Tons of great tips and tricks for working from home. Brian, Julian, and Rueven share their experience and tips for making working from home productive and healthy.

Transcript for episode 127 of the Test & Code Podcast

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00:00:02 Many people have been working from home now that are not used to working from home, or at least are working from home more than they ever did before. That’s definitely true for me. Even though I’ve been working from home since about mid of March, I wanted some tips from people who have been doing it longer than me. Julian Sequira of Pi Bytes Fame has been working from home for about a year. And Reuben Learner, an amazing Python trainer, has been working from home for a very long time. We originally had a big list of working from home topics, but we had so much fun with the tips and Tricks Park. That’s pretty much the whole episode. But there’s lots of great tips and tricks, so I’m glad we focused on that. Thank you, Datadog, for sponsoring this episode. Please listen to their spot during the show. And thank you, Talk Python Training for Sponsoring Do You Want to get better at Python? Now is an excellent time to take an online course, whether you’re just learning Python or you need to go deep into things like APIs or async our friends at Talk Python Training have a top notch course for you. Visit Talkpython. Fm test to find your next level that’s talkpython. Fmtest.

00:01:27 Welcome to Test and Code.

00:01:36 I’ve got Julian Seguerra and Ruven Learner. Julian’s in Australia, Ruven’s in Israel. We want to talk about how working from home is affecting people. Before we jump into it, I want to let everybody introduce themselves. So, Julian, other than me having trouble pronouncing your last name, can you tell me who you are?

00:01:56 Yeah. Thanks, Brian. Good to be here again. It’s been a while. Yeah. So I’m Julian Sequira. I’m the co founder of Pie Bites, and I run essentially a blog and a community and a platform with one of my best mates, Bob Belderbos. And we teach people how to code Python through using exercises, through coaching now and all sorts of things. So that’s pretty much what I do. And currently, by day, I work for AWS. And you’re looking after some employee experience, staff, communications, some technology. It’s a whole random mishmash of things, but all things that interest me. So that’s me.

00:02:35 Okay. And Ruben.

00:02:37 So I am a Python trainer. So prepandemic. I spend most days, like, every day in a different city, country company, teaching a variety of different Python courses, also a whole bunch of online Python courses that I give as well, video and email based to people around the world.

00:02:56 And so Julian and Ruben and I know each other through the Python community, but we also know each other through Python. And we met in person in Ohio. And I’m sure both of you planning on being in Pittsburgh this year.

00:03:10 Absolutely.

00:03:11 Yeah. So we would have been able to meet this year in Pittsburgh, but that was turned into a virtual experience.

00:03:17 So, Ruben, you’ve been working from home for a long time now, right?

00:03:21 Yeah. So I’ve been self employed since 1995, which is shockingly long.

00:03:27 And basically from the time I was single. So when I rented an apartment, I knew I was going to be working from home. That’s when I moved to Israel. And I was doing work with companies in the US. And so I did that. And when my wife and I got married and we bought a house, one of the considerations we had was we need to make sure that the house would have a room I could use in an office, and that office would have a door from the outside. So a major influence on the house that we bought was actually that it would have a separate entrance to an office type room, which, since I now work on my own, is our master bedroom, and we have the door all blocked off. And there was one year when I actually rented an office outside the house, and I had some employees. But basically, I’ve been working from home for years and years, with the minor, exceptionally less minor exception, I guess over the last ten years, as I’ve done more and more corporate training. So I would be doing, let’s say, two weeks of work from home, and then two weeks of onsite training and work from home would be sort of like what we’re doing now with the online corporate training. So I’ve been doing this for a while online now, of course, everyone is doing it. No company, strangely enough, wants me to fly out there and contaminate all their employees.

00:04:37 Yeah, but you’re still doing some of those trainings virtually then?

00:04:40 Oh, they’re now. Yeah. So for the last six months, I’ve been doing everything on Webex and Zoom. So now it’s 100% as opposed to, say, 30% to 50%.

00:04:50 Okay.

00:04:50 But I have a home office. And even when we moved our master bedroom and the office around this room that I’m sitting in now has been my office for the better part of 20 years.

00:05:00 Wow.

00:05:00 And Julian is working from home, something you’ve been doing for a while, too, or is this new?

00:05:05 It’s pretty new for me. So my entire career to date was physically in data centers, so I can’t really take that stuff home. I’d be arrested on the way out.

