For a lot of people, the idea of working from home conjures up ideas of sitting on a couch in your jammies daydrinking and eating chips & salsa while watching re-runs of Charmed. And yes, it can be just that wondrous just not always or nothing would get done.
There's truly an art to being able to work effectively from home.
Now that the whole world is at home hiding from COVID-19, a lot of people have to bust out some serious "art" seriously fast. If you've never worked from home, it can take ages to figure out how to do it productively.
This article is here to be your personal Bob Ross and remind you that anyone can be an artist.
One Reddit user asked:
You've got to keep in mind that not everyone's work style is going to be the same, so not every tip may apply to you. Your situation may be entirely different from someone else's. Maybe background music works for you. Maybe you're one of those people who can't have any on because it turns into workeoke and you don't have enough people in the house to provide solid backing vocals for when you do Bohemian Rhapsody. We don't judge. We appreciate your commitment to the high harmony.
In any case, there are a few things here that most of you will probably find useful. Doesn't mean you're going to listen to the experts, though. We get it. Chillin on the couch with a bag of hot cheetos DOES sound like a good time.
Best Use Of Time
Pick a room, close the door, and use noise cancelling headphones. Everything is a distraction when working from home. Suddenly, checking the mail and doing the dishes seems like the best use of your time.
Time To Stop
If there's one thing especially to be disciplined about it the TIME TO STOP WORKING! It's very easy to convince yourself it's ok to keep reading a report because you might just finish it today or to finish making all of the entries because tomorrow will be that much easier or you'll finally be done with a project.
Work at home starts to bleed over into your home non-work time/life very quietly and quickly. Pretty soon it will be a habit. I've worked at home for the last 15 years and got so much more work done but I had to fight hard to win this battle.
Do your usual morning routine and get dressed! Be sitting at your desk by your usual start time and stick to your usual break times. It's tempting to stay in your pyjamas and work from bed but you'll feel much better if you put yourself together each day.
A 20 Year Veteran
I have been working from home for 20 years, since before my first kid was born. It has been great. My biggest habits:
- Have a dedicated space and keep regular hours.
- Make sure your family knows they can't interrupt your work unless the house is on fire.
- Keep a journal so nobody can question your productivity.
- Use your saved commute hours to read the paper in the morning and/or exercise.
- Eat lunch out of your fridge.
- Keep good coffee in the house.
You can actually be more productive at home and live a better life this way, if you stay disciplined.
Instead of standing by the coffee machine or wasting time gabbing in someone's office I take that time and take my dog for a 10 minute walk or play some fetch in the yard, I do some stretches, work on a craft for a few minutes. Staying productive in your "down time" while working from home directly correlates to staying productive during your work time. If you take a 30 minute break to lounge on the couch and eat hot cheetos, you'll be a lot less inclined to get back into the groove of working than if you had taken that time to do something active or productively fun.
Tasks Not Time
Set tasks not time. Don't tell yourself "oh I've been working for X hours [translation: browsing reddit] , I deserve a break". Make a list of what you need to get done and don't give yourself an out till you've gotten it done.
If you can talk to your coworkers on Hangouts / Slack / whatever. Hold each other accountable to your lists.
Set a routine.
I wake up every morning, check my emails, respond to anything urgent, open up all the files I'll be working with for the day.
Then I make coffee.
Then I attend morning meetings, eat breakfast and drink coffee.
Then I take a 20 minute break.
Then it's about an hour of work. Then lunch. I'll usually pop on an episode of the simpsons while I'm making lunch (or big mouth, or disenchanted, or some anime, or whatever)
Then another couple hours of work.
Then afternoon snack.
Another hour of work, then it's time to pick up the kid from school. Bring her home, sit her in front of a movie, and bang out another hour of work.
Then it's quitting time. I shut my laptop and resolve myself to not touch it again until morning.
Yes, it's broken up a lot, but I don't have people hanging over my cube just wanting to "chat".
