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What is your #1 tip for working remotely?

Bridget Community Manager Mar 13, 2020

Hello Atlassian Community! 

First of all, we hope your team, your loved ones, and you are all healthy. COVID-19 has certainly made waves all over the world, impacting many of our day-to-day lives in a very serious way. 

But the great thing about this online Community is that we can continue to support one another virtually, as we always have! Now, more than ever is the time to share knowledge and best practices so that we can quickly adapt to ever-changing circumstances. 

So as many Community members start to tackle their daily workloads from home, we're asking you to share your #1 tips for working remotely! 

Leave your tip in the comments below - we will send a special gift to the Community member with the most "likes" to brighten your remote set-up, be it a desk, kitchen table, or (hopefully not) bed. 

Sending you all love + health!

Bridget + the Community Team 

63 comments

Meg Holbrook Community Leader Mar 13, 2020

If you don't have a pet, get one. They make the lonely work time less lonely. 

 

cat.jpg

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Bridget Community Manager Mar 13, 2020

1000000x this

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Meg Holbrook Community Leader Mar 13, 2020

Or plants... for those who may be allergic. My office has ALL the plants. 

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This is so true! Whenever I need to step away I go over to my dog and pet him for a bit!

EDDA5037-0867-4AB9-B535-1B837A4F2B49_1_201_a.jpeg

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Mar 14, 2020

I couldn't agree more.  My one dog will sleep on a bed beside my desk all day she will while 2-3 times to go out to pee over the course of an eight hour period and once around lunch time for food.  This works out as a perfect reminder to finish what I'm currently working on and take a bit of a break or eat some food, which I would be terrible at if I didn't have her around for those reminders.

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The only thing that I'm missing in my remote state is one furry crazy 4-legged pal jumping around.

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BiancaE Atlassian Team Mar 18, 2020

Or consider fostering one during this time!

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My kids embrace remote very easy... They know when i need to meet, interview and so on. 

But my cat..... She will meowing until I open the office door, and let her in, and usually i cant work... she bites me when i try to use the keyboard....... 

(But I love it LOL) 

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Specifically a cat

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Meg Holbrook Community Leader Apr 30, 2020

@Bridget - what cool prize do I win for posting a cat on the internet??

Cassie Mayes Community Manager Mar 13, 2020

I'm not an expert but I have a few tips that have helped me!

I noticed taking short breaks to go outside helps a ton (if possible). Also, I find prioritizing my lunches to be useful. I'm able to focus so much when I'm WFH that I find myself needing to put boundaries around my focus time.

Aside from breaks, I like to chat with my teammates about work/non-work related things just like we would if we were in the office.

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Yes off course I also want to chat with teammates and know about work here so please anyone contact me 

Thanks

Stephanie Grice Community Manager Mar 13, 2020

Hold yourself accountable for working normal hours and not losing all sense of a work/life balance now that your work and “life” are happening in the same space! When I first started working remote I caught myself sitting down to work before I’d eaten breakfast, getting back online after dinner, etc ... try to establish and maintain a morning and evening routine, and avoid the burnout that will inevitably come if you start working 10 or 12 hour days (even if it’s in the comfort of your own home)

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Brian Jones Community Leader Mar 20, 2020

Definitely this! You need a to set a schedule or you will burn yourself out real quick.

Like Liam Green likes this

Absolutely. Wake up, make your bed. Go for a walk/run. Shower. Put on a work outfit. Eat breakfast. Make some coffee and sit down, login at 8:00 a.m. sharp.  Work your day. Logoff and get ready to repeat. It seems simple, but is hard to do day in and day out for many for extended periods of time. Including me, I will admit. Put in a hard 8-9 and disconnect. Disconnecting can be tough, but if you are disciplined, you can do so with a clear conscience and be productive the next day. Work smarter, not harder. 

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I think at least three hours are enough to work from home

Hello,

Great topic with the super relevant to world wide controversy we are all seeing right now, and to reiterate the compassionate sentiment of the topic I hope you are all safe and healthy.

My biggest #1 top of the list tip, is kinda a two parter that goes hand in hand; set up personal space for work and establish a routine for that space.

The personal space must be your work zone, that when in you enter the space game on, and no distractions,  this space is step one of establishing your routine. 

Then find out what process works best for you when you enter your work space, set goals, and reminders with your calendar.  Make sure when its time to take breaks you leaving your space to keep your mind in focus mode when working and not introducing distractions.

Regards,
Earl

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I suggest all friends to stay home and work from home and spend more time to do work for earning.