00:05:15 So what happened was last year when I took on a new role involved me being remote from the rest of my team. They’re all in the US. And so I made that call with my manager saying I want to work from home. There’s no point tracking it into the city during the commute. It’s just a waste of time. I could be coding at home. And, yeah, that’s how it kicked off. And so I’ve been doing that for about a year. So the quarantine hasn’t really been much of a shock. Probably the biggest thing for me was I still went into the office one day a week by choice, and that was to meet with team members from extended teams. So losing that when Quarantine kicked in. That’s been the biggest shock to me because I’m pretty social.

00:05:57 Okay. But you’ve been working from home like four days a week then for like a year?

00:06:02 Yeah, pretty much. And Quarantine is just full time.

00:06:05 All right. And then I’m chimed in as well. I work for Rodent Schwartz and working with test equipment, and those are, oddly enough, not that bad to work with remotely because we can work remotely with them anyway. They’re kind of designed to be able to do that. The hard part is being able to move cables and adjust different devices under test and stuff, but with the appropriate switch matrix and different things like that, we can do it. I was able to do some email and whatnot from home before March, but for the most part worked from work and had a half an hour commute. And now mid March, I forget the date. I think it was similar with a lot of companies.

00:06:46 Everybody worked remotely, so we’ve pushed most of the team, all of my team, but most of the company is working remotely. We’ve just started up allowing some people back in, but we’re trying to keep it minimal if possible. So, yeah, it’s a big change for me. I thought that I’d have more difficulty than I have, but the difficulties I’ve had are not the ones I expected. So that’s been interesting. So we have a handful of questions I’d like to discuss with all of us. And I thought we’d because you guys are old hats at this. I’m curious about what our answers are, and I can’t remember who came up with the idea, but one of the ideas for us to talk about working from home was five things that make working from home survivable.

00:07:27 So let’s just do I don’t know if we’ll have five each, but if you guys have five, that’s awesome. But let’s just round table it until we run out of ideas. So let’s start with Ruben.

00:07:38 Okay, so the first thing is to set boundaries. And this was actually one of the things that people told me when I told them, oh, I’m going to be starting my own business. I’m going to move they said, okay, make sure that you have a clear work area, that you have an office, even if you’re just living on your own. Make sure that you have times that you’re working, because otherwise it’s very easy for everything to just sort of slosh around and work will consume your entire day. Now, my family would laugh at the notion that I’ve actually set any sorts of boundaries that feel like, oh, come on, you’re always at work. That’s ridiculous. But I do try and some periods of time and better than others, but being able to say now is work time. It puts you in a different head space. It also lets your family know. Other people know now is work time. And when you can close that door and say okay, I’m done or I’m done, except for except for those other 3 hours of things. No, except for like you can really close the door and say now I’m back with family and now I’m going to be social and normal and I’m not going to answer all that stuff from work until tomorrow. I think that’s very healthy.

00:08:39 Nice. I guess I kind of want to comment on that. I think that for me, trying to setting times that I’m working was the hardest thing to do or one of the hard things to do and also just keeping track of it because it’s easier to keep track of it if you’re actually physically going from one place to another and having to let people know, hey, I’m going to be home in about such and such time. But one of the things the long days for me, one of the things I like is the ability to say some days work ten to 12 hours and that normally is terrible and I try not to do that. But while I’m at home, I can take short breaks and go and have tea with my wife or have dinner and then come back to work. And the commute time isn’t part of it. So a twelve hour day isn’t really a 14 hours day, it’s just a twelve hour day. So that’s nice.

00:09:30 But I’m curious, both of you guys work for companies. So have you found your companies taking advantage of this work from home thing? Like they’ll expect you to do things at 08:00 P.m. Or 04:00 a.m..

00:09:38 I haven’t.

00:09:40 We had a theory that people wouldn’t be as productive, but we really haven’t found that everybody’s on average about as productive as they were before or more so because there’s less distractions once you set boundaries in times, there’s less distractions at home than there are at work. Really? I think.

00:09:58 Yeah, same here.

00:10:00 It was actually quite the opposite. We got all this messaging saying make sure you take breaks, make sure you set the boundaries. But so much material on how to work from home effectively and not let it overtake your life. And it was really nice to see that company was telling us this stuff.

00:10:17 Make sure your mental health comes first, look after yourself, take breaks during the day, take an hour at lunch to actually switch off from work, all that sort of stuff. So it really came in handy. I actually really appreciated it.

00:10:29 Yeah.

