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Cam's Pain Cave of Productivity

Telecommuting is becoming more common today, with many technical authors (self-employed) working from home full time. I'm being asked how I work quite often, so it's lean.

I often think that when people ask "how I do it" they ask a few different things. For those, they want to know how to get into a career where you work from home. I can understand the appeal, but I can also say that working from home is not a joke. It's not as fun as you think, because you have no separation between work and home and you have to be focused .

This leads to the second I think people want to know ̵

1; they ask how I keep productive. It takes some self-discipline to work from home, and it can be a challenge to keep productivity up.

I've been working from home for almost a decade now, and during that time I've been constantly trying to adjust my workflow for maximum productivity. Here's a look at what I do, the products I use to get things done, and some other things I do to be productive.

I'm Cameron Summerson, News Editor for How-To Geek and Review Geek. How I work here.

My home office: Mullet of Workspaces

My productivity "travel" begins at my home office. If there's one thing I've learned about working from home, it's a dedicated work space, an absolute must share your work space with the living room or the bedroom is just not fun (and I say it from experience).

Technically, My workspace is still a shared space, but I share it with my hobbies instead of other people. Half is for work and the other half for fun-hence the "lower edge of work surfaces". Heh. The front half of my office keeps the desk, along with all the other things I use for work TV, device charging station and all that is well held together.

On the back you will find my hobby items: bikes and guitars. When I work, my back is on these things, so it does not give much for even though I've found that a break is hugely beneficial when the focus is hard to find. For example, if I've been overwhelmingly busy one morning and it's a break of the day, I'm doing my bike training and fitting into training. Nothing cleans my head faster than grueling work, and my productivity shrinks as a result.

My bikes. The red tire is special for the coach.

Oh yes, that's the second thing for my office: it's also my "pain cave" (as it's known in the bicycle world). I'm keeping my bikes here for the exact reason. When it's time to meet a training session (call out to TrainerRoad!), What bike I'm training then is ready for the coach. It is the only area where the distance between work and game overlaps a bit where space is touched. The TV works threefold right now: it's connected to the computer as a third monitor when I need it, Netflix works while I'm killing myself on the coach, and also acts as my streaming TV boxhub for testing.

I & # 39; I'm working on arranging the office in a way that separates my workouts and workspaces, but for now it's the central area of ​​overlap in space and the event. I have a plan for the future, but it will require a little remodeling, so it's currently on backburner.

guitar equipment.

Aside from a work surface and pain cave, my home office is also my cavity. I play guitar, and because my office is on the other side of the house from everything else, I'm free to turn the volume here without really disturbing anyone. My wife can watch tv in our bedroom while I play and she does not even notice. It's supernatural.

I usually jelly in the evening, but I use guitar as a temporary distraction during the day if I have difficulty focusing and do not have time to work out. So I'm taking a guitar and spending 10-15 rocking out, which is good for clearing my mind so I can quickly focus again.

While all this helps me recover the focus when I need it, my productivity comes down to devices and how I use them.

My devices: All for work, all for gaming

When I try to keep a distinction between work and games in my office, my units are fair games for anything – it's not meaningful to have an iPad for games and another for reading. It's just stupid.

Here is a brief summary of each device that I use daily:

  • My Desktop : This is my work horse. It's a few years old but it still works as my primary work device. It has a 4th generation Intel i7 4770K (Haswell) @ 3.5GHz, 16GB RAM, a 500GB SSD, 2TB WD HD and GTX 980. A pair of Dell U2414H 1080p screens round it out but TV works also as a third screen. I'm playing with the idea of ​​getting rid of the dual screens and moving a single ultraviolet, but I do not do anything yet.
  • iPhone XR: My headphone. I am an Android user for a long time and while I have transported an iPhone 8 as my second phone for several months, it's the first time I used one as my daily driver. I'll eventually go back to Android as my primary phone, but at the moment I'm enjoying XR. It's a great phone that feels like a massive upgrade from 8.
  • Samsung Galaxy S9: My secondary phone. I used a Pixel 2 XL as my primary phone for about nine of the last twelve months, but the USB port went out and it is not possible to claim the warranty right now. The S9 has been rock-fast because I've got it anyway, and I like to use it as my other phone. When I get my P2XL back, it will probably be my second phone.
  • Apple Watch Series 3: My main (and only) smartwatch. I use it mostly for weather and time in brief, as well as quick access to messages. I also use it to track tracks.
  • iPad (2018): I've recently been here, but I'm not sure how I lived without it. It's my sleeper and passive work device, but also handles TrainerRoad tasks when I work out.
  • Pixelbook: I'm a big Chrome OS fan, and Pixelbook is my main laptop. It's the base model Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB Storage – but it's an absolute rocket to use. It's flaming fast and never leaves me who want it. I drive it on the developmental channel because I like to live on the bleeding edge.
  • Google Home: I have a home in the kitchen, a home office in the office and a third hemmini in the bedroom. We usually use these for simple things, ask questions, set hours, listen to music / podcasts and control the tones.
  • SHIELD Android TV: I have two of these and they are my go-to streamers.
These are my head devices, but I also have a lot of complementary stuff, usually phones, for testing. I will not wear you with all the details, but it includes all Nexus Nexus phones from the Galaxy Nexus, as well as Pixel 1 and 2 XL. They only serve as additional testing equipment.