Totally agree, demarkation of workspace and the rest is necessary or else so easy to get blurred. I found myself working way too long the first week without a break and getting so tired.

Bridget Community Manager Mar 13, 2020

I work from home full-time with my partner who also works remotely. I would bet that many of you have suddenly found yourself working from home in the same situation with a significant other or roommate. It's not always easy, but here are some of my tips for working with a friend or loved one while still maintaining sanity and productivity. 

Create rules of engagement! By engagement, in this case, I mean any type of interaction. At my house, the #1 rule is that if your door is closed, you should not be interrupted. 

Create a commute. Even if you aren't leaving your house for the entire day, it's important that you transition from work to life. I find that after I shut my laptop for the day, I need some time to decompress before I can interact with my partner in a normal way. I'll take a walk, work on a painting, or even read for a little bit. It helps! 

Good luck to everyone who is facing remote work for the first time. Hopefully, it's a fun experiment, and you can glean some advice from these tips :) 

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Really helphul, thanks. I am not feel alone with my thoughts 

Like Abdul_Waheed_Khan likes this

I find this helpful

Like Abdul_Waheed_Khan likes this

yes its really helpful

Well, after years of working remote and semi-remote I can see some positive outcome of this "forced experience"

1. Meetings will actually finish for all the participants at the same time!, Before many meetings used to continue after saying goodbye to remote participants, to the point that some of the participants in the room changed the outcome of the meeting without even notifying remote participants or updating official meeting notes. Big surprise when in the next meeting you show up ready to do a demo of your accomplishment and get the "oops I am sorry we decided to go in a different direction "after our call", and we forgot to tell you"... Aghhhhhh.

2. Tired of attending remotely to the great "Lunch and Learn" at the office to get just the "Learn" part while your coworkers enjoy the meal? Well, it is time to rethink that and instead of canceling them, promote the VL&L the "Virtual Lunch and Learn" and as an organizer sent an e-gift card for lunch... maybe SubWay or any other chain that is in the area.

3. Tired of proposing candidates for positions and receiving the message, sorry we are hiring just local professionals, and you saying "but he/she is the best but is not able to move due to family conditions, She/he will be a great asset to the company... blah blah blah"... Sorry, no remote... Well, the world has suddenly changed and we are all remote now, with great technology that allows us to perform in the same way, but of course with a great level of trust in your team members.

4. Working with a team? well as I mentioned before, the trust will be the key attribute to develop, check for all the Atlassian plays and see which one can be applied to increase that, all the Atlassian collaboration tools are designed for remote collaboration... time to use them in the right way. Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. "relations have to be built on trust"

#workingremotethankstoatlassiantools since 2009

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in current situation of the globe we must work together and share suggestions to fight with pendamic corona Virus as well as business and financial cruises.

Couldn't agree more Fabian especially your point 3.

As someone who's been working remotely for the last couple years, and am sad for the reason but excited that others are now getting to experience remote work!

I know it can be a rough transition if you're new to it. My best tip is set boundaries for working hours - otherwise you'll find yourself working 24/7. Decide you'll stop working at 5 or 6 or whenever, and then shut your laptop and walk away. 

Also, I have some more fun tips... Try several things and see what works for you. Figure out what helps you be most productive, and then lean into it! Wear comfy clothes, take a longer lunch break, listen to music while you work, do a midday workout! Enjoy the flexibility and see how it impacts your productivity.

Update - I'm actually considering putting together a course to help people who are new to remote working since I've been doing it for years and know it can be a rough transition, but I'm trying to gauge interest in it first - more details here if anyone is interested. (Also, if this is too promotional, let me know and i'll remove it.)

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Alice M Atlassian Team Mar 13, 2020

Everyone has already posted great tips that I use and would recommend, so here's a new one ...

Quick and easy video calls!

When you would have normally walked over to someone's desk to say something, jump on a video call instead and chat!  When you work in the office, video calls feel formal and you think about them needing to be scheduled in advance, but now that you (and possibly the rest of your company) are WFH, start thinking of them as "anytime meetings." 

Slack + Zoom have a great integration where you can type /zoom in a channel and a button pops up to join a call.  I use it all the time.  Sometimes all you need to do is chat in Slack, but when you get more than a couple messages into a conversation and things just aren't clicking, maybe just /zoom it and cut through the noise. :)

Quick video calls are great for social time, too!  Just today I had two social zoom calls where I hung out with people on my team to connect after this weird, stressful, full-of-changes week.  They made me feel more connected to my team and helped punctuate my day.

