Two months ago Coronavirus was a punchline. One month ago it was a nervous chuckle. And now? It kinda feels like crippling fear.
At least that's my interpretation of it. Sorry to get so real with you.
The English speaking world have slowly watched it change from being a problem 'over there' to being a problem 'right here'.
I'm in Australia where it isn't terrible yet (681 infected), but we seem to be following the same trajectory as Europe.
I know that most of us will get through this, and we'll be better prepared for the next one when it's all over, but right now it feels like we're all strapped into a bus that's skidding towards an embankment.
Okay that got way too dark! And since I know you didn't subscribe to this newsletter to hear an unqualified youtuber's hot take on a global pandemic, let me switch gears to something lighter and probably more helpful: how to work from home.
I've been working remotely for 11 years now - mostly from a private office, but a lot at home. And while it has some challenges, most are easy to overcome if you set boundaries. And the beautiful upside is that working from home can be much more productive than your workplace (yes, even with kids!).
Some lessons I've learned over the years:
Those are the few that I've learned. If you have any of your own, please comment on this Instagram post to help others.
- Set a daily punch-in, punch-out time - Work will quickly bleed into your private life if you let it. I personally choose to start at 9 and finish at 5pm but pick what works for you. All that matters is you pick something!
- Tell your family - Some experts say it can take 23 minutes to refocus after being interrupted. So explain to them: "even though you can see me, pretend I'm not here between these hours".
- Create an office - If possible, have a room that you only use during work hours. You'll feel more switched on when you enter it, and more relaxed when you leave it. And if that's not possible, get some noise cancelling headphones (I personally use the Bose QuietComfort 35), and a rain playlist when it get's super loud at home.
- Use software to help you focus - Without a boss over your shoulder, it's very easy to lose hours on Youtube. So I use Freedom to block distracting websites, and Toggl with the Pomodoro timer to alternate between 25 minute work blocks and 5 minute breaks. I get a LOT more done in the day when I'm self-disciplined enough to use them.
- Take posture seriously - I've wasted thousands of dollars on physiotherapy due to poor posture. It sounds fun to lounge on a couch with a laptop, but you'll definitely pay for it later. At minimum get a laptop stand and a proper chair. I also recommend adopting these three posture rules: elbows at right angles, eyes level with the top of the monitor and feet flat on the floor. If any of these are out, you're very likely to slouch and develop an injury later on.
- Walk - Assuming you can still leave your house, go for a short walk before and after work to help you switch on and off (a mental commute if you will).
All the best,