How I Work From Home – Stories From Home Part 4, A Podcast

How I Work From Home – Stories From Home Part 4, A Podcast


*** SHOW NOTES ***

After 50 plus rotations around the sun, I’ve put together a few truths

Three things don’t lie

  • Babies
  • Yoga Pants
  • Drunk people

And that people are generally good, and resourceful. 

Here’s a perfect example. 

Using colored paper, help a neighbor with “Isolation Communication

Nova Scotia resident Glynis Mullen shared a simple, but brilliant, way that we can all employ to look out for our neighbors in real life, “Our neighbour is older and lives alone so I gave her three colour pieces of paper for her window which face our kitchen window. Green is for I’m OK, yellow (is) for need(ing) help with an errand, and red for an emergency. I call it isolation communication.”

Politico asked 34 big thinkers to predict how the coronapocalypse will permanently change our world (BoingBoing)

  • Electronic voting goes mainstream.
  • Revived trust in institutions
  • A new kind of patriotism
  • Less individualism
  • A healthier digital lifestyle

Perhaps we can use our time with our devices to rethink the kinds of the community we can create through them. In the earliest days of our coronavirus social distancing, we have seen inspirational first examples. Cello master Yo-Yo Ma posts a daily live concert of a song that sustains him. 

Not traveling? You might want to put these subscriptions on hold The Points Guy

  • Monthly inflight internet service
  • Lift Pink – Which lets you save 15% on each ride as well as allowing 3 ride cancellations each month
  • Uber Ride Pass – Which keeps you free of Uber Surge pricing
  • Clear or TSA PreCheck – If your membership expires in the next 30-45 days you might consider putting the renewal on hold.

With almost everyone, now working from I figured today’s Story From Home would center around How I Work from home, when I’m working from home, which is going into its forth week.

Several years ago, I posted “This I How I Work”  This was inspired by Lifehacker and their “This Is How I Work” series. Where ask work-related questions of pseudo-important people and in turn, they answer them.

  • Location: Apopka, FL at least a few nights each week
  • Current Gig: Sr. Business Solution Consultant, focusing on BPI (Business Process Improvement… we use a bunch of acronyms).
  • One word that best describes how you work: Passionately-Focused (The hyphen makes it one word).
  • Current mobile device: An iPhone 6s.
  • Current computer: Lenovo X230, Surface i5 and some version of an iPad.

What apps, software, tools can’t you live without? Traveling so much I rely on apps and if those apps automate my day it’s even better. Check out IFTTT. It automates such tasks as logging my FitBit activity, my Spotify songs to a spreadsheet as well as the template for my 5-minute journal. It also sends me a text each morning with the weather, and it’s free. I also rely on Evernote, perfect for storing interesting articles, ideas, recipes as well as travel receipts.

What’s your workspace setup like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk? My home office has this amazing Samsonite office chair that lives behind a desk from my Father-In-Law. My wife’s piano from her childhood and pictures from our travels fill the walls. How many people have a copier in the middle of their TV wall unit? When traveling my office can be anywhere. A Hilton property, an airport (this is being finished up at MCO while waiting for a flight) or a customer’s site.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack? I have two. First, I make lists. I have no issue remembering action items from meetings. But, crossing those items off provides me with a sense of accomplishment. Second, I listen to audiobooks and podcasts at 1.5 speed, try it you’ll be amazed.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Might be plain text, perhaps an app like Todoist, or simply pen and paper!  I’m a pen fanatic, especially fountain pens, so I always have several with me. When it comes to paper it’s usually in the form of a Leuchtturm1917 book or 3X5 index cards. For an electronic to-do list, I use integrates with Apple reminders as well as Google Gmail.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget or tool can’t you live without and why? My Bluetooth headset and for a couple of reasons. It leaves my hands free, duh. Also, I have a tendency to walk around when I’m talking. Guess how many times I’ve dragged a phone off a desk while tethered to an earpiece?


What do you listen to while you work? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence? I’m a podcast person: Mike O’Mera, Tim Ferriss, The Art Of Manliness & The Grey Nato, to name a few. For music, I listen to Bosa Nova

What are you currently reading? What’s a book you might recommend? Working on reading all of the James Bond books.

Fast forward a few years, and here’s my current setup, when working from home. 

What’s your workspace setup like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk? First, the amazingly comfortable chair has been donated to my wife. The Lenovo has been updated, but now connected to dual 23” monitors positioned on a standup desk atop my Father-In-Laws desk. As a friend says, “sitting is the new smoking”. On my standup desk, I’ve mounted a USB hub to power most everything and then installed a USB-C to handle powering whatever remains. 

One thing that caught me off guard was the lack of a webcam. While I have one integrated into my laptop it shows nothing but my waist since I have a standup desk. With video conferencing now all the rage I went out to buy one that I could mount on one of my monitors. Seems like an easy task right? After an afternoon road trip to five different stores I found I was late to the webcam game. Thanks to Best Buy online I had one in less than 7 days. Pro Tip buy Logitech stock. 

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Might be plain text, perhaps an app like Todoist, or simply pen and paper!  We’ve recently migrated to Microsoft 365, goodbye Lotus Notes. While does import into 365 it’s easier to utilize Microsoft tasks. 

Pen and paper remain the same as I rotate my pens, some of which I’ve had for 30 years. I did add a Holdfast pen caddy to the cover of my notebook. 

One of the handiest things I have on my desk is the Quartet – Writing slant board. This 18” X 6” dry erase board sits right below my monitors and is perfect for jotting notes down during a meeting.

 It’sOkay if You Suck at Working From Home …. Right Now thanks Lifehacker for the inspiration. 

And the reason you suck is because of you, and that’s OK.

We talked a bit about this a few episodes ago, but let’s dive a bit deeper. 

Don’t work from bed, get up eat breakfast get dressed. 

Have a dedicated workspace. This is important! If it’s a room with a door shut the door and let everyone know that if the door is shut you are not to be disturbed. 

If you don’t have a door then throw on a pair of headphones. Let everyone know that if your wearing headphones again, do not disturb. 

Food/ Booze yep the 500lb elephant in the room can quickly become you. For meals while working do some food prep, and I’m not talking about two slices of last nights pizza and a can of beer in a ziplock bag. Make something reasonably healthy. Now you have something that’s easy to grab, heat and eat. 

Booze, pace yourself. For me there’s nothing better than ending my day with an adult beverage. Unless your boss lives with you it becomes real easy to start ending your day at 4:00 PM then 3:00 PM the next day…. you get the picture. 

Units or blocks of work. Get a timer, app or whatever but get something and set it for 45 minutes. Every 45 minutes get up stretch, do body squats or dance but get the blood moving. It’s too easy to spend hours sitting at your desk working. I’m willing to bet you don’t do that at your office don’t do it at home. 

Loss of socialization – In case you’re living under a rock and don’t know but, Zoom is offering their service for free. It’s easy to fire up a free video conference for a virtual happy hour. Our team does this every Monday night. I’ll do a How To Use Zoom themed Stories From Home Episode next week. 

Your work environment. Turn off the news, tune in at 5:00 PM you’ll have all the information you need by 5:10 PM. Login to Spotify or Pandora a search for a jazz or easy listening playlist. In my case Bosa Nova, don’t judge. 

For some reason I’m an olfactory guy, I love the smell of Yankee Candle stores or the humidor at the cigar shop. I have an oil diffuser on my desk and I routinely change the aroma from lemongrass to eucalyptus during the day. It seriously makes a difference. 

Right now you may only be a few weeks into this whole work at home thing, you’ll get the gang of it.

Thanks for listening.

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