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  1. Get a nice comfortable pair of work slippers
  2. Get a record player
  3. Try out the vinyl pomodoro technique
  4. Put on an LP
  5. Work until the end of the side
  6. Get up and wander around, stretch, make some tea, etc
  7. Turn the record over & repeat from #5
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Monique vdB Community Manager Mar 13, 2020

I love working from home (because I am an introvert and solitude recharges me) and what works best for me is timeboxing my day into half-hour increments. Then I plunk in all my meetings (or time blocked off to work on specific projects). Then I alternate between work tasks, personal tasks, and breaks as needed. Gives me a nice, balanced, and super productive day! 

Luckily I start most days with school dropoff, a workout at the gym, and a cappuccino at Starbucks, so I have a "shift into work mode" experience built in. I sip my cappuccino while I make my list for the day. Aaaah, I do love a list....

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Mar 14, 2020

@Monique vdB I completely agree, while I do enjoy a good conversation here and there I find when I have worked from home I'm more focused and in a more positive attitude.

Like Bridget likes this
DPK J Community Leader Mar 14, 2020

Wherever you work from enjoy doing it and be creative.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Mar 14, 2020

I love this topic!  I'm not an experienced remote worker, I have worked from home the odd day here and there and I'm about to start a three week work from home stint.  All of this advice is going to be extremely helpful for me.  Instead of offering my best tip, I'n instead going to share what I'm looking forward to the most.  I have boundary issue with certain individuals at work who don't respect online statuses, headphones being in or advanced notice that I need some focus time.  they will usually send me multiple messages and then promptly come over to my desk if I don't respond within seconds.  The context switch makes me really unproductive and I'm really looking forward to forced habits being formed of respecting that needed focus time.

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Create workday check-ins with your team via instant messenger. These can work well whether everyone is in the same timezone, some of the team is colocated and others are remote, or you all work at different times of the day.

 

These can take many forms like:

  • a daily scrum (ours went so well today the team is going to trial it as a permanent change even when we are in the same office at the same time. 
  • a post-a-gif challenge i.e. how are you feeling today, what is your to-do list looking like
  • a share a link to an interesting news story or a song on YouTube you recommend,
  • or a simple "Roll call" with a thread of "here"
Like Jimmy Seddon likes this
Scott Theus Community Leader Mar 16, 2020

I worked from home for over a year, and I hated it! I just could not handle the social isolation I felt by not going into the office. My first tip would be to get out of the house and work in a coffee shop for a few hours a week; the change of scenery is helpful. But, at least in Ohio that is no longer an option since all the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are closed. So here is my "working form home during a global pandemic" tip:

Get dressed.

Yes, it is tempting to work in your PJ's. But, if you are used to going to an office every day then you are used to wearing the "uniform" of an office worker. So, in the morning before going to work do everything you would normally do except for commuting to the office.  

You'd be surprised at how the simple act of putting on the same "business casual" clothes you wear in the office changes your mindset and helps put you in "work mode."

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Mandy Ross Community Manager Mar 16, 2020

I've worked remotely since 2005 - my #1 tip is GET OUTSIDE and walk around or do something not at your workstation for at least a cumulative total of an hour each day. WFH makes it easy to get totally steeped in work and forget other things. Stepping away from work and enjoying the outdoors can clear up your mental processes and improve your focus & productivity. I always seem to be better at problem solving after a good, brain clearing walk.  

I live in the country and have dogs (and an adventurous cat who joins us!), so it's easy for me to go outside and take a nice walk with my enthusiastic fur babies. This might be harder for people in urban areas (especially if you don't have a dog), so look for local parks, or set up a few different walking routes around your neighborhood. I find myself looking forward to my walks so much, especially when I experience mental overload. The routine of a daily outing can also help set a more "normal" feeling if you're not used to working from home. 

That being said, it's time for my 10:30 walk! Bye! 

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Scott Theus Community Leader Mar 16, 2020

@Mandy Ross You do realize that you've invoked the mandatory Cat Tax, correct?

Like Monique vdB likes this

I agree @Scott Theus - especially with @Mandy Ross's mention of a cat walking with the dogs.

Mandy Ross Community Manager Mar 16, 2020

@Scott Theus  @Kat Warner _TechTime_ what is the mandatory Cat Tax?? I don't want to get audited!! 

A photo or photos of your cat and dogs :)

Scott Theus Community Leader Mar 17, 2020

@Mandy Ross If you mention your cat or doggo in a post then a photo of them of them should also be posted. I like cats, so, Cat Tax! Here's one of Milo and his murder mitten. 

