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A publication from Medium on personal development.

Remote Work

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An “always on” existence can be extremely draining

Photo: urbazon/Getty Images

When you work where you live, the effort to separate work life from personal life can feel like a bit of a performance: You’re hiding your PJs under a professional blazer, or throwing a green screen in front of your household mess. That’s why I’m going to take some inspiration from show business, and suggest six tactics you can use to create a bit more separation between work and home.

Make like Mister Rogers

Just as Mister Rogers made a ritual of changing from a jacket to a cardigan at the beginning of each episode, my grandmother had an end-of-day ritual of changing out…

📌 Today’s tip: Pin the friendliest face on Zoom.

It’s been more than a year since many of us started working remotely and big Zoom meetings are still as awkward as ever. When it’s your turn to speak, you scan the grid of faces: Some look bored, others look way too intense. Hey, is that guy in the lower-right corner slurping soup?! Here’s a trick for easing the anxiety, shared by Laquesha Bailey on Medium: Pin the friendliest-looking meeting participant. “That way,” she explains, “it feels like you’re just having a casual conversation with that one person and not a…

A game plan for injecting social interaction into your days

Credit: Getty Images

One of the worst things about office work is also one of the best: You’re constantly interacting with your colleagues. Those interactions can be distracting, time consuming, and frustrating ー especially if you’re deep in thought when someone pops their head into your office, or interrupts your reverie as you’re pouring a cup of coffee in the kitchen. But they also ensure you stay connected to your co-workers, keep you at least vaguely aware of what they’re each working on, and help prevent life from getting lonely or dull.

Work from home, and you experience the reverse boon and bane…

How to get things done when it feels like the zombies are always encroaching

A person playing Minecraft on an XBOX connected to a monitor.
A person playing Minecraft on an XBOX connected to a monitor.
Photo: Chesnot/Contributor/Getty Images

Even though I’m not really one for video games, I can talk about Minecraft with the confidence of a much more seasoned gamer. I know, for example, that you can play in creative mode, which is all about world-building, or in survival mode, where your main goal is to dodge the monsters and, well, survive.

How do I know this? Because every day my seven-year-old turns on Minecraft in survival mode, my younger son joins in, and then the zombies come. “I want to play in CREATIVE mode,” he yells to his older brother, frantically defending himself against the enemy.

Start planning how to close the ‘open loops’ on your to-do list

Photo: Tom Werner/Getty Images

Of all the self-help books I’ve ever read, the one that’s stuck with me the most — and the one that feels the most newly urgent in this strange time we live in — is David Allen’s Getting Things Done. It’s a book that’s useful for thinking about work and creativity and the paradoxical relationship between organization and imagination. It also has a lot to say about the peculiar sense of stasis or paralysis that many of us currently find ourselves gripped by.

The most important concept in Allen’s book is what he calls the “open loop”: something you intend…

Three networking strategies that are more important than ever

Colorful illustration of people harvesting from orchard yards.
Colorful illustration of people harvesting from orchard yards.
Illustration: Jackson Joyce

A few months into this unexpected workplace experiment, it turns out: We’re kind of into it.

One June survey of people forced to work from home by Covid-19 found that 82% wanted to continue doing so at least two days per week, and 35% wanted to continue full time.

The problem is: We like being around each other, too. And, professionally, we need it. Many of our best new opportunities come from encounters with other people. When you sit somewhere new in the office cafeteria you could learn about an opening in another department. …

How to manage your time when ‘time’ has lost all meaning

Illustration: Justin Cassano

Back when “going home” was a thing we did after work, most teams had some sort of group norm for when was acceptable to shut down for the day. Maybe around 5 p.m., people started leaving, and the majority departed by 6 p.m., with a bump around the time the boss went out the door.

With millions of people working from home for the first time in the wake of Covid-19, though, those norms are now less clear. If people aren’t commuting, the workday theoretically never has to end, though, of course, it should. …

Who We’ll Be After This

I’ve been forced to face my most persistent fear: my finances

Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images

If you wanted to sum up my complicated 37-year relationship with money in just one word, that word would be “triggered.” I’d break out into a peculiar kind of cold sweat whenever I logged into the Wells Fargo app on my phone.

I didn’t grow up with a lot. In my twenties, my bank balances were often negative, so I didn’t even bother checking them. My diet consisted mostly of pasta and frozen peas, and it was a coin flip as to whether or not my lights would turn on. …

And other solutions for those who dread the unstructured abyss of the weekend

Photo: Gary Yeowell/Getty Images

For most of my employed life, I’ve embraced a sentiment shared by just about all workers in our post-industrial society: Weekends rule. Every week, from Wednesday on, I’d daydream about filling Saturday and Sunday with adventures and time with family and friends. I loved putting plans on my calendar: a new hike, a day at a music festival, a birthday party at a bar.

During these two cherished days, Work Stephen would completely switch off. Barring any emergencies, all straggling projects, reports, and emails could wait until Monday.

Then the pandemic came along.

When the world was put on lockdown…

Don’t try to replicate your workplace environment at home

Illustration: Justin Cassano

One of the many astonishing things about 2020 has been the pace of workplace change. The percentage of people who work from home jumped from 31% to 62% in one month. As a result, office workers realized that much of our work can be decoupled from location.

In a crisis, people cling to what they can. Many organizations tried to replicate the office environment. Any given meeting was just converted to an equivalent Zoom call. People have told me their managers were checking in on Slack or video chats around 9 a.m. — presumably to hold people accountable for keeping…


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