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10 decisive remote hacks

by Petro Zverkov

April 15, 2020
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Recently quite a lot of people who previously worked from offices got a chance to learn what it feels like to work remotely. I have been working remotely for over seven years, mostly abroad. After exploring several countries, Barcelona stole my heart and I settled down here continue working with teams from Ukraine and the US. 

To my mind, working remotely is a lifestyle that demands special attention to work/life balance. You need to make sure you have a 100% understanding of all the difficulties associated with it.  These include personal discipline, routines, determining personal cycles, as well as the nuances connected to the social factor, especially when other people are used to working from the office. Other areas you will explore yourself, as your path and choices will differ. 

Going remote in IT requires closely following a number of rules. However, the list of those rules, as well as their implementation, is very personal. In general, I can highlight the following criteria to pay attention to while getting started and even after having long-term experience in remote mode.

Remote skills and requirements

  • Proper setup of a workplace (space, lighting, etc.).
  • Effective time management.
  • Mandatory daily meetings with your team and client to stay on one page.
  • Strict adherence to deadlines and reporting.
  • Online services for fast and streamlined working processes.
  • Healthy nutrition along with food delivery services;
  • Follow the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle; states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts).
  • Daily home physical routines.
  • Energy practices (The 5 Tibetans morning practice and meditations).
  • Continuous professional growth.

Below I will present the results of my personal 5+ years’ research on remote work, step by step.

10 things to consider on remote

1. Maximize communication with the team, management, and client.
At least 1 call with representatives from the list above for a deeper discussion of current status, planning and clarifications.

2. Self-discipline.
A key to success in any endeavor. Unleash your full potential starting with a self-analysis, including aspects like daily routine, computer safety rules, communication, emotional intelligence, eating, and calorie estimation, taking into account actual mental/physical load and sleeping, etc.

3. Physical activity.
Oddly, time flies faster when working from home. It is important to take breaks every hour and change activities, allowing your brain to be equally effective throughout the day and also keeping your health up. Define your personal plan and consistently adhere to it.

4. Stand up.
Use a standing table 2-4 hours a day (if you have one).

5. Physical routine.
I recommend exercising at least 2 times a day: early in the morning and then in the afternoon or early evening. Use simple devices like dumbbells, rug, small stationary bike, hoop, jump rope, or horizontal bar in the doorway.

6. Healthy diet.
For healthy nutrition balance the diet and daily regime (healthy sleep, number and meal timing control). So, let’s see what we can eat to keep your brain spinning and weight stable.

Protein is the priority: nuts, turkey, eggs, sports nutrition (for a number of reasons Protein Isolate JYM Caramel Macchiato + ON OptiMen/ON Opti Women + ON Fish Fat has been my choice for over 3 years). Optimize sugar consumption. Constantly track the number of carbohydrates in consumed products. Avoid food that contains more than 20% carbs. Watch some videos about sugar “benefits” and its impact on life quality and expectancy. Avoid eating honey for better dental health. At the same time pollen and propolis help to strengthen immunity and increase endurance. Brush your teeth thoroughly for more than 2 minutes at least 3 times a day; also use floss.

To improve your brain functioning eat walnuts, spirulina, ginkgo Biloba and curcumin. For good eyesight: blueberries, chickpeas, hummus, tincture of Japanese sophora. Consuming berries and green vegetables give you healthy carbohydrates. If you are working late and want to eat, try cottage cheese, shrimp, or celery.

But be careful with coffee: bulletproof only (black coffee + coconut oil + spices), reduce flour and dairy products. Men are to carefully go through the list of products containing "female hormones", like cereals, legumes, beer, etc. Drink more water from the moment you wake up, at least 3-4 liters per day, better warm, to help the lymphatic system.

Limit food access. Keep it away from your workspace. Purely psychological effect. To limit sweets addiction eat more Chromium, as your body does not understand the difference between a shortage of water, chromium, or food; the feeling is the same.

Don’t stress. Many people simply "wash down" stress or turn to alcohol, which cannot solve the problem, but only exacerbates the situation. It is better to find pleasant activities to restore inner peace.

Take high-quality vitamins; be extremely careful when choosing both concentrations and compositions. Do not mix vitamins that block the fixation of each other or negatively affect the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. To choose multivitamins and minerals correctly, study carefully the composition and norms for people of intellectual work. Keep in mind that the standards for athletes are many times higher than for ordinary people, so observe the correct portions.

Regardless of gender, try to increase your testosterone level.  This will allow you to be more enterprising, proactive, and lead the team in any situation. Remember the importance of vitamin D3, and stay in the sun during safe hours. Some scientists’ studies show an increase in average annual testosterone levels of up to 25% for those who take longer walks. Also, it helps maintain psychological health for a long time. Following these recommendations in total can have a positive effect on you.

7. Healthy sleep.
Go to bed and wake up early. It helps to produce growth hormone and maintain the skin quality against age-related changes. 

Stop using screen-electronics an hour before bedtime for the proper production of melatonin and also to allow the nervous system to calm down (95% of the incoming information is visual). Configure all devices for blue reduction (MacOS \ Windows - f.lux, mobile phones - night mode).

In general, the total length of each sleep-phase is 1.5 hours - calculate your sleep according to this. People who have 1 hour 20 minutes sleep phases are an exception. You can sleep 4.5 \ 6 \ 7.5 \ 9 hours. Don’t wake up in the deep phase of sleep and also don’t "fill up", it provokes the next sleep-phase initiation. Wake up first with a soft alarm and then train yourself to wake up without an alarm. Try to plan the time of waking up mentally before falling asleep. It works, I’ve learned from personal experience.

8. “Must-have” services.
Additional software and services for remote work and efficient time/task management: Slack, Asana / Trello / Jira, Skype / Zoom, Google Drive, timecamp, timezone.io.

9. Find time for yourself only. 
Let it be 3.30 or 5.30 in the morning, or even at 11.00. It is important to stay alone for a while when nothing disturbs you for at least 30 minutes. Meet the dawn, sit with your thoughts, feel inner peace and synchronization with a new day. During this time meditate, breathe and perform energy practices. Do Kriya Yoga exercises and/or five Tibetans. Repeated exercises help you to be cheerful and in a good mood during the day.

10. Maintain a work-life balance.
Work hard, play hard! Remember, success is the achievement of a stable result over a continuing period. Try to balance all areas of your life. Remote work is successful when you look at the long term.  Just be a winner in the life marathon! 

Nowadays everyone has an infinite field of opportunities for transformation, development, and professional growth. Fill yourself with happiness and joy, and share your results and success with as many people as possible.

Good luck on this journey!

Regards, 
Petro Zverkov
Senior mobile engineer

by Petro Zverkov
April 15, 2020

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