In today’s episode of World Famous Program: Work From Home Woes, we will discuss the arrangement of our Work Desk.
I am pretty good at directions (I think). If someone asks me the directions, I can quickly take out my phone and open Google Maps and tell them. While working from home for 6 months now, directions have become quite a distraction. Where to direct attention and how for how long has been a particularly painful problem!
I generally take pride in the fact that I can do many things at a time. I don’t claim to be a multi-tasker, because I don’t think that is possible to focus on multiple things together. I just mean that I could balance work, enjoy things in life, delve wholeheartedly into hobbies, and keep up health without much hassle.
All that belief has got shaken up in 2020 due to obvious reasons. Not only I find it considerably difficult to find time to finish given work, but I have also gone so far from my hobbies that I might resort to writing ‘Watching movies and playing Cricket’ in my resume which would be an utter lie.
When people say that they don’t have time, we often mock them that they aren’t really sincere so they are finding excuses. But the fact of the matter is that we also need to understand their state of mind. Everyone has the same 24 hours but how taxing are the 9-10 work hours, how many other responsibilities have got subsided due to workload so they are always busy catching up, and how much the will is left in the person to pursue anything else, is a thing to consider. (And how lazy they are if they really are procrastinating all the time.)
All it boils down to priorities. If someone really prioritizes family time over their work or hobbies, it is their choice and it will have its own implication and vice versa. Right now everyone has been affected in some way or the other but results originating from this time will have their impacts in the future.
At the moment, I tell myself that I really don’t have time. I mean I don’t have time to write blogs and writing gives me clarity. I seriously need to work on it. I think if we start by admitting that we need to make an effort, we are on the right track. Acting on it is next.
Learning new skills and mastering a zen-like personality
Creativity reaching great heights, higher than heaven
Daily Blogging of Lockdown Chronicles and becoming Seth Godin
Working from Home and being super relaxed and chilled
Productivity Gold Standard
Working Out and having a toned physique
Above are the things which are not working for me and I haven’t done any of them. Heh! I mean, oh no!
So by now, you might have already heard and seen people doing great things in these times of lockdown. They have not only gained mastery in all the culinary, but they have also lost weight. People have read 15 books in 1 month and become meditation experts. They have not only turned their lives upside down but then turned it up again, reached Nirvana, wrote the process of reaching Nirvana, and finally attained a perfectly balanced lifestyle that everyone craved for before some bat/pangolin/secret lab failed experiment/sheer luck ruined it for everyone.
You might have also come across rebels who say that all this is a sham and nobody is actually doing anything good. They have just got way too free time at their hands. People might be transforming but there also exist many who are not even getting time to get up from their desks because work has stopped being morning to evening thing. Rather, the start and end time have blurred and days are going in only 2 modes:
Work when your eyes are open and
Sleep while they cannot stay open.
I have unfortunately fallen on to the latter category. This lockdown is not going the way it should have been. 2 stars out of 5 in my humble opinion. I didn’t read more than 5 pages of 4 books I tried. I did a total of 10 minutes of workout and 10 minutes of meditation in the last 30 days. I have fallen prey to incessant sneezing due to allergy which made me think, “Oh I hope I didn’t touch anything which I wasn’t supposed to” or “I shouldn’t have gone to buy milk” but then sneezing stopped in an hour. The only thing I did which comes close to creativity is to hang my old Minimal movie posters and they too fell down the next day because I didn’t stick them properly. A bit of wall paint came out as well. Sorry landlord.
Now they are finally up again but they need maintenance every 2 days apparently because my tape is made in China. And, there is nothing good on TV too. Money Heist is OKAAAAYYYY at best.
Now, to top all that morale boosting in an off direction, I took up a 2 year Masters course which would need a good 10 hours a week dedication.
This person rightly summed it up really well and anyone feeling like this should watch this I think:
Now, normal people will give up and do nothing about it. Not me, I am extra-normal. (10 years ago, I would have called myself ab-normal as in Hindi ‘ab’ but that joke is lame now.)
From what I have learned from everything in life is that when you are not feeling up, stop feeling down and start again. This blog is a “stop moping and get hands back on the steering and look straight and drive” types. Here are a few things I did and doing:
I cleaned up my room and made it completely showable-on-Zoom room now. (I didn’t do it alone. My better half helped.)
I shave almost daily. And people notice that.
I made a time table and I will be following it.
And that’s it. This is not a motivational blog, please. Maybe if I continue doing good things, I will write ways to be sane in these times. But for now, we shall strive and struggle and stay on the right track, no matter when lockdown gets over and virus gets disinfected.
Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.
Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park – The Lost World
Fiction has become a reality. Who would have thought that it would happen so suddenly? But it is not an alien attack, or Dinosaurs roaming around, or an asteroid coming (It is coming but it will pass from a safe distance, for now…). You just have to work from home and live with it. In the beginning, it looked like a welcome change. But I am not going to the office for more than 10 days now and real colors of Work From Home Life have started to show their ugly faces. I know it is more like Work From Bed, but here I am, as a Non-Expert, to help you rise up and beat your own expectations about yourself and do Work From Home, the right way.
Here are some non-expert tips to deal with the grim situation:
Bed is Bad
Avoid sitting on the bed for 20 hours a day. Maybe sit on the floor and keep the laptop on the bed. Or lie on the bed and keep the laptop on the floor. Don’t ask me! I don’t know… I am not an expert. But stay away from the bed because the bed will stay, backbone won’t. If you already have a desk and chair set up, use that setup. And like I showed in the pictures above, keep changing the directions to have some variety.