00:10:32 Thank you Daddy Dog, for sponsoring this episode. Are you having trouble visualizing bottlenecks and latency in your apps and not sure where the issue is coming from or how to solve it? With Datadog’s EndToEnd monitoring platform. You can use their customizable builtin dashboard to collect metrics and visualize app performance in real time. Datadog automatically correlates logs and traces at the level of individual requests, allowing you to quickly troubleshoot your Python applications. Plus, their service map automatically plots the flow of requests across your app architecture so you can understand, dependencies and proactively. Monitor the performance of your apps. Start tracking the performance of your apps, sign up for free and install the agent and Datadog will send you a free T shirt to get started. Visit Test And Code. Comdatog okay, Julian, do you have a tip for us?

00:11:25 Yeah, actually, it’s a nice flow on from Reuben’s one. So with regards to finding that study space, I’m so aware of the fact that I’m very fortunate. I’ve got a house with a dedicated study that I can close the door and everything. And this is my workspace. But I have teammates who don’t have that extended teammates and such, and they work out of apartments, so it might be their bedroom.

00:11:49 And this is the tip. The worst place is the kitchen.

00:11:53 I’ve seen people make their kitchen, dining table, their workspace for the day. And it’s one of my tips is do not make your kitchen your workspace. And that’s purely, obviously, because it’s high traffic. There’s a lot of distractions if you’ve got a family and everything. But the tip is don’t wander to the pantry.

00:12:13 This is my favorite tip, and it’s because I found myself after getting off a call. I was just thinking about what I had to do next and what I was going to write in the next email or the document, whatever I was doing. And next thing I woke up and I’m standing in front of the pantry pulling out a bag of chips. And I’m like, what? How did I get down here? And there’s a habit of wandering to the pantry to stretch my legs, and I had to consciously break it. So that’s one thing. But the way to break that, obviously, is don’t work out of the kitchen.

00:12:43 Yeah, I’ve heard people, like, actually working out of their closets, or at least doing conference calls in their closets because they’re quiet or something. But I can’t imagine, like, working 8 hours a day in a closet. Even I have a fairly big closet that still would be stifling.

00:13:01 That sounds painful, by the way.

00:13:03 So I’ve been doing, as I said, all online training. And I found that many people are now reluctant to turn the cameras on in Zoom or in Webex because they’re like, oh, I don’t want people to see my kitchen, my living room, my kids wandering around and all that stuff, which has definitely made the training less effective because they don’t want us to see their homework space. And come on, folks, everyone’s working from home now. We don’t care if your house is really, like, messy or clean. And if your eight year old walks by, we get it, we get it. And I definitely found that, of course, has become less effective as a result of people being in places that are not dedicated workspaces and then worrying about that, we’ll think less of them somehow.

00:13:44 Yeah, that’s a good point.

00:13:45 I guess for me personally, my first tip would be switched to water occasionally. So I’ve got a really good coffee at home. So when I first started, I was drinking a phenomenal amount of coffee. And a tip that my wife told me when we were a lot younger was when drinking, make sure you eat food. And if you can’t find food, eat popcorn. That counts. And alternate between a glass of water between every drink. I’m trying to do that with coffee as well, to limit my coffee intake. So alternating between water and coffee. So my survival tip for health.

00:14:23 That’S a good one. I appreciate that one, Reuben.

00:14:27 Let’s go to number two. I don’t know if we get through all five, but let’s keep going.

00:14:30 This is a three hour podcast. Yeah.

00:14:34 20 minutes.

00:14:36 No, not just kidding.

00:14:38 Good answer. Fast communicate with your family so they’re around, especially nowadays. I have three kids. Two of them are at home and sort of negotiating who is doing what and when it needs, what resources, when and knowing what your work time is. So my kids, because they don’t know anything other than me working from home.

00:15:00 I said then, do you know that most adults go to work with the same people every day in the same place? My kids were like, no way, that’s crazy.

00:15:11 So they know that when my office doors closed, they should really knock. Or like, I tell them when I’m going to be teaching or if I’m going to be recording a course or something. And so they’ve grown up with that. They understand that at the same time, I sort of have to know, oh, today the cleaning lady is coming, or today they’re going to be doing something loud and having people over. And so just like communicating, communicating all the time so people know what’s going on, when it means that the work becomes part of your family life. Also that it’s not a totally distinct thing.

00:15:39 Yeah, I think that’s great, Julian.

00:15:40 Yeah. So that one ruin, I think is amazing. Setting that expectation with the family, almost showing them your calendar. Right. That’s what I do with my wife.

00:15:51 I’ve tried so hard, she doesn’t want to look at it.

