Just completed over 40 days of remote working. Although it could be better, given the circumstances, I am trying to make the best of what I have. I have been working in an office cubicle since the beginning of my career - about 10 years now. This is the first time I went full remote and you know why. I like many things about this way of working and some things haven't been great.

Ever since I heard about remote work being a possibility (don't remember when), I was always fascinated and wished that someday I should be able to do it on my day job. Although I wish circumstances would've been a little different (pandemic and all that), I am enjoying remote work from past 40 days.

Thankfully, I was almost fully prepared from an infrastructure aspect of this. After moving into the new house, over past few months I have been carving out a workstation for myself. Complete with an external monitor and other stuff that are essential for ergonomics. From an infrastructure point of view, there was nothing to worry about. But what I hadn't realized, was the amount of discipline it takes to efficiently work remotely when you are a part of a team.

On a regular working day, I get up, finish the routine, head to office. You know that the time you are in office is supposed to be for work. There is a clear boundary. But when you are remote, it becomes difficult to draw a line where your personal life ends and the work life begins. I believe in being comfortable when you are working and in an office environment, you are bombarded with distractions. Everyone wants a piece of your mind to pick and barrage of quick discussions and working sessions tear away huge chunks of time from your day.

During regular office hours, there are times when I have blocked my own calendar and moved into a meeting room or a quiet corner of office to get work done and to avoid all these seemingly harmless conversations that are real time killers.

I have experienced that while working from home, there is definitely that inertia before you start bugging and disturbing others. In most cases unless there is an urgent matter at hand, we generally avoid conversations because there is the inertia associated with initiating conversations. You have to open up the chat program and most of the time, the other person might be busy. You contemplate whether you can do without having that chat where an email might suffice.

This unhealthy need for immediate responses within an office environment just based on the fact that you are within the field of vision of the other person. This usually always results in heavy distraction and studies say that once you are distracted, you need about 20 mins to get back into the flow state that you were in.

I am glad that my organisation of over a hundred thousand people, were able to go remote seamlessly within a week or two. This gave me my first taste of remote work.

Struggle

Initial few weeks of being remote were a bit of struggle to be honest. Mostly because of the lockdown. Lockdown threw my entire Circadian rhythm out of sync. I struggled to sleep when I had to and to be awake when I needed to be. I had meetings starting early morning and there were days when I woke up just few minutes before the meeting and then had to dive straight into the meeting.

So even though I was home, suddenly it started feeling really hectic. This insomnia was getting worse. I was wide awake at 5 am or 6 am with about two hours of possible sleep before my work day starts. It was getting really bad.

Then I started working out and things got better. I made it a point to turn the night light on all my screens starting at sunset and this made a drastic difference. Also, decided not to stay up late into the night and be in bed by 11:30-12:00. Now it works! I am getting about 7 hours of sleep, which is above my average of five and a half hours. Starting this week, my sleep is fixed and I am happy about it.

This gives me time in the morning to journal, write a bit on the blog and finish some other work planned for the day. Also, I am no longer groggy when I start my work in the morning.

I am very much missing being able to go out and visit people and places, but I am okay being indoors for as long as it takes for this fucking virus to go away. It will go away, just that we don't know when. Couple of weeks before the lockdown started, I had started working from home but every day I used to look into the statistics of virus infections around the world.

Later I realized that it was doing no good and only adding to the anxiety. These days unless someone mentions something about the virus, I do not check at all and it has been peaceful. There are certain things you could do to service a situation like this, but keeping a daily count of new cases and death wasn't one of them.

Gratitude

I am grateful for certain things at this point of time and I am sure that we all appreciate life a little more these days given the circumstances. Whenever I feel down or miss something like heading out for a drive or sitting in a cafe, I remind myself that I am lucky enough to be able to live the life I am living now, without much disruption.

Future definitely is uncertain, but for the present, I am extremely grateful. I have immense respect for people who support in various fields to enable life to continue. I cannot even imagine some of the hardships they might be going through, but I am extremely grateful to every single person who lets me live the life I am living.

It took me a really long time to write this post, I haven't posted anything since February. I sat down to write many times during these few weeks, but never completed anything thinking that I have to write a perfect account of the situation. I wanted it to be something more than few normal thoughts.

But today I decided that being perfect isn't the way to go. Whatever gibberish comes to my mind, I am going to write it down and hit publish. I am no longer seeking perfection. My imperfections are more valuable than my unsuccessful quest for perfection.

So, if you have something to say or share, now is the time to do it. Think less about what others would say about it, think more about how it makes you feel to share it. Think about the relief it gives you to say something through a blog, video or a picture. You might not know, but that one piece of your creation can resonate with someone else who might be going through similar emotions. There you create a connection.

However difficult the current situation may feel, there will be a tomorrow. Don't push yourself to be productive if you aren't feeling like. If you feel like work is the best antidote, by all means give it your everything. But understand that self-care is the most important thing right now. Give yourself permission to do what makes you happy.

If you feel you are in a slump, try doing something. Creating something. Cook something, maybe take a long shower, sing a song or compose an awesome tweet. Once you start feeling better, nothing can stop you.

Once all this is over, let us remember what matters in life. Do more of what you missed these days. Give yourself a break - you deserve it.

From nothing to 1381 words wasn't an easy journey. Although it took me just about an hour to jot things down here, this took more than a month and a half of experience. Sometimes, you just have to wait.

Stay safe.


If you liked this article or disliked it for some reason, drop me an email and we shall have a chat. I love having good conversations. You can find me at: vp@vishnupadmanabhan.com