Everyone is working from home or at home not working. This means you will have to deal with an uncountable number of distractions. Your maid, your family, your pets, your kids, in whichever order you prefer, are going to pester you. The way to deal with this is to turn the tables and become a distraction for them. Disturb them so much that they maintain a big social distance from you and thereby, isolate you enough so that you can work peacefully. There might be debates and fights though. Again, I am not an expert but I can just suggest.
Schedule / Length of the workday
Very subjective. For those who really work will struggle with this as there might not be a start time and end time. For others, a cake walk. They will start late, take breaks in between, shut shop early and when you message them / call them / ping them, they will have the connection problem, electricity troubles, and fought with spouse problems. For single folks, they will have movies open in another tab which would hog the bandwidth. Basically, everything is blurry so who knows who is working and from when.
Make plans about how to work out as now you’ve got slightly more time. You needn’t go out but you can see on Youtube: How to meditate, how to do Yoga and which is the right exercise to do after every 25 minutes. Make plans surely. Implementing them can wait. Optimistic folks say that this will get over soon so why change your usual habit of not exercising at all.
You will soon forget the familiar faces whom you liked, had a crush on, you hated or you were indifferent to. So, it is a good time to stalk or block them on social media sites. It is the right time to know their political views or what their hobbies are. This might change some perceptions, who am I to tell, being a non-expert.
Food and Hydration
You are going to become fatter. There’s no denying that. But everyone is going to become fatter, that’s nice no! Except for those with daily wage jobs (black comedy joke). You are going to definitely sit for more than you did in the office. In-office, you could take long breaks for tea. You could have water cooler conversations about Big Boss. You could sync bathroom breaks with colleagues (it is a thing, really). But at home, you just eat, drink water, walk 5-10 feet and come back and then sit again. You can go to your balcony to track the time and the Sun’s position at least, right?
Rest you can take care of yourself and come up with your own tips. I am not used to working from home and I don’t think this was ought to happen to everyone in this decade. But this is the reality so make the best of it.
Here’s a list of things which you can use to really spend your time wisely, while not working from home. Check the full thread below.
There’s a common joke that if you do something on the first day of the year, you do that activity throughout the year. That’s not only highly improbable but also stupid, to be frank.
All the past years, my workplace had a holiday on January 1. But this year, because of the ‘policy’ of at max 10 holidays per year, we have no holiday tomorrow. Although most people will extend their leaves until January 2, I have decided to wake up early tomorrow and go to the office. Bring it on!
Why you ask.
There are some things which are tough to do. There are some things which are uncomfortable. There are some things which might make you look like a fool to others. But when you accomplish those things, there’s a beautiful jet stream of dopamine release. That release is much more genuine than that one which you get from Likes and stuff.
So I am going to try that this year. Apart from learning something new every day and 1000 other resolutions, one more resolution is going to be Not Hitting Snooze button. And not caring about what others think of you.
You may still enjoy some more sleep. Or you can do something uncomfortable early tomorrow and get a good chunk of dopamine released into your system.
If you are reading this before Jan 1, you have a really good chance to do the latter. Try.
This is going to be weird. Although the book ‘Faster than Normal’ is about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or popularly known as ADHD and how to make it work for you, by a renowned Author, Speaker, Ironman Triathlon Athlete, Podcaster, etc. named Peter Shankman, the title might also be my own Tagline, if I do get a tagline.
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD brain
Let me share some of the traits (as I would refrain from calling them symptoms) of being Faster than Normal:
Speaking fast. Very fast. I mean really fast. (Although in my mind I am being normal and others are being slow to understand me)
Getting easily distracted from uninteresting things (BORING!)
Being a Morning and Monday Loving Person / Extra-Energetic / Borderline-Hyper (Yes!)
A believer in ‘Either my way or highway’ philosophy (Although this doesn’t work in real world. Still, I try.)
Suffering from Imposter Syndrome often.
Uncontrollable hands. Sometimes tongue too.
This isn’t written in the book but rather my own traits if I may be frank here. So, I don’t know whether I really have ADHD or not but reading this book gave me so many examples of my own life. And even if I might have had ADHD, this book continues to state that ADHD is not a disorder. Rather, ADHD is a superpower which can be utilized to maximize one’s output. The best part of this book is that the suggestions, tricks, and tips given in this book would work for anyone who wants to be optimal at their game, ADHD or not. I would pause here and state that if someone really has ADHD, I cannot even comprehend what all would be going through their minds all the time. But when this book tells about people who have been diagnosed with ADHD and still made it big, that is very reassuring. For instance, names like Seth Godin, Richard Branson, Will Smith have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives.
So, reiterating here that whether you are normal or faster than normal, this book has a plethora of tips by which you can enhance your general productivity. Peter gives his own examples at every instance and also brings in guests who share their experiences with how they used their faster brain to accomplish great things. From getting up early, journaling your schedule, keeping your room tidy, choices minimum, following rituals, and making the best of the time when you are in your zone, are some of the tips which are explained in details with daily life examples.
In the modern day life where we have more distractions than a normal sane person can handle, focussing on a single task at hand is certainly a huge deal. When you know that if you are to be given only one hour of time with no distractions, you can wrap up the work which otherwise might take a day with distractions, then you probably you would enjoy this book.
I have gained a lot of insights about things which I had kept on the backburner due to laziness but after reading this book, I am pumped up again. This review is the 7th blog post on my blog in 7 straight days. I think if I am able to continue this streak further, this book would be one of the reasons behind that.