With social distancing being the new norm, introverts are joking about how they’ve been preparing for this moment their entire lives. While working from home has many benefits, doing it over a prolonged period of time can have you forgetting how many days it’s been since you last showered, and holding conversations with Wilson, your basketball.
I’ve been a remote worker from home for over seven years, and I’ve gone through the many phases that are associated with being a remote worker. So, from my years of suffering, I bring to you the three most important things associated with working from home.
To quote Jocko Willink, discipline equals freedom. This statement is most true for those working from home because your whole routine stems from self discipline. There’s no-one physically watching you enter the office, or judging you on your appearance. So these are things you need to drive yourself.
Just because your work is flexible and you can work at anytime, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to work any time. Rather set a routine, wake up at a set time, do your chores, have a workout, meditate or have a greasy breakfast – whatever it is – do it, then start work and get through the day.
Remember to take breaks. I often set a timer to go off at 50 minutes past the hour to remind me to get up for 10 minutes and do something different that's not work-related, like going for a walk.
Just as important as it is to start work on time, remember to end work on time. Close your laptop, leave it far away and go enjoy your own life. Note: this is something I’m still working on after all these years. I need to stop checking and replying to emails at awfully late hours.
I read somewhere once, “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap things.” That’s a quote that I really took to heart when it comes to my work. Within reason, it always pays dividends to get the best laptop, desktop, screen, keyboard, desk, chair, and internet. You’re going to spend a lot of time working, so make it the best experience that won’t take its toll on your body or eyesight.
One of the best steps I ever took was to convert the garage at the end of the garden into my office space. It was a costly process, but I have a lovely office space with a small gym and everything I need and more. Plus being separated from the house I’m not distracted by the doorbell, the family, or other activity. While I realise that’s not possible for everyone, it is important to try and have a dedicated space with a nice chair. Even if it’s a small corner.
And the Most Important Thing
But above and beyond everything else, the most important thing is maintaining human interaction through all the tools available. After all, humans are social creatures, and without that social interaction we can suffer over time; as I elaborate on in this video.