Kicking the boredom from my home office

A working from home diary, a new pet plant, and why 2020 is the easiest year for renewing my passport.

November 12th, 2020
2 min read

Ideal working from home

Nearly 256 (28) days have passed since my work office became only eight steps away from my bedside. I've saved about 15 days of commute time and approximately $598 of fuel and public transport costs. Most days, my productivity is as high as mountain peaks, but some days feel worse than a bad hair day.

Honestly, things just become too dull sometimes. An endless cycle of wakeup -> work at the home office -> back to sleep, basically a Groundhog day. The four walls of my house become too familiar, and my Jira board is barely exciting those days.

Sometimes to spice things up, I adjust my desk position or even move it all together to a new room, completely changing our apartment's arrangement. The bedroom has become a tea room, and the living room has changed to an office. I think I've changed my office place at least five times, and if it weren't for the 32 degrees Celsius heat, I would have also tried the balcony.

My current desk

In other days, I usually go to a nearby cosy cafe for a change of air. It's a great mood lifter if you don't consider the complication of trying to decide how to secure the laptop when I go for a toilet break.

Anyways, not every day is a bad day of coffee. Some days I can enjoy one of two good rare things that came out in these strange times. One of these good things is the easy ability to access so many international events and conferences for free from home.

While the 12 to 16-hour time difference sometimes make it a red-eye meeting for me, I've learnt an incredible amount of stuff from great speakers who seem to have better home offices than mine. Other than the office inspiration, I also jot down useful coding tips about indie JS libraries in a soon to be forgotten page within my Notion notebook that is as well organised as a legacy runbook.

One day I will use these notes, I keep saying to myself.

The other good thing that came out of this drama is the unexpected fully remote workflows of my embassy where I can apply and order for a passport renewal from the comfort of my home using Whatsapp.

That's right, WhatsApp is now the official government tool used to spread our daily dose of propaganda and renew our passports.

I won't complain, though. Doing my passport renewal from my couch is still way better than trying to get a counter number in an offline system that fails to grasp how human queues should work.

The last passport I renewed was for my sister a year ago. I remember going to the consulate, and what felt to me like entering into a fighting arena, everyone gathered on the poor counter guy trying to grab a counter number. It was survival of the fittest, and if you don't get a number early, you need to come back tomorrow and do it all over again.

Of course, being a relatively short person (I mean relative to Dutch people ehm), I utilised my life long practised camouflage skills to get things done and managed to make it in time for my morning standup meeting. It's the human embodiment of being a git commit within a massive merge conflict that was force pushed. The system fails eventually. Whatsapp represents that free SaaS tool you found and start using to keep your app working; it works for now until an unforgivable data leak happens.

Aside from all, today, I decided to update my home office environment, and I got myself a pet plant to give it some greener peace. It's a Philodendron Birkin plant in a Kokedama ball (a wrapped ball of moss).

My new pet plant

I hope I do it right and manage to keep it alive and well better than my side projects.