00:15:54 Oh, it’s frustrating because we have our Alexa devices, and so it’ll show my calendar on the device down in the kitchen.

00:16:02 And she’ll just see for this one, it was test and code podcast tomorrow, 11:00 A.m.. She’s like, okay, I’ll make sure I’m not at home all that sort of stuff. So it worked out really well. But when her phone keeps buzzing every five minutes, a digital calendar.

00:16:15 That’s a good idea, actually. So I’ve just been word of mouthing it and saying, okay, so I’ve got a meeting at nine and one at six.

00:16:25 It works. Yeah. I don’t mind it. But I think on that note, the visual cues is a tip for me because I’ve got two small kids. I’ve got a seven year old and a five year old. And so especially the five year old he struggles with if Daddy’s in the room with the door closed, that’s suddenly when he decides he wants to play. And no other time of the day. But so what I’ve started doing is I’ve got colored pieces of paper that I put on the door. And if it’s the red piece of paper, that’s what’s up right now. Even though no one’s home, I’m home alone. But if the red piece of paper is up, it means under no circumstances can you enter this room unless it’s life or death.

00:17:04 If it’s green, then that means, look, I’m on a call or something, but you can come in. It’s not going to be the end of the world. And that’s worked. And then all other times of the day, I had the door open. So I have those three phases, and therefore I’m approachable when the kids are at home. And then the very few times that it’s the red piece of paper, they’re like, oh, yeah, we’ll stay away from Daddy, although as time has passed, it’s not so concrete anymore. And I’ve had him walk in anyway. But that’s how it goes. But it’s actually done a pretty good job so far.

00:17:37 We were trying to come up with some sort of solution, actually. It sounds like all three of us have the luxury of having a closable office, which is nice. So I have a door to the room, one of our spare rooms. I’m using one of our spare rooms. I sound like I’ve got a mansion now.

00:17:53 It’s the only spare room we have now that the Butler is not living with you.

00:17:58 Yeah, yeah, we’ll send them away when COVID started, but I was trying to come up with, like, a sticky note or maybe, like, maybe I was thinking of, like, doing a raspberry Pi thing with, like, don’t bother sort of thing. And then my wife, always the pragmatic person in my life, says, here’s an idea. How about if the door is mostly closed, you don’t want to be bothered, but you can be. And if it’s latched, you really don’t want to be bothered because you’re on a call or something.

00:18:29 I guess that would work. It’s very simple, though, but yeah, so that’s what we’re doing now.

00:18:35 I was very impressed with the colored piece of paper, Julian. So about two years ago, I was at a hotel somewhere, and I took there, like, do not disturb sign. I was like, this will work great. And I put it on the door, my office door. And numerous times my family would open the door, and the doodles door was I would fly across the room and they’d be like, oh, there was a sign. Oh, yeah. Or if I lock the door.

00:18:59 And that’s because I’m recording. I want to be really quiet. They’ll just keep trying the handle. Oh, it’s locked. We got sorry for bothering you.

00:19:09 Definitely. I’m recording for the next 2 hours.

00:19:11 Don’t bother me.

00:19:12 Seems to work much more effectively, but I like the colored paper a lot.

00:19:16 Those are great ideas.

00:19:17 Yeah, it works. Well, I mean, I know it’s funny you say that because Bob and I have been recording stuff sometimes and he’s got as we discussed before we start recording, my microphone is very single directional. You have to talk into it. Bob has something that’s multidirectional. It comes from everywhere and will be recording. And he lives in a small apartment, and his kids will just barrel down the hall and be yelling and screaming and we’ll stop, we’ll go, yeah, let’s edit that out.

00:19:45 Sometimes even the colors don’t matter. It’s just the noise in the house.

00:19:49 So we should start a Kickstarter to try to get Bob a new Mike.

00:19:56 I think he’s got three now. I think I managed to get him to get this one. So it’s going to get my music.

00:20:00 My neighbor, who loves to play piano, and he’s on the opposite side of the wall of my office. So I have to coordinate recording times when he won’t possibly play piano.

00:20:11 But like, yeah, it could be intro music for you.

00:20:15 So he’s not playing at three in the morning now, please.

00:20:18 It’s only 430 now, but he plays a lot. Way more than you would think someone with a theoretically full time job does. And one time I asked him not to. He’s like, oh, you know, I don’t really play that much. You’re right. It’s only like 18 hours a day. That’s 24. So sorry.

00:20:33 He really needs to plan some new pieces, but we’ve managed to work around it.

