When I first joined WooThemes 10 months ago I had to learn how to work at home. This was a bit of a challenge because I love the work and I often found myself working too much. I was working all day and had a hard time sleeping. I've learned that good work isn't done by working long hours. It's about mentally & physically preparing yourself for work and getting several really productive hours in.
I started going to my favorite coffee shop in the afternoon just to get out of the house in the winter and then a funny thing happened. I started to restrict my work hours. Not only did I determine a start and end time but I also started doing certain types of work in different locations. Without realizing it I started to break my work day into different chunks. I used the different locations as psychological cues to get different types of work done. And with this I've left behind a lot of stress and uninspired / unproductive hours.
Chunk 1: Morning at Home
Much to the horror of my significant other I've always been a morning person. I just seem to focus more and grasp things better in the morning. I live by myself in my small studio with no distractions and I spend the first chunk of my day doing my most important task – solving tickets. I'm part of the WooCommerce Support team and I typically handle 24 new tickets a day plus and existing tickets. I spend about 4-5 hours super focused on crushing those tickets.
Chunk 2: Relax at Home
After completing my most important task I like to take a shower, grab lunch, and read a little (outside if it's nice). I typically spend at least an hour or two relaxing and not thinking about work.
Chunk 3: Work from Somewhere Exciting
This is my favorite part of the day. I go to a coffee shop, sit in a giant comfy chair, and sip on ridiculously sugary coffee. Since my most important task is done I spend the time being creative solving any other problems I encounter. I love chatting with local developers, designers, project mangers, etc to see what they're going through.
There's something about this location – the atmosphere where I can casually chat with other people that really lends it self to this creative process where I can read, listen, chat, & write about my problems (where do you think I'm writing this blog post?). Being creative can't be done in a vacuum – this type of work is best done by pulling in all sorts of external data, refining, and polishing it up to make something new.
I spend 2-4 hours here and even on days when I want to work a bit more the coffee shop closes at 6 o clock. This forces me to close up my laptop and walk home which is a good incentive to officially end the work day.
More Chunks or Less Chunks
I didn't intentionally create these chunks they just happened. For my work day these chunks work out very well. I encourage you to try this out. Break your work day into multiple chunks and see what happens. Take advantage of your surroundings and use your environment to your advantage.
See the post by Buffer about working smarter rather than harder which inspired this post.
Happy chunking – and let me know how it works out for you! 🙂
Great thoughts on this.
We have a baby on the way and someone gave us the book “On Becoming Baby Wise.” Strangely it offers great advice to those who work remotely or hire remote workers.
The charm of working remotely is the fact that you have complete flexibility with your schedule. Sometimes with to much flexibility there can be complete chaos.
When trying to get your baby on a proper sleeping schedule they tell you that you have to be flexible to the babies needs, but before that you have to establish a routine.
I notice the same thing with me and my partner as we navigate this with our work. We only benefit from the flexibility of our schedules when we’ve first establish a routine.
I love the idea of chunks and do this loosely but think I could benefit by doing it with a little more intentionality.
great post, patrick! 🙂
Thanks Mardi! 🙂