Not The Couch
I've been working remote for ~8 years now.
You have to have a dedicated work space. Your job happens at your workstation. Not everyone has a spare room or a desk but make it as official as possible. Do not, under any circumstances, work from the couch.
Take an hour to wake up and get moving, have some coffee, do some stretching, read the news, listen to 15-20 minutes of a podcast. Then officially start your work day. You'll really start to appreciate the time you don't have to scramble to get ready.
I don't have an opinion on showering and "dressing up". I shower most mornings but always just wear a t-shirt and joggers.
Take a break and go the fck outside to walk around, try to get at least a mile.
Drink lots of coffee because it's awesome.
Take a 30-45 minute lunch and actually cook a really good lunch. I make a salmon, potato, egg hash every day. I'll pickle some peppers, chop some garlic and really focus on cooking for a few minutes.
Don't feel guilty about taking a few 10-15 minute break. My normal work flow even when I was in the office was 45-50 minutes of actual work and 10 minutes of di*king around.
4:00 work beer
Before you go on your walk and before you start lunch throw in a load of laundry.
Without office and co-worker distractions try to get 6 solid, honest hours of work between when you start and when you finish.
You'll miss it when you have to go back in the office.
Have sht you will get done by a specific time or by the end of the day. Not a "oh I'll do 3 hours of work". No. Get tasks ready or you will get distracted and lose focus.
Also put on some music or something that is not too distracting get comfortable and you may end up getting in a "flow" or "the zone". That is when you really get a ton of work done. You end up doing better than in an office.
24 Hours Of Wear And Tear
My husband I have worked from home since 2002. Something you're going to realize: your house now gets 24 hours of wear and tear. Be extra diligent about cleaning up after yourself and putting things back where they belong, otherwise your house, especially your kitchen, will "silt up" with mess.
If you keep finding yourself on Facebook or reddit (like me when trying to do my online college course) download something like "cold turkey" to block distracting sites during certain time frames. I have 10-15min breaks in my schedule to get some down time, but other than that don't touch social media when I'm supposed to be working. Helped my productivity level a ton!
Don't work from your bedroom. It is meant for sleep not work. You may get tired if you try to work from there.
A Trial Run
I work from home most of the year.
GET UP AND BE GRATEFUL! Wear comfortable clothes and be productive.
This may just be the trial run for tele-work that many people have been hoping for, so shine! Lots of companies have been resistant to it and now have no choice, maybe it could be the norm.
-Set-up a desk-like area, use the same travel mug you normally do!
-Don't turn on the TV and don't work in bed!
-Take breaks and take a lunch.
-If you have pets, enjoy your time with them, this is a perk. It will make you want to work harder to preserve this.
-Keep a log of the tasks that you are getting done, at first managers are more vigilant to be sure that you are working and not slacking. Once you prove that you are working, they tend to back off.
-Stop working at the same time you normally do, don't get sucked in to working late.
-Go outside and take a walk - get some exercise so that you don't get sick of your home.
Communication And Availability
Be available over whatever IM your company uses. Communicate with your co-workers at least as much as you do in the office. Write brief status reports even if nobody is asking for them.
Communication and availability are important to maintain because this is what is most at risk when people aren't in a shared environment.
Status reports are useful to help you maintain focus, but also can help your manager keep track of what's going on with people. If you have daily stand ups, then this isn't necessary. Your managers are going to get asked about how the team is doing in this new environment; give her tools to effectively answer those questions. The best updates are short and frequent; daily and brief, not an essay once a week.
You've Left Work
Start your day exactly the same as of you were going in to work. Get up at the same time, shower, shave, put on real clothes, and eat your usual breakfast. Then 'go' to work and have the same tea and lunch break you usually would. And when the work day finishes, do NOT check your work email or answer work calls. You've left work, you're home now.
I'm going to say something sad but true. Love is not destined for everybody. Read that back a few times. Take a deep breath and embrace it. There are other things in life besides falling in love and staying in love forever.