00:20:38 Any other tips? I lost count. I think we’re on two. So, Ruben, do you have any others to share? Yeah.

00:20:43 So you want to invest in your workspace. This is now an office. And so you want to have a good share, a good desk, a good internet connection, good keyboard, and so on and so forth. And if you’re doing a lot of video conferencing, microphone and headphones as well, and obviously if you’re working for a company and they can buy that for you, all the better. But even if they’re not, I mean, quite frankly, for years I had a terrible chair. And my brother in law, who is a physical therapist, would constantly berate me for my terrible chair. He’s like, oh, it’s going to be back for your back. It’s going to be back for your back. So we got myself a better chairs. Like, oh, this is nice. Yeah, it definitely feels better. So don’t skimp on those things because they can affect your quality of work and quality of life and health.

00:21:26 I like it.

00:21:26 Yeah, that’s good. I’m pretty sure we had the same items written down. Ruben.

00:21:33 Your It security needs some work, right?

00:21:37 Yeah, I just posted on GitHub, that’s all actually going for that. I got two more, but the one that I want to add to that. And because I see on so many conference calls, people who just use a laptop, and I can’t imagine working my day job every single day working just on that tiny laptop that we get. Given it’s ridiculous. Most of them don’t have number pads.

00:22:02 How many people don’t actually attach a mouse to it? So you’re using a touchpad and typing like that’s torture.

00:22:10 A lot of people, if they haven’t worked from home before, wouldn’t have that set up that you’re talking about. Reuben for me, when I started working from home last year full time, I went out and invested in 232 inch screens and I made sure when I got the laptop I got a dock with it. So if you’re working from home, if you have the space to get a desk, get two screens at least.

00:22:35 Maybe one screen at least I suppose, because you can use a laptop screen. I’m just a nerd. But dock your laptop and get a proper keyboard and mouse because it will just change your life. I mean, then you can take your laptop from there and move it around to other parts of the house to get a different change of scenery if you have to. I guess that’s another tip in itself. But I find rotating between my desk for solid writing and all the stuff that I need a proper keyboard for and then email on the laptop downstairs. That helps me shake up the day and it definitely makes it more survivable.

00:23:09 Yeah, I like that too.

00:23:11 I guess the first couple of weeks I was using just a laptop and that’s how I normally worked from home before March. But when we all had to, we were told to get equipment that we needed and so I got an external monitor. The one thing I didn’t get right away was an extra camera. So I was still using the laptop whenever I needed a camera and that was on a daily basis. I’m glad. Even though it’s really hard to get a webcam right now. Or it was when I was trying. I think I had like a two or three week wait to get mine because everybody’s trying to get webcams right now. But I think it’s a reasonable extra thing even if you have to wait for it. But I need to follow your advice of the email thing because I love working on the big screen. But actually there’s some work like email or I could totally do on a small screen fairly well. So I should probably spend some of the time, some of the day in a different location to try to just shake things up a bit.

00:24:09 It’s summer over there, right? Just going to sit outside.

00:24:11 It’s like 98 degrees today.

00:24:13 Is that hot? Yeah, that’s hot.

00:24:16 Oh, sorry. I have no idea what that is.

00:24:18 Probably 30 something.

00:24:20 The 30s for civilized people.

00:24:25 Oh, man.

00:24:26 I didn’t want to say it. Ruben.

00:24:31 Is the US the only place that uses Fahrenheit?

00:24:34 There is some small country, I forget exactly where. I think somewhere in Africa, where they’re also still on the English system. But yeah, it’s basically the US.

00:24:44 Not even England is on the English system.

00:24:46 They’re like this weird mix of things.

00:24:48 Yeah. I don’t know what they do.

00:24:50 Well. So let’s see if a Ruben can still steal your last one. Also, Julian.

00:24:54 All right, challenge.

00:24:55 So this might not apply as much to people who work full time or like for a company, but if you’re working from home, then what you put into your office and even part of your rent, electricity, gas and so forth can be taken off your taxes and expenses and so forth, especially if you have a particularly designated office space.

00:25:15 Because I’ve been self employed, I have my own company for a long time, but my accountant knows that I have a home office. My wife also has a home office. We built her a studio outside for her work. And so that proportion, I think it’s like 30% of our house is considered a workspace. So property taxes are paid for by the company or were reimbursed, as I said, electricity, gas, water, even things like Internet service. So we recently in February, when it was clear the pandemic was going to happen, we boosted our Internet service to have a much more bandwidth, knowing that we’re going to be doing much more stuff online. And anything you can sort of associate with your work at home. And the more clearly you can delineate that line between work and personal, the more likely it is you can expense that or get reimbursed.

