Like most of my colleagues, working from home isn’t foreign to me. I have been working remotely for 1-2 days out of the week for the past ~4 years. I never really thought much of it aside from it being more of a self-paced workday. When WFH, if I began finding it difficult to focus, I would take my Surface Book with me to my living room and continue working from my couch. If this didn’t help, making my way to Valhalla Coffee (a local coffee roaster) usually did the trick. However, as we all know, COVID-19 has introduced many new challenges so whatever worked before, well, let’s just say that’s out the window.
Where are my manners? Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Marketing Coordinator here at Puget Systems where our goal is to provide value to not only our customers but the community as well. A typical day for me involves emails, project management, and working with partners/influencers.
My Home Office Setup
I dedicated a room in my home to be my office. When working from home, I prefer to start the day in my living room, drink my morning cup of joe, then finish up in my office. You can probably tell by now, I’m not too fond of being confined for a prolonged period of time. Fortunately, my workstation is portable which in turn allows me to take my work with me.
With that said, my workstation is Microsoft Surface Book 2. The specs are:
- Intel Core i7-8650U 8-Core
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
- 16GB of RAM
- 500GB SSD
I have a Microsoft Surface Dock at both of my offices. This essentially makes my Surface Book hot-swappable. It’s simply plug-and-play.
In the picture above, you’ll notice I have an albino trash panda that I have domesticated. You’ll also find I have a computer alongside my Surface Book. This is my server that is used for more intensive tasks like media streaming and gaming for example.
My server consists of:
- Intel Core i7 6700T 8-Core
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 TI
- 16GB of RAM
- Sandisk 250GB SSD
- (x2) Western Digital RED 8TB
- CaseLabs Bullet BH2
Here’s a list of the peripherals I use:
- LG 29UM59-A 29-Inch UltraWide (2560 x 1080)
- Microsoft Surface Dock
- Ducky Shine 3 Mechanical Keyboard
- Logitech G6020 Mouse
- Beyerdynamic T-90 Headphones
- FiFine Condenser Microphone
My Challenges & Advice
As mentioned above, COVID-19 has introduced many obstacles. Before the lockdown, I was juggling quite a few tasks with event coordination taking up most of my time. Once all the upcoming events were canceled and WFH was mandated, it felt like I had lost my sense of direction. Fortunately, my team is fantastic and we’ve all banded together to realign our focus. We’ve all been forced to physically isolate ourselves more so we’re compensating by increasing our digital socializing.
- Try to maintain a state of mental homeostasis. For the first couple of weeks, I found this to be very difficult. Video games and social media became very addictive and began taking time away from my daily tasks. I came across a YouTube video, How I Tricked My Brain To Like Doing Hard Things (Dopamine Detox). It made complete sense and I found it to be very beneficial. I refrain from playing a lot of video games and whenever I’m focusing on anything work-related, my phone is on airplane mode.
- Plan my day accordingly. I set out to complete specific tasks every day. My schedule is flexible so I don’t reserve a time slot to get everything done. If I feel I need a break, I try to take care of what’s currently on my plate and check back in later that evening. I find taking a cold shower before changing gears back into work mode helps with my concentration.
- Music is key. Ensuring I have a playlist, band, or genre that helps me focus is imperative. As I sit here writing this blog, I’m listening to Ventura by City of the Sun. Great band; I highly recommend checking them out.
- Avoid Technology. I’m in front of a screen for ~8 hours of my day. Once I finish work, it’s easy to sit on the couch and watch a movie, binge-watch a series on Netflix, or go on my phone. Instead, though, I’ve been taking this time to read (currently on The Alchemist, The Fifth Agreement, and The Way of Zen), take my trash panda for a walk, exercise, and meditate. This allows me to reset and prepare myself for the next day.