For starters, acknowledge other kinds of love in family, friends, or self. There isn't one definitive answer that puts you in the single category.
We have to stop seeing being single as a death sentence or a punishment. A lot of people embrace the freedom and solitude. We should be seeking advice from them more often.
Let's talk about the current state of being single in this dysfunctional world of relationships.
Redditor u/One_Sherbert_2797 wanted to hear from the lovelorn and relationship searching, or happily alone, by asking:
Why are you single?
I am single. I am out of shape, so I'm uncomfortable and I trust no one in this Covid world. There are other reasons but those are the big two.
I'm LostYeah I Guess Season 2 GIF by ScreamQueensGiphy
"Because I'm clueless when it comes to dating or even asking someone out."
I just can't...
"Yeah, I like the idea of being in a relationship, but the thought of how much effort and potential pain I'd have to go through to find someone and maintain a relationship just makes me not want to even try. I don't want to be alone forever but being alone is so much safer and easier, you know?"
"I don't understand people very well so I don't try to find anyone. It often feels like everyone else had a few extra days in school to learn a new language and I just missed it all. I'm not sure if one day I'll figure it out but at this point it doesn't seem likely I'll spontaneously develop and understanding of human emotion and communication."
"Because I am totally in love with someone who will probably never feel the same way about me. I have actually told him already and he says he has feelings for me too, but he is not ready for a relationship and I don't think he ever will be. We have a history even though we were never together and I just think that we would have ended up together by now if it was in the cards."
"Damn same. Moving on is a pain. If you've already told them and gotten rejected, then I wish you the best with the process. If you've not, take the leap friend. If you don't it'll be a constant what-if for you for as long as you know them."
The ZoneLonely Lamorne Morris GIF by New GirlGiphy
"I'm in the zone where the women I'm attracted to aren't attracted to me and I'm not attracted to the women who are attracted to me. T'is a painful existence."
Get in a different zone. That is lesson one. Try it all from a different angle, it'll bring a fresh perspective.
Just CuzSeason 5 Happy Dance GIF by FriendsGiphy
"Because why not. Person reading this, why do we place a lot more value on romantic relationships than with platonic friendships?"
The Bonds that Break
"Just never happened tbh. (24, never have had a girlfriend) I don't have problems forming a connection and a bond with women, but I do think I may spend too much time just enjoying the feeling of a genuine friendship that I kinda forget to make a move and they end up either finding someone else or assuming I'm not interested. That and everyone just wants to blast through everything so quickly nowadays, like at times it feels like if you aren't DTF or have made a proper "move" by the end of the week then it's over, even when you have just met the person. It's obnoxious."
"I was intoxicated by love, chose the wrong person, ignored the warning signs and checked all the relationship boxes - marriage, child, house. Unfortunately, marriage didn't mean as much to the person I chose as it does to me. A family was all I ever wanted. My only goal, man."
we all do this...
"...you can't swing the sword without letting your shield down. When you make to grab your chance you always open yourself up to failure. It's okay. everyone gets rejected... and in the end no one cares... we all do this... ask her out or the regret will kill you. Do it enough times and you got a gf."
I need a Map
"I have no idea how dating works."
"I believe there's different ways of going about it. One is the slow way which is start off purely as friends and see if something more develops. The other is to directly ask the person out. In both cases the goal is to talk and do meaningful things together."
"Go to dinner, hang out and watch a movie, play sports or video games together. The goal is to find common ground or areas of interest and see if being together is better than not being together. Get to know the other person and along the way get to know yourself."
"If you like what you see, keep doing things together. My wife would try new things with me or for me and that is one of the things I love about her; I dated a girl before her that wouldn't and I chose to end that relationship in large part because of that. Even if you don't want to pursue the person romantically, hopefully you've ended up with a good friend."
Alone not LonelySaturday Night Live Nbc GIF by HULUGiphy
"I like being single."
"Same. Love. It."
