• general

Lessons From Life In Quarantine

March 16, 2020

Quarantine and full time working from home started for me on March 16, 2020. I went into the office like normal and got told before lunch to go ahead and pack up what I needed to be productive at home since we would be working from home full time for the foreseeable future.

I am a full time software developer and am thankful that I am capable of doing my job completely remote and at first it didn't really feel any different.

Schedule? What's that?!

Here is a rundown of my typical schedule:

  • 4:15 AM - Alarm

  • 4:30 AM - Workout

  • 5:30 AM - Shower and get ready for work

  • 6:00 AM - Commute to work

  • 7:00 AM - Start work

  • 11:00 AM - Lunch

  • 4:00 PM - Commute home

  • 5:00 PM - Evening stuff (Family, Dinner, Showers, etc)

  • 9:00 PM - Bed

So I know what you're probably thinking... 4:15 AM?! You've got to be crazy! There is a longer story behind what drives me there but basically it comes down to if I don't get up an exercise in the morning it doesn't happen. So what happened to this schedule when I started working from home?

Here is what the work from home schedule started as:

  • 6:00 AM - Wake up, grab coffee, head to my office

  • 11:30 AM-ish - Lunch

  • 5:30 PM-ish - Evening stuff

  • 8:30 PM - Grab laptop and work some more

  • 12:00 PM - Bed

The stay at home order in my area was considerably relaxed compared to what I have seen in other parts of the world. I have a team member who works in our Pune office in India who is only allowed to leave his apartment to go get groceries and come home. In my area we are able to go to the store, go for walks and exercise outside. The main requirement is that we follow the guidelines for social distancing. I'm also fortunate enough to have workout equipment at my house and we also have a fairly large backyard so there are opportunities for me to exercise and get out of the house a bit.

Did I get out of the house and take advantage of these opportunities? No... Not at first. What happened? This is what I noticed...

Overall my mood deteriorated. My brain did not handle being in the house in front of the computer all day long very well. I quickly realized that not working out helped contribute to the overall funk that I was in along with weight gain. When given opportunities to leave the house I quickly declined because of my mood.

After a few weeks of this I knew something needed to change. I was talking to a friend of mine who told me about a company meeting they had with his CEO. The CEO told everyone "Remember that you're working from home, not sleeping at the office." It was a good reminder to maintain balance. So I made some changes.

Here is the new schedule that I put into place:

  • 5:15 AM - Alarm

  • 5:30 AM - Workout

  • 6:30 AM - Shower and get ready for work

  • 7:00 AM - Start work

  • 11:30 AM-ish - Lunch

  • 4:30 PM - Evening stuff (Family, Dinner, Showers, etc)

  • 10:00 PM-ish - Bed

So then what happened?

Almost instantly I realized a change in my overall mood. Starting my day by working out and actually getting dressed for the day made it feel more normal and like I was actually going to work. The main change between this and what my original schedule was is the fact that I no longer have 2 hours of commuting in a day. This means that I don't have to get up at 4:15 AM in order to fit my workout in and my evenings have been a little more relaxed.

So I have learned a few things through all of this. Here are a few of them.

Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you have to work all of the time. It is ok to start and stop your work day at normal hours. For some reason I had made up in my mind that since I wasn't commuting and I was working from home that I should be working more hours but more hours didn't translate into more work done necessarily.

Put yourself on a normal schedule and stick to your routine. Having a schedule helped bring back some normalcy to my life and made me feel more energized and "ready" to start my day when I got to my desk.

Physical and mental health are important aspects to work/life balance. My overall physical and mental wellbeing play a large role in how productive of an employee I am.

Enjoy time with family and hobbies. We all need downtime and time to recharge or unplug. Make sure you take time each day to spend with your family and/or doing things that help recharge you.

Wrapping up

After months of quarantine and working from home I can honestly say that it has been an interesting learning experience. I have learned about what I need physically and mentally as well as ways to help make me a more productive person. For those of you who are reading this and still struggling with working remote or being home more I hope you find my experience helpful. Stick with a schedule, focus on mental and physical health, don't work yourself to death, and take time to do things that recharge you.

Stay healthy, stay safe!



Hi there. I'm Chris 👋🏻 Husband | Father | Developer Evangelist @ Twilio | Opinions are my own • Build. Learn. Share. Repeat.