00:25:58 That’s a fantastic tip.

00:25:59 I think you need to, I guess, check with your accountant first. My personal understanding, at least US tax law is that that doesn’t apply if you’re working for another company. But if you’re self employed, you can.

00:26:13 I may be wrong, but I don’t think that if I was just working for a company, I could deduct my office, but I’m not sure about that.

00:26:21 Over here you can. I’ve seen people in this in Australia, they ask, what percentage of your time do you spend working from home versus the office? And therefore we’ll take 10% of your, say, Internet bill and expense that on tax or claim it on tax, that sort of stuff.

00:26:36 Interesting. That’s cool. Yeah. I mean, another benefit of work going to Australia, other than the entire country trying to kill you or nature trying to kill you and the people.

00:26:46 No, I’m kidding.

00:26:47 No, just nature.

00:26:49 Just nature. You walk outside, Spider drops down. Yeah. I walked out of my front door one day and there was a red back. Spider hanging in front of me. I just walked back inside and called in sick. No, I’m kidding.

00:27:02 Anyway, so I’ll go for this next tip. Actually, it has nothing to do with that. Ruben so perfect. I’ve got some security still going. So my biggest thing for me that’s really helped me is getting into a routine. So yes, having the time at the start and end of the day. And I even set an alarm for the end of the day because it’s very easy to work past 05:00. Well, the kids are sort of like an alarm, but for me it’s very easy now that I don’t have any commute, now that I get calls at 08:00 in the morning, sometimes with work. So I could potentially sleep until 755 and be on time for work. But then the next day I might not have a call till nine, so I could sleep until 830 or 840. So the problem there is that it’s not a routine and every day it just feels weird and you just get overtired. Some days it feels off to me. So for me, I like to have that routine get up at the same time every day, even if I’m up an hour and a half before work technically starts, make a coffee, read a book, get the kids ready, drop them at school if I have to, if it’s one of those days, but have that same sort of routine in place as if I was going to the office. And that helps me stay in the zone for work. It helps me differentiate work from personal life. And it also helps reduce some distractions because then I know before work I’m getting the stuff I wanted to do done, like my morning reading or checking my pie bites email or responding to Bob and things like that. I can get that done before. It’s technically work time and I don’t feel any guilt around. If I had a meeting at, say, 08:00 and then check Pi Byte stuff at 930, there’s always a little bit of guilt there. That’s technically the workday. And on that note, making sure you get that routine communicated to your team as well, especially if you have a remote team. So my team is all overseas. I don’t have any teammates in Australia or my time zone. So letting them know what my day is sort of going to look like on average means they don’t expect me to be responding to their chat messages at 08:00 in the morning, set that boundary and so on. So it flows on from there. But starting with a routine is key.

00:29:10 I reckon that’s nice. I got to mostly just disagree with you, but do it, I think do what works for you. So when I first started, I tried that. I tried the thing of like, okay, I’m just going to try to do a regular work schedule and that worked for a while and I might go back to that sometimes. But for right now, I realized that because I’m home and working home are together, I was finding that the monotony that every day seemed like the same day was an issue. So again, my lovely wife came up with the idea of why not just change it up, why not do like nine or ten hour days some days and then do shorter days on others. So I’ve got some days where I’m really working hard and I can stay in the zone and I don’t get burned out because I know it’s not going to be like this tomorrow. And then the next day I can sleep in a couple of hours or eat Bon bonds in the tub, something like that.

00:30:11 What a bomb as one does?

00:30:13 I don’t know. But it’s one of those things that supposedly people with free time eat.

00:30:19 I think they’re just like chocolate.

00:30:21 Okay.

00:30:23 Bonbons over here are very different. So they’re like those party cracker things you have at Christmas time.

00:30:28 Oh, okay.

00:30:29 Yeah, we call those bonbons. Now, you know what? That’s a really good point. I mean, it’s got to be what works for you. And this is just what works for me because if I don’t and this is largely because I have pie bites as the outside of work business. If I didn’t have that, I can imagine it would be highly flexible. And it has to be in some ways because I’ve got two kids and school drop offs, pick ups, dinner, bath, all that sort of stuff. So it is quite flexible. It’s just finding that routine in the morning for me is my jam.

00:30:59 We’ll put a link in the show notes for what a bond bond is for people that don’t know. Thanks, Ribbon.