Why is it all so complicated? Or do we just make it that way? Maybe cheers to being single.
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I just can't with some people. Well, to be honest, I just can't with most people.
I often just don't have the time, or the mental and emotional bandwidth to figure most people out.
Too many of us are just cemented in our ways. And that can be a turn-off to the rest of the world. I've lost track of the number of conversations I've had where I couldn't connect with a person because they refuse to try.
Redditor u/RTGac wanted to have a conversation about some folks we encounter throughout life, by asking:
What sorts of folks do you refuse to take seriously?
I stay out of any and all political conversations online these days. That is a group (mob) of people who I can't take seriously, because they have lost the thread. And it's coming from all sides.
Service ConcernsArrested Development Do Not Want GIFGiphy
"People who treat customer service like trash."
"Customer service who treat people like trash."
I AM THIS
"People that base their whole identity on one thing."
"Especially when they have no personal contribution to said thing, aka Super Fans. A person who lives and breathes for swimming or cooking or some other activity that requires skill is totally different from somebody who just obsessed over a show or Fandom or whatever bullcrap."
Behind the Curve
"Oh there's definitely at least 100. They have conventions and crap. But yeah still the minority. There is a very fun and interesting documentary about them called Behind the Curve which I recommend if you're interested."
The worst part?
"Anti-vaxxers, anti-masks, holocaust deniers and more recently, "gravity deniers". These people makes me lose faith in humanity sometimes. They think the force of gravity was invented, or just doesn't exist. It resonates with some flat-earthers... the concept of gravity is correlated with a spherical planetary mass with a force pulling everything to the ground (center of the mass)."
"To the earth be plane, some believe that what keeps our feet on the ground is bc this plate is always moving upwards. The worst part? I know all this freaking disgraceful bull. Somehow I lost to them by occupying my already small brain with this crap."
Question Peopletinder swiping GIFGiphy
"At what point can someone be seen as a "redditor"? I use it a lot but I don't consider it to be a part of my identity whatsoever. It's just an app I use to pass time. I rarely talk about it to anyone."
Oh reddit. You are a quirky beast aren't you? And customer service, there is so much vitriol being thrown about, I'm opting to just stay home.
All about You!Pick Me Season 10 GIF by RuPaul's Drag RaceGiphy
"People who think that the fact they have problems negate the fact that others have problems. Shockingly, many types of problems can exist simultaneously."
"People who get their news off social media. I mean more the people who will take social media as gospel. I will hear things and do research outside of social media to hear the actual information. And even then it's all from biased perspectives. So I read both lmao. Fox and CNN so I can get both sides"
"I do, but before i tell anyone about it I search for the whole article online so that I don't accidentally lie to my loved ones."
"People who won't even try to think about how other people feel about things wether it be political, religious or just something petty and instead act like their world view is the correct one. Reddit can be a bit of echo chamber for any and all political/social beliefs. Some sub Reddit's get banned just because they are too right wing or too left wing and I'm totally against that crap people should be able to say what they want unless it's threats of violence. Reddit ain't perfect when it comes to to censorship."
"Oh, must be nice"
"There's also the people you know who are always broke or in heavy debt and can't afford anything. Who always sarcastically scoff "Oh, must be nice" when you mention you went on a vacation or bought yourself something new, because they suck at finances and can't let others enjoy themselves."
For Sure!Angry Excuse Me GIF by JinGiphy
"People who are 100% sure about literally anything, and 1-uppers you know the people who always have or did or something the same as you or someone else but better somehow."
Wow there are a ton of messy humans running amok. Is it any wonder why the rest of us drink? And I loathe 1-uppers. I had to say that!
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Goods and services are always going to have a cost. Such is life.
Something overpriced where you live? Let's talk about it.
What is incredibly overpriced in your country?
We're certainly paying a lot for the tiny super computers in our pockets, aren't we?
Paying To Pay To Use A Phone
"Cellphone service fees."
