March 22, 2020 · 5 min read

Stay at Home and Accomplish Something

This is my obligatory coronavirus update.

I’ve been working from home due to the coronavirus, and yesterday my governer put NJ on lockdown. I think I’m on day 7 of socially distancing from the rest of you all. Although I’ve gone out quickly to pick up some supplies from the grocery stores, and yesterday drove around the city looking at how deserted it felt, I’ve pretty much stayed put. As an introvert, this isn’t a big adjustment for me. I’m not getting antsy to go anywhere and I’m not getting cabin fever. My kids have been handling it pretty well too - as homeschoolers, they’re used to online classes and not accidentally joining me on my conference calls to work (much hilarity has already ensued on several calls involving people’s kids).

With no idea of how long we’re going to be keeping this up, this is a great opportunity for getting some things accomplished that are hard to weave into my everyday routines. Although I have spent an unreasonable time deleting the emails from every single company that has ever gotten my email address updating me on how they are handling the outbreak, they have finally stopped coming. I was really wondering how my cat’s vet from 15 years ago was holding up during this.

Aside from the potential of getting sick, and continuing to read the same ‘tips to working remotely’ article from every company in existence, there are several personal benefits of being on lockdown and I’m ready to put every minute of this time to relatively good use.

Let’s start with some of the benefits:

  1. No commute. I drive a lot. I have 1 hour and 30 min commute for me every day. So that’s 15 hours of my life I get back.
  2. Less eating out. It’s convenient, but you know what…I can make my own falafel or noodles. It’s not that hard.
  3. I get to hang out with my kids more. Maybe some people aren’t a fan of spending time with their families, but my kids aren’t going to be kids forever. I’m up for playing video games with my son, doing crafts with my daughter, playing board games and making movie night every night.
  4. I don’t have to, or want to, trim my beard. It’s been unwieldy long for some time now, on the verge of looking homeless. I stopped shaving for a reason, but at the time didn’t realize that it takes just as much work to keep it looking reasonably presentable as it does to keep it clean shaved. I’m about to embrace looking like a homeless dude.
  5. I don’t have to wear dumbass work clothes. Yeah, I don’t have to wear a tie or anything to work, but I’m real cool with just wearing pajamas all day.
  6. Working from home is setting a precedence for doing it more regularly. For a long time, I worked at home at least one day a week. It made up for my long commute to work, but at some point, the perception of working from home changed and I’ve been in the office every day for probably 5 or so years. Earlier this year, I jokingly told my boss that we needed to adopt a better policy and just go into the office 1 day a week. I hope it wasn’t me that jinxed this whole situation.

My current workspace

So what’s the plan? Good question. I’m sure not going to the beach (what is wrong with you people?).

  1. Write and publish. When I was a young designer entering the field I made it a point to publish articles online pretty regularly. It was so long ago that some of the topics were around XLST (remember that?), why you shouldn’t use Flash (I wrote an article for SmashingMagazine.com) and how it would be so cool if I could get the internet on my phone (yeah that old). I feel like I have a good bit to say and I sure don’t like doing it in front of people, so blogging became my outlet. I’ve attempted to get back into it every few years but it’s a hard habit to create. I’m hoping I can make some strides here. At least I have a pile of half baked drafts sitting around to get me started.
  2. Make some art. I used to sit down in a single evening and crank out some piece of art - sometimes it was pen and paper, other times it was illustration with photography. It was so much fun. I guess my broad range of interests have been distracting me from doing it. Also motivation. My son is really big into creating animation, so I’m hoping some of that will rub off on me while I’m sitting next to him.
  3. Watch some movies. I’m notorious for never having seen movies. I don’t get a lot of references because I usually wait 10 years to watch really popular movies (The Matrix, Avatar) to avoid anything that’s culturally relevant. I thought a good place to start for catching up on movies would be the AFI Top 100 - it looks like I’ve seen maybe 10 or 11 of them previously. I’m going to start with the 1996 list from the bottom and work my way up. I’m going to try and keep up with sharing quick reviews. I can’t wait to see what’s been deemed the best movies from American cinema.
  4. Read even more. This is a constant goal of mine. I read maybe 25 books last year and the backlog of books that I want to read is in the hundreds. I’d like to knock out a dozen of those and I probably could if I just delete Reddit off my phone.
  5. Make more plans. I hope to build habits, connect with my kids, and push myself to accomplish more. Maybe see how I can adjust my life to be more focused on myself after the lockdown ends, you know that whole work/life balance that everyone talks about. Who knows, maybe it’s time to start a business or join a board of a nonprofit or think about teaching.

That’s what I’m doing during all this and if I do well with #1, you’ll be hearing much more from me. I"m curious to know what you all have planned.

Stay home and accomplish something.

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