Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Morning Routine and Highlights

Instead of dealing with sidewalks buried in snow and train delays today, I chose to be a productive worker-bee in the comfort of my own home.

I figured I’d keep my morning routine (maybe with a 15 or 30 min delay since I didn’t have the commute today) so that I can bring on the same focus and work mindset I usually have on a week day. It worked out rather well. This fact left me wondering whether I got sick recently because I had not kept up my routine over the holidays/vacation and was weakened against colds/viruses. Anyway, here’s a list of highlights from a normal day in my work week for your amusement. I didn’t list work stuff because it varies from day to day. Different projects/meetings/water cooler conversations that cannot be scheduled. I don’t keep everything on the clock, but it’s fairly close to the times listed below.

0630 – alarm rings (not a particularly annoying one, but not too melodious either). I open the blinds and turn on my lamp. The combination of natural light and artificial light is powerful.

0700 – the sun is usually up around this time. If I’m conscious I’ll read the weather and news headlines on my phone. Maybe check trains/subways if the weather is bad.

0720 – breakfast. I’ve been in a groove with cheerios with milk and banana slices lately. But I ran out of bananas today, fruit tomorrow will likely be half a grapefruit. on the side, not inside the cereal.

0730 – get dressed for work. sometimes I’m organized enough to lay out my outfit the night before. most times I’m fighting the closet in the morning. and yes, I got dressed for work today, even though I’m home. I just get more stuff done in a suit, what can I say.

0740 – finish putting on make up, a smile, and out the door to catch the train. or in today’s case, get ready for work by making a nice space for materials. laptop, notebook, some print-outs, etc.

0800 – on the train, either reading the free papers (AMNY is my favorite, but it’s not always available near the station entrance, others include the Chinese paper to keep up my Chinese and Metro which is not as good as AM but still decent) or reading on my phone (news, gossip, ebooks and the like). Sometimes I listen to music, most times I enjoy the quiet. After I get off the subway, I enjoy my nice scenic walk to work. (some days this scenic walk doesn’t exist depending on which train I take)

0900 – sipping a small cup of coffee from outdoors street vendor or indoors cafĂ©. Both delicious but it all depends on how long the line is and how much I want to spend. The difference won’t break the bank but I try to vary it from day to day just to balance it out. Today I had to make do with instant coffee. Not great, but better than not having coffee.

1200 – lunch/small break from office. I like our cafeteria which is in the lower level but at times it’s nice to get out of the building.

1500 – coffee/tea/apple/sanity break. sometimes this just involves getting outside and taking a walk around the neighborhood. Other times with bad weather and other factors, this becomes the time when the cubicles become abuzz with activity. Take a break and talk about something fun with coworkers!

2000 – dinner (I actually made a nice meal today but of course wasn’t hungry enough to enjoy all of it. oh well, always good for tomorrow when I have to commute and will likely not be in the mood to cook).  If I meet up with friends after work dinner will probably be much sooner.

2200 – catch up with J. on today’s happenings. obviously we talk before this time, but lately it seems like this is a good time for both of us. maybe it’s related to his tv/study habits and my reading/web surfing habits.

2330 – sleep or at least getting close to wrap up. my parents think this is a ridiculously late time. I think it’s ridiculously early compared to most of my peers. but whatever, it works. When I keep this for the weekend, I’m a lot more productive on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which are quiet around the apt/city. Lovely for visits, walks, and doing contemplative things.

Tips for a successful work from home day:
1. coffee is a must. next time if I can walk to a vendor, I will!
2. dress for work and it’ll be easy to focus. setting up a comfortable place is great too. Try to get away from bed and tv if possible.
3. take breaks, being productive at home can make me lose sense of time.
4. be available online and be responsive. since people can’t tap me on the shoulder, let them know when they can reach out to me to talk about a project or assignment.
5. plan for it. I talked it over with my boss the day before and was able to get some directions in person about a recent task. I also took home some printouts and my notebook. Being able to access everything online is great, but don’t forget other tools! 

After completing my first full work-from-home day, I realized that I actually really do look forward to work every day. The tasks and projects can be challenging and rewarding, but it is really the people that make it worthwhile. Despite the drama that has been going on in my organization, I do enjoy working with the people that are around me and truly appreciate their humor, their wisdom, and their eccentricities. While I was busy being productive today, I realized that the human interaction is what makes me happy about going to work and I really missed that. Getting a little distraction is healthy! If everybody stayed and worked from home, maybe some things will get done faster, but the quality of life will definitely suffer after many days. I look forward to seeing and interacting with my coworkers tomorrow, and catching up on all the inside jokes that I may have missed today.

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