Start at the Beginning
Working from home has presented some unique challenges and benefits that I wasn't expecting. I've only been doing it for the past six weeks or so, but I've learned a lot. It's taken a shift in mindset and the creation of a whole new set of habits.
Setting out to write this blog, much like when I had to begin working from home, I wondered where I should start. The beginning is as good a place as any, I suppose.
I'm Houston! I'm the Social Media and Community Manager here at Puget Systems. That means, if you interact with any of the Puget branded social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), you're likely interacting with me. There's a lot of people out there that have problems we can solve, my job is to let those people know we're here and we can help. Another part of my job, the more "behind-the-scenes" part, involves content creation. That means photos, podcast and video editing, copy writing, and so much more! It's a lot to keep track of.
My Work From Home Space
At my house I have a particular space for my PC and hobbies. Unfortunately, that space didn't lend itself well to getting work done. Too many distractions! That's my place to have fun, not do work!
Pictured above is where I've been doing work instead. The view outside isn't too bad either. My work laptop is one of the workstation laptops Puget used to sell. It's heavy, warm, and can do everything I need and more. The specs are:
- Intel Core i7-6700K (The full on desktop CPU.)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980m
- 32GB of RAM
- 1TB Intel SSD
As you can see, this is definitely *not* a dedicated office. This is where the shift in mindset I mentioned earlier comes into play.
So, since I know I'm not good at staying on task and really staying focused on work things, I've been spending the lock-down time at my girlfriend's place and it's been working out great. She's had to work remotely as well and having her near by helps keep us both accountable and focused. In addition to the personal moral support, setting up this space each morning helps get my mind in the right mode to work.
Challenges & Benefits
I've talked about the biggest challenge I've had already. That of getting into a good mindset for work and that, to me, has been the first and most important thing I can recommend. Beyond that here's some other suggestions:
- Reduce distractions! I have my headphones on almost all the time with either an audiobook or some ambient music playing. For some, an audiobook might be too distracting so your mileage may vary. For me, the voice, the narration, occupies a certain part of my brain and allows me to focus on other things. I do lose out on really experiencing the book though. It's a trade off I'm willing to make.
- LISTS! It's so important to plan ahead. If you don't know where you're going and how to get there, how will you know if you're making any real progress? For me, if I don't write it down, I'll probably forget it. To that end, I've been using Teamwork more and trying to integrate it into my workflow habits. It gives me a nice list to look at and checkoff. Seeing things crossed off and knowing they're done is very satisfying.
- Take breaks! In the beginning, working from home gave me a feeling that I needed to be hard-core working the entire time. Then I took some time to think about my normal "in-office" day. There's moments where I'll walk around and get a coffee, visit with co-workers, etc. Those little breaks in the monotony of a day help so much! They give your mind a chance to work on other things, and in those moments it can have some really remarkable breakthroughs. Build it into your daily schedule. Take a walk, sit outside and just breathe, meditate (Working through some guided meditations releases so much anxiety and tension I didn't know I was carrying around.), anything to give your brain some rest.
Overall, working from home has been a very positive experience. Being under a stay-at-home order hasn't been without problems, but big changes in routines always do. It's disruptive, it's challenging, but there's a lot of good to come out of it all too. I feel closer to my loved ones, I feel productive and I know it will all have been worth it in the end.
Thanks for reading through all this and I hope a little look at how I've been adjusting has helped in some way.