Milo.jpg

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Mandy Ross Community Manager Mar 17, 2020

For some reason, I can't upload photos! drat, I have some good ones. Off to troubleshoot...

LarryBrock Community Leader Mar 19, 2020

@Mandy Ross - having the same problem .. took several hours, attempts using two different computers and 3 different browsers each, and finally an iPad, to get the photo to upload.  Note:  both computers were Macbooks and I wonder if that had any bearing on the problem.  Incredibly annoying for sure.

Hang in there "You can dooooo eeeeett!"!

Like Mandy Ross likes this

@LarryBrock Victory! Just had to reduce filesize. 

Max being cool on our walk. IMG_1408.jpg

Max following his minions out of the forest. IMG_1410.jpg

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Mar 20, 2020

Had to bring them down from 4K quality ;)

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Put a lunch break in your calendar. Put a workout break in your calendar. Put working hours in your calendar, so people know when's too early or too late to engage with you for work.

Without these things, it's easy to lose track, and suddenly have a day full of meetings and no time for lunch. Guard your time for yourself, for your family and friends, and because if you eat and rest regularly you're going to be far more useful to your team as well :)

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Brian Jones Community Leader Mar 20, 2020

Definitely do this, i have my lunch on my calendar daily. It's mainly because i work with people in other time zones so they like to schedule meeting from 11am-2pm. I learned pretty quick that if i didn't block off some time, i didn't get a lunch.

Sajit Nair Community Leader Mar 16, 2020

wow, all great points.
Thanks @Bridget for creating the topic.

a) What works for me is to set the mood for the day in the beginning by setting a playlist.
Then groove to Frank Sinatra or Elvin bishop, rock out with Metallica or Maiden or just melt with BB King and Mayer. I would randomly get up from my workstation and start imitating the singer (given that nobody is in the room).

b) I have different coloured LED lights in my room, so I keep changing them to break the monotony.

c) Lastly, fresh air, opening a window/door can be a make or break when you are overworked.

Hope you and your families stay safe. Take care.

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My #1 tip? Virtual coffee/beverage breaks!

Keep them to 15 minutes. Host them as often as you can (daily or every other day?). It's a good way to get face time with teammates. Ensure you don't discuss business, or have it largely be social; beverage breaks aren't standups, they're a chance to take a breather before diving back into work.

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Scott Theus Community Leader Mar 18, 2020

This is a great idea!

I'm not a home-office lover, but I adapt quickly to any situation. In this case, I have a few pillars to keep me productive and not nervous about the fact that I'm stuck in one space.

Have a work schedule

Waking up at the same hours and keeping the same schedule as you do in your "normal" workdays is beneficial for saving the work-home distance. I get up early, put on some "work" clothes, and after finishing my hours and tasks switching back to the comfy home pajamas. As @Scott Theus mentioned, it makes a difference. 

Take a break for a meal/coffee or a sip of fresh air and view from the window

The activity tracker is a handy reminder for taking a few steps or a short break. Almost any of us have one, and this is the time to appreciate it.

Have a morning routine

Exercise, meditate, read a few pages with your coffee. Start your day in peace and a fresh mind.

Try not to binge on working

I have colleagues who are now spending their whole time in working mode. Staying until 3 AM won't make you more productive, and you have the real chance to burn out quicker than you think. 

Spent some time over your hobby or your personality

If you can't go out for a walk, use the time to work on something in your home, read a book, draw a picture, etc. :)

 

Taking care of yourself in the first place will raise your productivity level, and will show you the hidden benefits of the remote work.

 

Stay safe and be healthy! 💙

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Scott Theus Community Leader Mar 18, 2020

I'm working from home today, Milo thinks he is helping.

Milo2.jpg

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Monique vdB Community Manager Mar 18, 2020

@Scott Theus I'm pretty sure Milo is helping the most! What a good kitty. 

Antonio Ferruz Community Leader Mar 18, 2020

I have mix feelings with homeoffice .. but sometimes we are forced to do it.
This exceptional situation is one of them ;) 

- Keep a work routine / schedule
- Wake up at same time 
- Take a break when you need it. 
- Be social in your "Virtual" company, make feel everybody that nothing changed
- Love your work space :) 

IMG_20200316_203014.jpg


Stay safe! #YoMeQuedoEnCasa #StayHome #ShowYourWorkSpace

Antonio

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So many great suggestions!

I've been working remote for just over a year, and I truly love it.  I'm not much of a socializer/talker, but it is something I have missed.  I try to check in with co-workers via IM 1-1 or a team group chat several times a day.  Our company has asked us not to do video meetings right now as we ramp up our work from home numbers, but you can also just do a phone call if voices are needed.

