I didn’t want to write a blog about the typical things one discovers when transitioning to working from home, like taking regular breaks, limiting screen time, writing down a to-do list…
I’m on the opposite side of the majority here, whereas I have always dreamed of being able to work from home one day. Whether it was a remote position at a company or running my own online business, this general concept has been in my mind for quite a few years.
A few examples that inspired me
When I took art and drawing lessons in my early teens, my instructor taught a small class out of his living room and commissioned work out of his studio, which was also in his home.
The shop foreman at my automotive dealership job had an outfitted home garage (aka shop) with a car lift and air compressor.
I got into furniture building and surface refinishing in my early 20s and built my first website to showcase my handiwork and to take custom orders.
Competitive esports started paying large rewards and more gamers began to play full time at home.
The “make money online” business models from influencers like Tia Lopez and Kevin David, etc, sell strategies to teach the process.
I find it inspiring to research work from home or home business opportunities and even cooler to have met a few people capitalizing on them.
1. Learn to Stay Healthy & Practice Self Care
Not having to commute every day generously saved me about 30-40 minutes, and I considered myself fortunate to already work so close to our main office downtown. That’s like an extra 5% of time added to the day!
How I spend the extra time before work
Do something physical – A power-walk, deep stretching, the 5 Tibetan Rights. Anything to get your heart rate up an/or break a light sweat.
Eat something nutritious – Grabbing take out breakfast is a treat, not a routine. Oatmeal and fruit or my new favourite Kodiak Cakes are two great options.
Get something done – If you’re going heads down for the next 8+ hours, there will likely be a few items in the back of your mind to take care of before the workday officially starts.
How I spend the extra time after work
Soft reboot your brain – The drive home used to be a great mental reset for me. Now I go for another walk (or bike ride) or practice breathing exercises combined with meditation.
Make a beverage – I personally love the ritual of boiling water, measuring out coffee grounds or tea leaves, setting a timer, adding cream or honey to a hot beverage. Having something to sip on is a great end-of-day trigger to decompress and mentally process the day.
2. Create A Dedicated Work Area (not in your living room)
The stereotypical photo of a MacBook and a cup of coffee on a table in the living room is not an accurate representation of a productive workspace.
If square footage is limited, there are plenty of options, trust me. When you spend 15 minutes browsing r/battlestations you will find plenty of compact desk examples.
Here are a few accessories I highly recommend
- An ergonomic mouse with at least two programable buttons. I swap between the Logitech MX Master and a G703 Pro.
- A high-quality backlit keyboard. My choice brand once again is Logitech and I use a G910.
- Wireless headphones with a good microphone. Surprise, I use the G935 by Logitech. They are not my preferred wireless headset but they are one of the best options for the price. I picked them up on sale for $99.
- At least 2 monitors, preferably 1440p but nothing less than HD/1080p. My current setup supports the use of 3 monitors.
- Middle – My primary task display where serious work happens
- Left – A direct extension of my primary display where I’ll leave up reference documents and Microsoft OneNote
- Right – My main communication display where I leave my email, Slack, or Zoom windows open pretty much at all times.
3. Optimize The End of Your Day
You’ll find TONS of motivational resources online on the biggest and best ways to start your day, but it’s quite a bit rarer to think about the best way to end your day.
My process is simple & I intend to keep it that way
Create an element of escapism – I am an avid PC gamer and I gravitate to online competitive games against real people. I could go off on a philosophical tangent on how games bring together all types of humans for a united goal, but that will be in another article. The point I’ll stress is that whether you binge a few episodes of a series or devour a few chapters of a good book, pick your poison and take a bath in it daily.
Clean up your desk – Dishes, clothes, and garbage are a big no-no. I totally get it that many people thrive creatively in a visually busy space with tons of trinkets and books. That’s 100% fine, but for your own mental clarity and professionalism on a video call, your work area needs to be tidy at all times.
Limber up and stretch – Believe me when I say that I’ve been stretching daily for the majority of my adult life. I guarantee if you do the same you’ll have fewer headaches, less tension in your whole body, and better quality sleeps.
4. Start Meal Planning
I am willing to bet that at least once a week you think to yourself “what do I feel like eating?”
The very first transition to working from home was the limited access to takeout for lunch. If you regularly eat food, I recommend everyone plan out their weekly meals…
Let me be clear that I’m not talking about meal prepping on the weekend so you have premade food throughout the weekdays.
My wife and I have a simple row and column method to plan our meals so we’re never left wondering what to make for supper or which leftovers are for lunch.
For 15 minutes on Sunday, we brainstorm the week’s dinners and breakfast’s, then trickle the leftovers for lunches.
Two things we bulk cook is pancakes and waffles because they keep very well in the freezer. Occasionally we’ll freeze a second casserole or meatloaf but that’s mostly it.
PLEASE NOTE! It’s ok to plan for ordering in food! My rule is no more than once a week and you know ahead of time where to order from.
I’m sure there’s at least one tip in here that you can start doing today. So what are you waiting for?