Monday, April 1, 2013

working from home: week 1

I know I said I wouldn't talk about my work, but I thought I should bend the rule slightly just this one time. When I wrote that I meant I wouldn't talk about people I work with, what I think of my company (or our client) or the specifics of my actual job, since a lot of that is confidential (well, maybe not confidential, but just not wise to discuss in a public forum). So in this post I won't violate any of those three rules, but I just wanted to bring you up to speed on what it's been like working from home for the last week.

If you know me you know I'm a self-propelled person, especially when it comes to work. One of the things that I always hated about the navy was all the teamwork involved. There were so many times when a task needed to be done I'd just do it myself because I knew I could do it better than the junior guys in my workcenter, or just because I didn't feel like trying to explain it to anyone else. Or I'd rather just work alone (which was actually the positive side of being DCPO for a while there). And the way my job is, it's rare that we do any work in teams. Oh sure there's plenty of times where I ask other guys on my team for help about what to do to handle a particular situation, but it's not like I'm accomplishing Task A while person B is accomplishing Task Y and they're both intermingled in getting Project Z completed (sometimes this happens, but isn't the norm).

My new desk. My personal PC on the right, my work PC on the left.
Ok, I realize I'm getting kind of cryptic here. The point is, I'd rather work alone. And I've been able to do that for the most part even at the office. But then the opportunity arose for the ultimate independent work - doing exactly what I do in the office but from home. The "catch" is that you have to work second or third shift to take advantage of this. That really didn't seem like a problem for me, especially second shift which is only 4pm to midnight Monday through Friday. So when it was offered to me (after nagging my bosses about it for literally months) I accepted. I actually had to go out and get a new desk and rearrange the furniture in my room to accommodate having two computers.

Last week,  March 25 - 29, was the first week of working from home and I thought it went really well. It didn't seem any more or less stressful than working from the office. The only real difference I've noticed is that the network tends to go a bit slower because I'm working via VPN instead of plugged directly into the intranet. But that's about as much as I'm going to say about my actual job.

The point of this blog post was to discuss my lifestyle adjustment to this new work situation. The weekend before I started working from home I tried to force myself to stay up "late" and sleep in "late" to get used to the new time parameters. I use the term "late" loosely because for the last year I've been sleeping the same hours I was for 6 1/2 years on active duty. Going to bed no later than 10pm (and sometimes as early as 8 or 8:30pm) and getting up between 5 and 6am to work out for a couple hours before going to work.

I have to admit that I was getting pretty tired every night as early as 9:30pm and started watching the clock hoping for it to move faster. Not because I hate my job or anything, but just because I'm tired. The first two nights were especially tough. I started drinking black coffee around 10 or 11pm as a way to stay busy for the last leg of the shift. I'm not sure why I bother, though, because I find that caffeine doesn't really make me any more awake or alert, but just speed up my heart rate.

By Friday night I was able to stay up until midnight no problem, but even then I still went to bed almost immediately after my shift ended. I'm not sure if this is going to be the normal routine from now on, but I think I'd be okay with it if that's how it works out. I'm actually finding it difficult to sleep in "late," too. My body will still wake up around 5 or 5:30am and I'll almost always be able to fall back asleep no problem. But then I'll wake up again around 7:30 or 8am and I have to force myself to sleep in a little longer. I suppose 8-9 hours of sleep is fine if I'm going to bed at 12 or 1am, though I find it's a bit of a paradox. I feel like I should sleep until at least 10am so that I'm awake and alert for that night's shift. But then I just feel like a lazy ass who's wasted a lot of precious time sleeping that could've been better spent doing something productive, like working out.

That's another thing - trying to adjust my workout routine. Usually what happens is I wake up and I'm absolutely starving so I immediately make breakfast. But I can't work out on a full stomach so I wait an hour or two before doing my daily P90X workout. Depending on the workout and the weather I'll either go for a jog afterwards or go to the gym and hit the elliptical. Though sometimes the P90X workout is good enough.

After that's done I'm already hungry for lunch, even though it's only been 2-4 hours since I had breakfast. Sometimes I eat lunch at the same time I normally would, other times it's very late in the afternoon and then dinner is right around the corner. So I'm basically eating three meals in a relatively close proximity. I know I should try to space them out more and not eat dinner until 730 or 8pm, but my body is still used to eating at 5:30 or 6 and even though I'd just eaten lunch a couple hours prior, I'm still hungry for dinner at the usual time.

I'm not sure if it's this new sleeping/eating/working schedule or if it's the fact I'm halfway through P90X, but I find that I'm hungry constantly. It's rare that I truly feel full anymore. Quite a few times after eating dinner the first week from working at home I felt like I had just had a snack and I could've eaten twice what I had. I also find I start to get hungry again when it's time to go to bed. Drinking coffee and water helps with the hunger pangs a little, but not completely. I try to use my sleepiness as a weapon against my hunger and hope that I'll just fall asleep, but other times I'm so hungry that no matter how tired I am I can't sleep until I've eaten something.

But anyway, I seem to have rambled on way too long (again), so I'll end this now. I guess it's hard to say what exactly my routine is and will be "from now on" since I'm still getting used to the changes. I'll write another post like this in a month when I've had more time to get used to the new routine. It's quite possible it could be vastly different from what it is now.

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