00:31:04 It’s going to be the number one note.

00:31:07 It will be our only link. We should probably put links to like microphones and all sorts of stuff so we could try to make money off of Amazon. No, I probably won’t.

00:31:17 Julian already does.

00:31:19 The tip that I had was really completely unrelated was don’t rely on your WiFi. Even if you have to have a cable running through your house to your workspace. It’s better to have I prefer having a land like a physical land cable versus trying to get a decent WiFi to wherever you’re at. And mostly it’s everybody else’s home too. So you’re fighting everybody’s streaming habits and whatever with the WiFi.

00:31:44 Yeah. Especially for the video calls, right?

00:31:46 Yeah.

00:31:46 Roofing.

00:31:47 Do you have any more?

00:31:48 Let me see.

00:31:50 I mean, I just had a sort of a general be flexible. I think that’s sort of like cuts across all the things we were talking about in terms of whether it’s time, whether it’s with family, whether it’s even with deadlines. I mean, as my Editors know, I’m always flexible with deadlines. But basically you’re now negotiating this space at home and your family will need you at various times. And again, everyone is going to understand there’s much less of a boundary between work and home in general. So, like, people bring their kids to work when they’re sick so they can take the whole office.

00:32:24 But it’s not unusual to see 8910 year olds in the cafeteria at lunch because, well, they have to go somewhere. Right. So they’ll just come into work with their parents. And so now that’s sort of been reversed. And the whole world is doing this where people are at home. And if you have to take care of your kid, if you have to do something in the house, if you get a delivery, people understand. And so you should understand them. And I mean, it’s not the ideal necessarily, but it’s okay to schedule your day. Also have lunch with your family. Right. If everyone’s around you can sort of agree to have it, then. So and keeping that flexibility in mind, not I will work nine to five every day, just like I was in the office. Yeah. You’re not in the office, and you got it accepted as such.

00:33:03 So we had actually a list of eight different topics that we were going to talk about or something like that. But we went through the first one, which was like tips for making working from home survivable. And we’re like pretty far into the episode. Is there anything on the topic list that you want to talk about?

00:33:23 Yeah, I’ll go. So one of the topics here was notable or unexpected benefits. And I think this ties in. I guess it’s a bit of a tip as well. It’s the whole flexibility of working from home. And Reuben, what you just said was amazing, right. You’re at home, so you have to respect that your family is there. Spend time with them, have lunch with them. So one of the unexpected benefits for me was that mental health piece. I think a lot of people, as they’ve started working from home, they started feeling distance from everyone else and from their teams. And especially if you I know plenty of single workers who are just at home by themselves. They literally have no one around them. It must be incredibly difficult for people who don’t have families and kids and stuff as well. So I guess the benefit is the whole mentality of do something for yourself.

00:34:11 Completely selfishly for me, that’s exercise. And I think for other people, they should be encouraged to during the workday, take an hour. And I’m not talking about the lunch break. I’m talking about something for yourself. Take half an hour to an hour, watch a TV show, completely mindlessly, get on a call, just on your mobile phone and call a mate. Or in my case, mine is exercise. And this is something I didn’t do before religiously. I’ve only started exercising in the past year. And it’s that one thing that I get to myself that’s not to do with work with pie bites, with my family, with my kids. It’s got nothing to do with anything. But it’s just me. It’s a challenge for myself, pushes me, and it’s enjoyable. And that is my special time every day. And to me, that’s been one of the unexpected benefits of all of this is that I’ve been forced to realize that I need to do something for myself every day, even if it is only for half an hour.

00:35:09 That’s nice. You should be able to if you had time for a commute before then, clearly you’ve got time for exercise now.

00:35:16 Yeah, exactly.

00:35:17 Great point. Yeah.

00:35:19 I could easily and I used to do this when I was single and I was working from home. They would literally be like three, four day stretches when I would not leave the house because I had groceries, the newspaper was delivered, I was working. And I’ve really tried hard. So in this period when I’m only working from home. So as you guys know, before the call, I’ve been going out, taking these really long walks every morning for exercise. It’s nice. I go out, I hear a lot of podcasts, I walk to a whole bunch of parks. And it is fantastic to know that every day I’m outside being able to do something that’s not work related. It really has helped me quite a lot. Taking advantage of the working from home, for sure.

