first work from home job in 2009 and I thought I was the luckiest person ever. I’d wake up at by 9. Walk to my computer in my PJs and “work” until 3, shower and then watch TV the rest of the afternoon. I quickly found out I was not my most productive unless I had a routine. And that starts just like any other job whether you commute or not: shower and get dressed. It signals to your brain that you are getting ready for work and that doesn’t matter if it’s a 30 minute commute to the office or a 1 minute commute to your desk.
Find yourself a dedicated desk or work space. I know for some, it is just not possible. For myself, I use our dining table as a desk and while it’s doable, it’s not optimal. It’s not ideal because a dining table is where you’re supposed to eat, not to try and do work, but I try to set it up as cleanly as possible. The reason this is important because, again, it signals to your brain that you are here to do a thing which is your job. Ideally you’d want a separate room, with a desk. But if not, just any place that will be used solely for work will do.
Take breaks. This is one of the great perks of working from home. Take breaks whenever you need or want. I would throw run errands into here too, but we’re kind of limited as to what we can now do. And, since everyone around us is now working from home, the advantage of going to the grocery store while everyone is at work is gone. But either way, go outside, walk your dog, or do a chore.
Socialize. This one was hard for me to figure out. I’d often get bored or crave social interaction when I first started working from home. I learned to work from public places or meet up with friends at lunch. Obviously, now that isn’t an option. But we also now have multiple ways to communicate with each other virtually. I’m in a few group chats with friends that I’ll check into now and again just to socialize with other humans.
Create boundaries. This means physical and mental. I mentioned creating a dedicated workspace earlier, but when it’s time to end the work day and “come home” from work, the lines between work and home can easily be blurred. I like to gradually end my work day between 5 and 5:30. I close the laptop and even though I’m not done with something, I can always do it later in the evening or push to tomorrow. It’s important to end work especially when you have a family. It’s hard to be a good parent and a good employee at the same time.
I hope it doesn’t take 3 months and a global pandemic to get me to write again. I hope this was useful to some of you and if it was please share it with someone who you think will find it useful too. Take care everyone and wash your hands.