The units aside, I feel that my real work surface is a probably even more important part of my flow and productivity, especially my desk. Like many other work-on-desk, I work from a desktop / desktop. It's an Ikea Bekant electrical sit / desk that I've had for a few years now, and I can not imagine going back to a full-time hall. I spend more time than sitting on a daily basis (some days I'm not at all). I can focus so much easier when I stand and thus I am much more productive. When I'm sitting, I use a simple little back seat that I received from Amazon, which works well for my needs, because I do not sit so often in the first place. I wanted something tucked nicely under the desk when I did not use it, which the feces do nicely. As a side, it's also perfect for playing guitar when I learn new songs and do not want to get up.

The other primary tools I use every day are my keyboard and mouse: a Logitech K380 keyboard and MX Master (v1) mouse. While the MX Master was a well-chosen choice, I came to use the K380 more than anything. I used a Logitech K800 for several years and then switched to a K810 when 800 died. The K810 finally got the point where it was unusable because the plastic keys were very worn and just felt terrible. I had K380 (still in the box) in a cabinet, so I grabbed it, cannibalize some batteries (you take a few AAAs) and started using it with the idea that I would order a new keyboard later that day.

Long story short (ish, anyway), I started to love this little keyboard. It has a good feeling, despite retail for only $ 40. The round keys seem a bit odd at first, but after a little adjustment period I've found that I really like them. This keyboard is much better than the price would suggest, and I highly recommend it. I miss the backlight from my previous keyboard, but only a little.

All in all, I'm considering moving to a K780, which is a slightly larger version of 380 with a number package and a great little dock for tablets and phones. It may benefit my daily day. And before anyone asks, yes I have tried mechanical keyboard. No, I do not like them. Unfortunately.

Software: Mostly Google, With Some Other Things

Between all these devices, you'll find some common trends: I live in Google Clouds, so that's where I store most of my files. Google Drive is my go-to storage medium because it keeps everything in sync between all devices I use daily. Much of my workflow also depends on Google Keep, where I hold (hehe) all my working ideas and thoughts. If anything does not matter, I do not matter if I am or which device I use, I can throw it in. Keep reference later. It's a tool I trust.

The trend of accessibility on the platform continues over all I do. Because I'm using iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Windows, I need services and software that follows me through all systems (ie, the great reliance on Google products). On my desktop, I live in Chrome about 95 percent of the time, with Slack and Screenpresso as the top tools I use outside of the browser. Tell me, Screenpresso is probably my most used (and most valuable) Windows tool – I would give almost anything to get its Chrome OS functionality.

And indeed, Chrome OS is probably where my workflow is most changed. It does not run Windows software, so the tools I use change in Pixelbook. For example, I depend on Android apps for annotations and other image editing adjustments, with Skitch and PicSayPro that handle this information for me. Skitch is not actively developed anymore (it's an Evernote tool), so I have to put it on Chrome OS devices. Page loading is the type of pain (and reduces Chromebook's security, oof), but Skitch is the best tool I've found for the job when it comes to screen capture.

Otherwise, Feedly is an integral part of how I work. I'm the news editor here, so keep track of news is part of my job. I was a hard-to -ugh Google Reader user back in the day (RIP), and Feedly has been linking to me since Reader died. Pocket also records how I work, because sometimes I find something I do not have time to read right then, so I'll save it for later.

Keeping productive at home, where everything is a distraction

The hardest part about working from home is well, works. My office used to be a carport at one point, but somewhere along the line, a former homeowner converted it into an extra room. It is right outside the kitchen and the back door of the house – which is how we get and go about 99 percent of the time – is next to the office. There is no office door, so there is no separation between the office and the rest of the family.

Fortunately, the office is on the opposite side of the house from anything else (apart from the kitchen), so I can not hear anything happening when I'm here. My wife can watch tv, and the kids can play games or hang out, without really disturbing me. There is a long way to improve my productivity because residence permits can be a real challenge when it comes to having a house full of people and no way to block them.

I also have music that plays beautiful much non-stop, save for the first thing in the morning when everyone else is still sleeping. Keeping songs that go during the day helps to dunk out how little noise can come in from the rest of the house, but it also helps me to keep me motivated. Sometimes texts can be distracting, so if I'm hard to concentrate, I turn on something chill or something instrumental. I've also found that listening to fast rap makes the brain move quickly when I need to get very clear, so I use it to enter the zone for a few days. Singing together also helps me to get "in the zone".

While most children and my wife understand that when I work, I work and should be alone, my six year old love to play in the little landing right next to the office. It's bright and sunny in there, so it's sensible. If I have difficulty focusing, I reluctantly get him to play in the living room or in his room, but I try to block it for the most part. Frankly, I love watching over to see him play there and find it on those days when he does not come in to play me kind of miss his little play sound. Perhaps it's a more creative comfort for me.

But over the years of working from home, I've learned to "hyperfocus" -to block everything that's happening around me and focus exclusively on work. I use it to my advantage for the most part, and it's another way that music helps. I've been known to listen to the same song for hours in the end because the repetition helps me get into the hyperfocus zone. You can use that name if you want it.

In the end, I have found that productivity comes from a love place, a place of lust. If you like your work, it's not hard to be productive. We have all the days where focusing is a challenge, of course (they are called on Mondays I think), but for the most part, if you like your work, it finally feels more like a hobby that you get paid to do and not a beat which you have to force yourself to do. If you are dissatisfied with your job it will be much more challenging to get things done. Bring that information whatever you want.

There are nuts and bolts on how I work, what I use and what I do to be productive. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments. I'll be happy to answer.

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