00:35:57 Yeah. I just recently started because of the heat, we’re going through a little bit of heat wave here, needed to go out and do more watering of our garden in the morning before the heat of the day. But I’m finding that I just really actually kind of love that. So a multitasker. Of course, I don’t do it well, but I can listen to a technical book and garden at the same time. So I’ve been getting up in the morning and going out and doing even a half an hour of gardening in the morning while I’m listening to something else. And I’m finding that actually it makes me feel better for the rest of the day of doing something outside before I get into work. So it’s kind of nice.

00:36:37 And that can be when you take your shower as well.

00:36:43 Outside in the garden with a bar of soap and hose. One for the plant, one for you.

00:36:48 Sure. I do live in the burbs where there’s people that would see me.

00:36:51 They’re working from home also. It really spoils it. Right.

00:36:57 Anyway, how about you, Ruben? Do you want to pick up one of these?

00:37:01 I just want for the people who are feeling sort of lonely and so forth. I mean, Julian was right. It can be sort of, even if your family is around keeping in touch with others. So if you’re working for a company, then there’s probably some sort of whether you guys said like daily video conference or Slack channel or something, I’m on a few slack channels with other consultants. So people who are on their own and want to be with other people on their own and sort of exchange if it’s business ideas or just sort of chat, that’s been very useful also to stay connected during this period.

00:37:31 Yeah. Or if people are feeling that they need some to be us about technical stuff with somebody else, they could contact me and come on the podcast. That would be great.

00:37:43 With 1 St.

00:37:45 Yeah, well played.

00:37:47 Well, I got actually a lot out of this today, so thank you, guys, for sharing this with me. I guess the one little thing that I was going to share was leftover was pay attention to when vacation days are, because if it wasn’t for my coworkers, I would just work every day and I would not even know if there were holidays.

00:38:04 And you might miss out on going away on that vacation you were planning. Right.

00:38:09 There’s none of that. I’m also trying to make sure that I am consciously grateful that I work in a job where I can work from home, because as you know, the numbers go up and down and whatever. I have control over how much exposure I have to the rest of the world. And I know that there’s a lot of people that don’t that really have to keep going to work and just hope that their company’s protections are working enough to keep them safe. Grateful for everybody for doing that.

00:38:37 On that note, last night my wife said, okay, I got to get out. Like, we got to go out to a restaurant and Israel, like, you’re allowed to go out to restaurants, but there’s a ton of seating outside and the tables are far away from each other. And it was clear that people there, like the manager and the waitresses, were so happy that there were people coming and they were able to work because they had been shut down for so long. And heaven knows how they’re even holding on as a business. And. Right. If we’re not allowed out, if people don’t go out, then they’re totally sunk. So, yeah, I’m also very grateful that I’m able to do it.

00:39:10 Yes. The big one for me on that is I’m extremely fortunate that I get to do what I do, do what I love, and do it from home. A lot of the people that I talk to in my role are based in our data centers. Right. And so they’re not out in public, but they’re in DCs. They have to be there every day for the hardware perspective and keeping them alive so that we can even have Zoom calls and Skype calls and all that stuff. Right. So they’re literally keeping the backbone of essentially the Internet up and running, and they don’t get that choice of being able to work from home. And so I’m extremely grateful for all of my teams that are out there and my colleagues that are doing that stuff and totally get the fear and that’s why I’m like a big supporter of staying at home if I can because then it makes the world a bit more safer for them who can’t with that? As you were saying, Rufus exception of being able to support local businesses, go out to restaurants and stuff.

00:40:04 Well, thanks again for everybody for showing up for this because both of you have ruined his training and also his weekly Python newsletter. Is that what it’s called?

00:40:14 Well, I mean I have my newsletter and I also weekly Pipeline exercise, but yes.

00:40:18 Okay, sorry.

00:40:20 Both Reuben and Julian are involved in great ways to help people learn. I like what both of you are doing and so I’m going to include links to your offerings in the show notes as a thank you for showing up here user incredible at what you do and thank you for that as well.

00:40:37 No, thank you, Brian. We appreciate it.

00:40:39 This is great.

00:40:42 Thank you Ruin and Julian for all the great tips and thank you Datadog for sponsoring visit Test And Code. Comdatadog to get started and thank you to all the listeners that support the show through Patreon join them by going to support and did you know that this show has a mailing list that does visit Test And Code. Comsubscribe to well, subscribe and you’re going to want to do that right away because Talk Python Training has agreed to give away one training course every week for the next handful of weeks to a subscriber of the test and code. Mailing list. Thank you Talk Python training for doing that and for sponsoring this episode. All of those links and the links to the item we talked about in the show are in the show notes at Testing one, two, seven. That’s all for now. Now go out and test something.