Working From Home? Here are some tips for ya

As it sounds nice, unless you follow some guidelines, working from home can be quite boring and unpleasing, been there :).. here are some tips I will share with you to be as effective as possible

You and Your House – Nothing Technical

#1 – Hygiene – Looks trivial ha? Working from, unfortunately, is highly associated with working in pajamas which is mostly correct. Think about it and you can’t find any other thing filthier than that, you are working with what you wore the whole night ugh.. Guess what comes along with that – you might not take shower too.
So the fix, make sure that is your priority, dart into your shower before hitting your desk. Brush your teeth, wear your deodorants.. basically do what you would have done if you were to fly to your office. This has a very refreshing effect on you especially on the morning.

#2 – Dress Nice – yeah mostly if you have done tip #1, this would come natural. Just wear something other than your pajama. Also, use this opportunity to wear what you want, shorts, flipflops, hoodies.. you are not supposed to follow dress code here – just dress nice.
This has a good effect on you especially when you want to go out – you are just ready and you won’t have excuse not to go out and get fresh air :)

#3 – Clean your Surrounding – This would apply if you are single mostly. It would come easy to toss papers and pizza boxes here and there, not to clean your kitchen and bathroom, not to fix your bed and not to let fresh air to your room. This would be a simple reason to hate your room. It is difficult to keep up with it as I have trouble to do that, but if you make it habit, then the flip side would be impossible in return.

#4 – Make sure You Are Well Fed – One thing I noticed working from home is how easy it is to miss lunch and breakfasts most of the time. I think I was OK when I was working in the office as there would be others reminding for lunch or to a short trip to the near by corner store. I don’t have to explain why you should not be hungry – you will easily be angry and angry programmer is the one you don’t want to be.
The fix – make sure you have snacks, fruits, candies, string cheese, yogurt or something that can be consumed immediately in your house, some protein bars are good too. They might not be healthy in most cases, but be selective and store them. Have your stack of water and beverages at hand as well.
But, the biggest thing would be to be able to cook. One thing, it would help you for break, and second you feel great that you are eating what prepared which is healthier and cheaper.

#4 – Exercise – Yup, it is like blinking of an eye when 10-12 hours of your day flies by before your eyes. The more you do that, the more your body would get used to it and hence less metabolism and high carbs would be your immediate friends. You definitely don’t want that.
the fix – Have smaller dumbbells at your house it could range from 6-50lb and make sure you play with them every 2 hours or so, you can set your mobile alarm or one of those gadgets which would help you remind that you should get up and do some exercise. Pushups, pullups, situps, stretches, head to knees, joggings, boxings.. there are numerous of those you can do in your house – just make sure you know your limit and you do it drop at a time. If you over do it, since you know where the bed is..

#5 – Have Natural Light – In the morning, open your blinds and let the light fill your room. It is natural and energetic than the lamp hanging on your roof. Also, let the air visit your surrounding as well.

#6 – Get Office Chair and Desk – You might be tempted to work from bed. nahh.. Avoid that for a lot of reasons. The first, you are breaking tip #1, as you might still be in your pajamas if you work from bed :), two it not healthy for your back as you might be curling yourself, third, you are way near for sleeping and productivity might not look good.
The fix – Get office chair and desk. There are a lot of Ergonomic chairs out there that are meant to be helpful for longer hours of working, the desk too..

#7 – Reminder for taking break – If you were in the office, there are quite successive breaks you would take without your conscious. A co-worker might be sharing a story what she and her husband run into when they were dining in the neighborhood, a fellow programmer requesting for review or help, breaking news on the TV, funny links being passed around on the communication tools and the like.. all those are effective ways of staying alert and taking a break. You won’t get those when you are in your own dungeons – so do that reminder on your one-of-many gadgets you sport.
But, make sure you know your limit as well, it is easy to get carried away on youtube or huffingtonpost..

#8 – Limit Your Communication – It would come handy talking to phone and responding to texts when you work from home. But somehow people would respond or call per your rate of communication. Though it is good to communicate, you should also tell yourself that you are at “work” and all the ethics and discipline would 100% apply here too. So, be cautious about it and setback.

#9 – Hangout Online With Coworkers – You work from home and so does others, they are your co-workers. So you can still hangout with them and chitchat a bit on work related or completely non-work related stuff. That would make it more natural – you are sharing thoughts or concerns and what nots with co-worker. This is even more effective way to learn about the work itself and about your virtual friends. Still business as usual, you are working with/for them and communication with them shall not and will not deter the professionalism you have.

#10 – Music – There are quite number of researches out there on how music would affect the ability of concentration while programming. For me, it is working fine, I can put on my headphone and just work fine – probably this is something I picked from my co-workers. I am just mentioning it – this is absolutely personal color choice. The good thing is working from home serves both choices equally.. if you like woking in a silent or in music, the actions to be taken are entirely in your hands.

#11 – Work outside 2 Days a Week – I have worked from Starbucks, public libraries, college libraries[this has some limitation], hotel lobbies, restaurants and literally anywhere I see that wifi logo.. but I have to admit Starbucks is the number one. It is great to work outside of your home for the sake of change. It provides the best of two worlds – you are alone and you are with peoples as well – what a goodie! Just make sure the rules of the places, some places like Panera Bread would allow you to work for 30 mins only during their busy hours, others like college libraries might not allow you to tunnel, and others have cap on bandwidth usage. Worst case, you can tether from your phone and work till you make it to your home. But, going out and working from those areas would make you feel active outgoing

#12 Have Something To Play With Yoyo is the best one in this category. Just have yoyo, some, rubik’s cube, small robots and the like that you would invest maybe 5 minutes when your brain is tied up with solving a problem and/or trying to come up with better algorithm for the problem you are facing.. again..

Next time I will share a thought on You and Tech – on how to stay sharp and upto the technology, tools to help that, news and selected articles sites..

Let me get back …