Remote Work FAIL

So yesterday I had some family event to attend, and I decided rather than drag my ass into work (~1 hour driving in, 3 hours at work, ~1 hour driving back home) I’d work from home.

Suffice it to say it was such a fail I’m going to charge it against vacation time. What happened?

  1. Stayed in my underwear
  2. Didn’t start 9am sharp
  3. Didn’t have a goal

My simple solution for effective work-from-home has always been get up, get dressed, start working, as if you were at the office. Sure, not driving in gives you an hour (or two) to burn on “me time” but never, ever must that time be spent on sleeping (which is what I did) or otherwise not doing things that move you towards getting to work.

So for me, working out is a positive way to spend that extra time, because at the end of a workout I shower and get dressed and “go to work”. Sleeping or watching TV doesn’t move me towards getting into the mode to work.

The “9am sharp” rule isn’t hard and fast – in fairness sometimes it’s 9:30, or maybe even 10 – but the basic idea is “at some point you stop being at home and start being at work”. If you kinda just sit down when you sit down and think “well, I’ll check Reddit again” you’re not at work, you’re still dicking around.

Lastly, have a goal. You’re at home and comfy and it’s easy to have a wandering mind. Even more than at work, you need to have a plan, a goal, some thing you specifically intend to do. At work there’s all the stuff that we go into work for: phones, coworkers, post-it notes. At home your desk might be full of office toys and personal stuff. I didn’t really plan on doing a specific thing yesterday, and it showed; I eventually got around to cranking out a bugfix at maybe noon.

So there’s my simple (?) guide to working from home. Get up, get showered and dressed, start working like you are at work, and have a plan.

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