"It's insane. I just got here and wanted to setup a phone plan. Visited 3 store until I understood this where the regular prices. I'm not even paying a 10th in Europe of what I'm paying here."
"Mobile data. Canada pays some of the highest prices in the world for mobile data."
"In Finland I pay about 20€ for unlimited phone calls, text messages and data (they are truly unlimited)."
"20 dollars in canada gets you about 100 minutes calling, free texts and 200mb of internet lol, its unreal"
It isn't just America, before you go assuming we're the most over costed country in the world. Turns out others might have to be paying a lot more than we are for goods and services.
"An RTX 3090."
"Jokes aside, gas at the moment. It used to be €1.60 per litre. Now it's up to €2.05 per litre. When we go to Germany for some gasoline it's around €1.60 where it used to be between €1.30 - €1.45"
"F*ck! That's $9.01 a gallon!! At to think I was bummed gas here is ~$3.75/gal (~€0.86/L?)"
Paying A Lot For The Bare Minimum
"Housing. It's a travesty."
"Tell me you live in NZ without telling me you live in NZ..."
"As an Aussie, NZ is my affordable alternative."
"Good luck finding a beach front peice of land for 200k here with a less than 1 hour commute to the city."
"Plus, in NZ, you can buy old houses and have then transported on a truck."
"I was doing math the other day"
"Beach front land - $195k"
"Restored 1920s house - $90-110k"
"Transport, foundation setting and connection - $75k-$100k"
"Approx $400k for a really great set up. In Australia you pay more than that for a sh-t apartment that catches fire, in a leaning building, with no resale value."
Contrasts Between The Two
"Most things in Australia except food…a trip to the US is an eye opener re cars,clothes,electronics etc…"
"I would expect food here to be substantially more costly than the US. Take out is real expensive unless you're buying something very unhealthy like Maccas, which frankly doesn't seem cheap either"
"American supermarkets are weirdly expensive. Their restaurants are crazy, crazy cheap"
USA? Are we really "the best" when we can't take care of the people who need it the most?
Ohhh, Bootstraps. That's All We Need.
"Housing, childcare, and medical services/insurance."
"Geeze bud. Don't buy a house have kids or get sick if you can't afford it. Do you have bootstraps you could try? /s"
Step one: acquire bootstraps
Step two: pull
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Profit"
Just Pay Your Workers? Maybe?
"Tipping. Not just restaurant waitstaff but everyone…at hair salons, hotels, taxis, coffee, tour guide or anything travel related, bar. It's no problem to tip the individuals trying to make a living, but it's ridiculous that we as patrons are expected to pay for these companies labor costs based on how the US functions"
"It's getting really out of control in the beauty service industry especially. Lots of people rent a small room or just a chair in a salon to say, do lash extensions or hair coloring. Or they own their own salon outright. These aren't people making under minimum wage and working for someone else. They own their own business and set their own prices. And yet they still demand a 20% tip minimum."
"Just charge me the price you expect to make and don't do this BS tip song and dance that just makes it awkward for everyone."
"Have the time they also act like they're doing you a huge favor by even allowing you to be graced by their presence. Thankfully with YouTube I've learned to just do everything myself."
"Sorry.... How..... How is that the most expensive... It's literally free?.... Oh.... American I presume?"
"Our country charges $1000 for a life saving medicine that other countries charge $30 for because Capitalism."
Leaving Hawaii To Hang With Their Pricey Milk
"In the 50th state."
"Milk and gas."
"7 bucks a gallon "
"try and guess which one I'm talking about."
"Hawaii or Alaska?"
"I can get mine for $2.72/gallon"
"We do have to have lactaid, so I actually pay $5.72/gallon"
Be smart, try to see when someone is trying to pull one over on you, and always be willing to walk away to find a better deal when you can. That's not always going to be possible, but it's important to try.
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When I was a child, I wanted so badly for dragons to exist. To be fair, I had a bit of an obsession with stories of man-eating reptiles and serpents after watching The Lair of the White Worm at too young an age. (Thank you for rocking my world, Ken Russell.)