My best tips for 'survival'
1. Get up, do your morning routine. 
2. Make your bed.  I'm in love with my bed, and making it up keeps me from being too tempted to take a nap or crawl back in and snuggle with pets.
3. Take a quick walk around the block,  helps get you reset to being at home.
4. Block out Lunch on your calendar as a meeting, and two 15 minute spots. one in the morning, one in the afternoon.  Do Not Accept any meetings that fall in these times. ever.
ok...the 15 minute ones can be adjusted, but don't let them slip away
5.  Leave your 'office' during these times and do something, anything other than work stuff. I do minor house cleaning.  Unload/load the dishwasher. pick up some clutter, reset the couch cushions etc.  Just makes for a neat and less distracting work place.
6. Do not start work until your start time, Do not work past your quit'n time.  Just don't.  It is way too easy to get into doing all the work, all the time.
7. Disconnect from your VPN/Turn off you machine.  Usually this is just to avoid the temptation to keep working.  But right now, it helps free up resources for your work place and is good security practice.
8. Make some days fun.  Tuesday?  Grab a tiara, and make it tiara Tuesday.  Friday? Wear those PJ pants, for a really casual Friday.  Have some fun with.  Share pics with your team if thats fun kind of group you work with.

9* if you have a dog take them on all the walks on your breaks.  They're going to love you being home and if they are active, will be more settled when you need them to be with all the exercise.

2020-03-15 17.42.09.jpg

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1000% agree 💙

Our first steps as a suddenly distributed team :

  • we created a new WoW (team charter) in Confluence
  • we planned remote workshops, nearly everyday : there is no reason to stop team building because of the distance 

:-)

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Claire Cook Atlassian Team Mar 20, 2020

What a great way to build community!

This person on LinkedIn sums up what I think about the sound of children in the background when remote workers are on a call. There are exceptions but most of the time a minor interruption or distraction is preferable to having working parents stressed out trying to work and keep children quietly entertained.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 11.29.00 AM.png

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Lot's of ideas & hints already....

Everybody has to find out, what works best for oneself.

For me (like many others) it's like going to the "real" office, but at home:

  • Get up a the default scheduled time (OK, you might add your commute time...)

  • Keep your daily morning routine (Coffee, bath, dress up, dog,...)

  • Let your coworkers know, that you're available for work

  • Try to use a single tool to get all your messages, tasks & notifications

  • Let them know, what you're working on: Jira, Confluence, Slack (OK, we use Mattermost) & Zoom define our work toolbox right now & probably will even after this...
  • Use virtual daily standups for your team. If you haven't done it before: Do it now!

  • Create a "virtual" coffee bar to chat with your coworkers around non-work topics at a defined time like the 9am break

  • Drop your "virtual" pencil at a time when you would leave your work in the office. Home office is not mend to be 24/7, it's like being in the office.

Remember, that with more freedom, comes more responsibility to get your stuff done. There's no more social control like when you're in the office. Otherwise, most remote workers save hours not driving to the office every morning.

All the best to you all & keep healthy!

Like # people like this
Vinod Ramadoss Community Leader Mar 22, 2020

Hello All, this is the first time am doing wfh more that a day, honestly I not a big fan of wfh due to various reasons,however with situations demanding (covid impact) I had no other option but to adapt to it.

My initial days were very challenging, I used to loose track of time, continue working for hours put together, weekdays felt the same as weekends and so on... I realized this was not the right way and wanted to figure out a way.

I did the below,  these worked for me and may be helpful for others, and so sharing the same-

1) I got ready just like I used to for office, all routines adhered starting from having breakfast till putting on my office wear, and logged into system at the regular time I used to if at office.

2) I placed this huge digital calendar at my desk, this calendar displayed the date, day of the week and also had the clock. It felt sick to me that I could not realize which day I was into (though my laptop had this I never used it), so this digital calendar was like a savior,.

Also, I set alarms for 2 tea breaks  and 1 lunch break and aligned it to the time similar being at office, these alarms helped e to pull out of long work hours (not realizing I was doing it) and made me to move out from my system.

Am also thinking to set alarms, once every 3 hours or so to do some quick stretch exercises to keep me physically alive :)

Will be happy to hear from others and looking forward for the same. 

Like gergana.petkova likes this

haha, I like the part referring to the clothes _ I need my office outfit. It could be some kind of an illusion, but really help me to know who I am and where should be :)

Like Vinod Ramadoss likes this

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