I always wanted to make one of those “a day in the life of a software engineer” videos, but since the office has been closed since March, I thought I would just write about what life has been like while working from home for over 6 months. If you want to know more about what life has been like for me at the office, check out my previous article here.
I never expected that I would end up working from home for a prolonged period of time in my career. I started working at Salesforce in January 2020, but then the Covid outbreak got worse that the office had to shut down in March. 3 months. That’s how long I was at the office. I thought that this outbreak would slow down and things would start to get better within a few months, but I was wrong. Covid has definitely changed our lives. Some companies have even allowed their employees to work from home forever, such as Twitter! As companies are starting to adjust to this “new normal”, I thought I would talk about how it has affected my work day as a software engineer.
What I like about working from home is that I don’t have to wake up really early in order to think about my commute to work. Atlanta traffic can be one of the worst, so even though my office is only about 25 minutes away from home, it takes me up to an hour just to get there. Instead, I don’t have to think about that anymore. I just need to walk to my desk once I’m ready to work! Now let’s talk about a typical workday from home.
This is the time that I wake up for one of the early morning prayers. As a Muslim, I pray 5 times a day, so this is the first prayer that happens before sunrise. Once I finish praying, I go back to bed and rest for just a little while longer before I get ready.
This is the time where I get out of bed, shower, get ready and eat breakfast. I sometimes listen to a mindful reminder in an app called Fabulous when I’m eating breakfast and self-reflect over everything I have in life.
The first thing I do right before I start working is that I work on a programming challenge that I will spend 15–20 minutes on. I love doing challenges on HackerRank, LeetCode, and Github. I spend no more than 20 minutes working on a problem. The reason why I do this is because it gets my brain wired into work mode and it’s a great warmup before I get into my work tasks. Think about it. Before you work out at the gym, you have to do stretches. I apply this same logic to work.
I open up my email, calendar and sprint board. A sprint board contains the tasks that I am currently working on. Once I check my email and calendar, I go ahead and start working on the work items on my sprint board. I open up my Pomodoro Timer that way I focus on the task I am working on for 25 minutes and then I give myself a 5 minute break after that.
By this time, the team will meet up online and we talk about what we worked on the day before, what we plan on working on in the current day and whether we have anything that’s blocking us from completing some of our tasks.
This is the time I eat lunch nom nom nom 😋
Between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM, I work on my current tasks by using the Pomodoro timer where I take 5 minute breaks every 25 minutes. Meetings that are scheduled are within this timeframe and the second prayer of the day is also within this timeframe.
Once I finish my work, I put my laptop and work phone away in my backpack and pray the third prayer. The only time I will have my work phone with me is when I need to be on call. You may be wondering why I put my laptop and phone away in my backpack. The reason is because my brain will be out of that work mode. Working from home can get tiring on some days, so it is good practice to put your work items away once you are done for the day. I recommend that you try it if you haven’t already! 😀
Once I finish the third prayer, I go to the gym and get my workouts done. I realized that after being in one place all day, I need to go out and get some exercise if I want to be in good health. I alternate my gym days with cardio days, so one day I will go to the gym and do weight training while I will do light cardio the next day such as taking a walk for 45 minutes. The best feeling is coming back home after a workout. It really gives me energy to do more activities in the evening.
When I come back home, I have dinner and then I spend 25 minutes learning a new skill. Once those 25 minutes are up, I take a 5 minute break and then spend another 25 minutes learning another skill or keeping up-to-date with my programming skills.
After my learning sessions are done, I spend at least 10 minutes meditating. Mind training is the most important thing that you can do for yourself. I have been meditating for over one month and it has done wonders for me. It makes me even more grateful for the things I have in life, it relaxes my body and it makes me focus on the present. It also makes me view everything in a positive light. I believe that in order to live a great life, you should include mental fitness as well. As Bob Marley said, “My home is in my head”. If your home is not doing well, how do you expect other things in life to go for you? Always take care of your mind.
Once my meditation session is over, I pray my fourth prayer which is after sunset and keep at least a few hours just to relax and spend time with my wife, play games, watch TV, read a book or write an article. I end the day with the last prayer and get ready to sleep.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope that you stay safe! Follow me on Twitter at retr0rafay.