Work, Hockey, Work – How to improve my work routine

Working from a home office is new to me. As I expected, it has many advantages, but it also takes some time getting used to. I have been pretty classic in my working routine until now, but I am thinking of changing that a little.

New things can be frightening sometimes. Since the middle of January, I am free to choose where I work, and to some extent when I work. It is basically a great opportunity to try new things, experiment, and learn more about myself.

How does my day look like?

My daily schedule is really not that much different from my previous working places: working from 8AM to 5:30PM, with a lunch break and a few 5 minute breaks from time to time. I try to stand up and stretch, as well as relax my eyes a bit, but that’s about it.

I haven’t moved from home either: not that I wouldn’t enjoy to spend a few hours around people, maybe in a coffee shop or at the library, with my headphones on; I am actually afraid of not having a good Internet connection. After all, that’s the basics for the job!

That’s my day so far. It works well I think. But I am pretty sure I could improve. My goals are simple:

  • Be as productive as possible during my work periods,
  • Exercise more,
  • Relax my eyes more often. Shame on me, I haven’t treated them well since I started working, now would be the time to do something about it!
  • Find more energy for blogging, personal projects, and of course to discover my new country!

What can I do to make things better?

Of course, I am not giving any advice, quite the contrary. These are objectives I will try to achieve in the next few weeks.


I started with a first experiment last week: instead of having a 1-hour lunch break, I went on a 2-hour long break. One hour lunch, one hour sport. I am in Canada, so Hockey was a must, at least until this week; Most outdoor skate rinks are now closed, it is too hot…

Pause Hockey

I now try to go swimming instead, to clear my head of work, and focus on something not computer related for an hour or so. And I must say that feels pretty good.

Avoid distractions

I didn’t realize it in the first few weeks. I have many softs open in the background as I work: Skype, IRC, Jabber, Twitter, Gmail…

My solution: try RescueTime for a week or two, and see how much time you really spend using these softs. It is always more than you thought.
Better yet: Turn these off. At least for an hour or two. Pick times of the day when you will check on these, but turn them off when you are working on something else. The notifications you see appearing in the corner of your screen will only distract you.

Avoid the computer during breaks

I am guilty here. Like I said earlier, I try to take quick breaks regularly. But how good is a break if you spend it checking your emails, or Facebook? Stand up, walk around, stretch, go for a walk… Anything but the computer!

Work from a public place?

I fear that one. On one hand, it might be good to actually be around people for a change. On the other hand, I am afraid to be distracted, or to have slow Internet.

I will probably experiment next week, with an afternoon at the library.

And now… Back to work!

I will be trying lots of different things over the next few weeks, measure when and where I perform the best, and post a quick update here once I found the best solution for me.

Of course, if you have any suggestions, let me know! :)

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4 replies on “Work, Hockey, Work – How to improve my work routine”

This is all really good advice. After 20 years in an office, I’m attempting to try my life as a writer (which means working from home). I get distracted easy, and realize even at home I’m susceptible to not getting my work done. But I also realize I need to get out and spend some time on me (which I haven’t done as well as I did when I worked away from home). Thanks for sharing!

Rick says:

Great post Jeremy.

I didn’t know about RescueTime, I’ll give it a try :P


Sheri says:

Did you find there was a productivity boost after a long away-from-the-computer break in the middle of your day?

Jeremy says:

I was more efficient, yes.

I actually still feel a bit guilty when having such long breaks (old habits die hard!), and I wonder if that’s why I am more efficient.

Only time will tell I guess. I will post an update here when I have some first conclusions! :)