In this post I will go throught what is like being a developer during covid-19 lockdown at home and some hacks/tips that work for me. All our community and people that are able to work remotely we are lucky compared to other people that unfortunately are not able to work in this difficult times. It’s true that those tips can be helpful for other professions also, so if you are not a developer keep reading.
Prepare your worspace
The first thing that you have to do is to prepare your space to work from home. We are used to work in a office and the space where we work, the table, the chair are things that we have not decided because our employee has chosen for us. We need to find an spot at home where we can work comfortably.
It should be a quiet place with the right temperature and the right light. One of the things that I realize is that the table that I had in the bedroom forced me to have my laptop in front of the window and that was bad for my eyes and I had to move the orientation of the table to be lateral to the window.
Schedule your day
If you are working for a company is true that you are not in control of your schedule, but you can control when you stop. Your time to have lunch has to be always at the same hour and you should follow this religiously, otherwise meetings or job will eat your free time during the day.
You need to also schedule 10 minutes to breath disconnect for a while, to have a coffee, to have breakfast whatever. One thing that can be beneficial is to do some physical exercise at some moment during the day. At the moment of writing this I exercise at 20:30 every day without excuses. Seems that doing it before starting your day is really beneficial - I have to try it - Schedule when you have dinner also, at what time are you going to sleep and if you will use some time before going to bed to read some book. Me I book one hour before going to sleep to read a book. Schedule your day and stick to it.
Dress like you were in the office
Would you dress a pijama if you were in the office? No, right? So don’t do it if you are at home. Have a shower, dress well, shave … those things are positive from a psicological point of view and will make you feel more motivated. One of the things that being all days at home is that you don’t know in which day are you living. Do different thinks in the weekend.
Avoid web browser and phone during your working hours. If you are in a lot of whatsapp groups people talk during all day and this can interrupt you a lot during your working hours. Set your phone in airplane mode during your working hours and avoid distractions. Also If you are living with family tell them you are working and close the door of your room to be able to get focused. As Robin Sharma says
An addiction to distraction is the death of creative production
One thing that I saw that works for me is changing of space at certain moments of the day. I start my day in a room and after coffee time I change the place where I’m working. This makes me feel better because I don’t see myself working all day in the same table. When i finish my work day I shut down my laptop and If I have to work on some personal project or some online course I work for instance in the kitchen. The same way that when you were working in the office you quit and you change the activity this is the same.
Communicating with people
One of the caveats to working from home in this covid-19 time is that social distance separates us from people but we must keep talking to people the same way as before so in this scenario tools like hangout, zoom, Jitsi meet are really helpful. Now if you need to talk privately with someone you can have a talk whenever you want without booking a room in the office to do so.
What about pair programming? Is it possible to do it remotely? yes you can do it. Basically the idea is to call the person that you want to do pair programming with and one of them has to share the screen with the IDE where you are going to code. It’s true that you the less experienced developer cannot see the shortcuts that the more senior is doing but what can be picked up is the way of thinking in front of the code. Between the 2 people that are doing the pair programming the conversation related to the code should flow regarding to technical aspects of the code.
Use a fast computer
We need a fast computer to be able to work. You don’t need to have the latest macbook pro to work remotely as a developer but I would recommend you using a computer with an SSD to install your applications and work from that disk unit. I use this Samsung 500 GB SSD and my 2014 laptop performance improved a lot. If you turn on your computer and you have to wait some time that your desktop loads you are waisting time and this time multiplied by all the days that you work can mean a lot of time at the end of the year. If you need to have a lot of applications opened at the same time I recommend at least 16GB of RAM memory.
Using pomodoro technique to develop
To keep the focus in your work that you are doing i recommend using the pomodoro technique. During 25 minutes you only do the task that you have defined previously without any other distractions, reading your whatsapp messages, your social feed … I use this tool Kanban flow that allows me to apply the pomodoro technique, and time box my tasks.
Book time to exercise and stretch
The job of software developer is associated to be seat in front of the computer. We need to be healthy and to be sitting in a chair all the day is not good. We have to stand up from the chair and move a little bit. Have you ever had the feeling that when you walk that problem that you had and that you felt stuck came to your mind the solution? Also inline with this Is super important to book some time of the day to do some kind of exercise. I personally do 45 minutes of exercise during the evening to keep myself fit.
Avoid eating processed food or any other products with tons of sugar. By default those foods should be out of your diet but now being at home with limited availability to practise some sport and burn calories this tip is even more important to avoid gaining weight and impact your health. Eat fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and things that provide you vitamines, proteins and the necessary things that you need to keep healthy.
In this post we have reviewed some strategies to work from home during this lockdown times. Do you have any other technique that helps you? keep safe and stay at home :)