Sadly... they don't. And if they did, I gather they'd probably pose a major national security risk!
People told us all about the mythical creatures they wish actually existed after Redditor Nymeria asked the online community,
"What creature from folklore do you think exists or once existed?"
"Amphisbaena - two-headed snake, said to have been created from the blood of Medusa's severed head.
The animal is Amphisbaena vermicularis which is a legless type of lizard, and since it digs through earth most of its life, its head and tail look alike to the untrained eye, hence the misconception that it is a two-headed snake."
A likely story from the two-headed snake propaganda team!
"Nobody mentioned Rocs or Thunderbirds? I mean I'm generally skeptical of cryptid stuff but of all the ones on the list, big ol' bird seems pretty plausible to me. I figure the whole elephant lifting, thunder flapping thing is big fish story stuff but I could see something like Argentavis surviving to the time of stone age man and god knows Quetzalcoatlus gives a pretty good idea how ridiculously large a creature can get and still be capable of flight. Who knows what's sitting in the fossil record with a Neanderthal clutched in its beak."
"The pouakai, a monstrous bird from Maori folklore, is more than likely a memory of the Haast's eagle from southern New Zealand. It's main prey were the also-unbelievably giant moa birds, but I imagine it would have little difficulty carrying off a small human child. So indeed, perhaps there are other long-gone giant raptor birds that posed a threat to early humans and then grew even larger in their imaginations."
"The family that lived there..."
"The mysterious so-called "flabby egg monster" at Glamis Castle, in Scotland.
I think it existed, but the mysterious and inaccurate folklore around it basically masked what it really was. It's far more likely that this was a highly disabled or otherwise deformed member of the family that was kept hidden from public view, with accounts from the time suggest something that sounds an awful lot like what we now know as Noonan Syndrome. People with Noonan Syndrome can have totally normal lifespans which explains why it went on for so long.
The family that lived there had a long history of genetic abnormalities, including one of the Queen Mother's own relatives who was hidden from public view and died in 2014."
"Since we didn't really start..."
"Definitely something in the sea. Since we didn't really start truly exploring underwater or polluting it except for the past 100 years or so. I definitely could've seen some near-extinct rare sea serpent-type thing living well beyond the rest of its race. Hell, even today we find new creatures once thought extinct in the depths."
I remember how much it blew my mind to learn about the discovery of the coelacanth, which were thought to have become extinct in the Late Cretaceous, around 66 million years ago, but were rediscovered in 1938 off the coast of South Africa!
"The current information..."
"The current information we have on different species of humans before ours won out really makes me believe that stories of dwarves and woodland elves might come from a place of truth."
This is exactly why I enjoyed watching Trollhunter.
"I think a lot..."
"I think a lot of folklore creatures were probably based on stories of real animals from far-off places, just heavily distorted with time and retelling by generations of people who'd never actually seen it."
"I think there was a species..."
"Humans have a fear or natural revulsion to things that look human but not quite human (think uncanny valley). Natural fears help keep us alive, for example, most people don't like spiders because they present a real danger to us and they move in a decidedly unhuman way. I think there was a species that almost looked human but was a predator to humans until we got smart enough to hunt them into extinction. It's probably the source of skinwalker legends."
Have you read a few skinwalker legends? They're terrifying stuff. Do not recommend reading about them late at night!
"But I certainly doubt..."
"Nessie is probably based off a real aquatic prehistoric animal. But I certainly doubt she actually exists in Loch Ness. If you wanted to take a picture of Nessie you are millions of years too late."
Sadly, Nessie continues to evade us. It just wants to be left alone!
"I honestly think..."
"I honestly think there's a solid chance Bigfoot or something extremely similar exists out there."
Where are you, mythical creatures?
If you're hiding out somewhere, I can't say I blame any of you. Humans will just find a way to capitalize off you.
Have some suggestions of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!