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Fighting Cabin Fever In IT

If you are like most folks around the world (myself included), you’ve been working from home a lot recently. Some have been doing it even before we started getting the stay home orders, but for many others, this is a whole new world. About a month into this, give or take, it’s entirely possible there’s some cabin fever setting in. So, with that in mind, let’s throw some ideas out there on how best to tackle that.

For starters, many of us are still working, and that’s a good thing. Many have jobs that, while changed, still exist in this current state of the world. If you are someone in that group, then the number one important task? Keep working. Make sure your work is getting done. Don’t make the bosses think you aren’t worthy of working from home…because whenever things get back to normal, you could easily lose the privilege. Don’t ruin it for you or anyone else!

If you are working, but things are slowing down-and this is happening to many of us-it’s important to still be productive. So, while you need to tend to work, let’s assume you do have a few more cycles than you are used to. So, what can you do with those?

  • Organize your files.

Sounds simple enough, but it’s a great time to do housekeeping. Some of us are insanely organized from the drop. Others aren’t quite as rigid. Even if we usually are, we can all experience stretches where things get very busy, and basic things like putting files in proper folders and things just doesn’t happen. Now, with perhaps a little time to breathe? It’s a great time to clean and organize. Note, this works for both your computer and your paper files…though if you aren’t in the office, you might not have much paper to organize.

  • Clean and organize your home office.
Not my home office 🙂

This was a big one for me, personally. I previously got to work from home maybe a time or two a month, outside of some rare instances. It’s been a while since I was home regularly, even for a day or two a week. When you aren’t using your home office area frequently, it is entirely possible it gets messy for any number of reasons. It’s very easy to pile stuff on an unused flat surface (at least, that’s my excuse!).

So, when I knew I was going to be a temporarily full time work from home person again, I took time to clean things up and organize better. Just that first week alone, I cleaned out my desk file storage (I have a couple small hanging file folder areas). I moved the older files to another area for long term storage. I cleaned and dusted my desk, which included re-running cables and neatening things up.

I was lucky enough, or smart enough, that I actually bought a monitor stand for my desk a month or so back. I had added it to my home office several weeks ago, and it was fine, but I had not really had a chance to work with it regularly. Since I’ve been home, I have, so I figured out what I needed to move around to make it really work for me. I added some LED accent lighting. I swapped out an old desk lamp bulb for a brighter LED version (cheaper than the LED lamp upgrade I was eying, too). Heck, I even (finally) pulled the trigger on a new desk chair…very happy I finally did, too!

Short version? Clean it up, organize it, make sure it is tuned for you. Make it an optimized work environment. If you need some organization items, sites aren’t shipping as well as they were…but things are still making it out. Now’s as good a time as any to do it!

  • Take advantage of lab time and training!

This is a two part one, but I saved the best for last.

I am willing to bet (or, possibly assuming) that most WiFi and network professionals have some semblance of a home lab to play with. While you may be home with the family, which means that network needs to be up so they can stream Tiger King again, you can and should have some gear to play with.

Set up the gear. Grab packet captures. Play with Wireshark or OmniPeek or Ekahau or any other tools you use or want to use and get better with. Your in-office distractions are (hopefully) minimized now, though yes, they may have been swapped out for family interruptions. No matter what, you will have time and chances to learn new skills and polish existing ones. Don’t waste that time.

Read and study. Pick a certification and set a goal. Train and tinker with that certification in mind. Most of us can’t sit for a certification at the moment, since most test sites are closed…but prep and be ready for when they are open again.

To really boost that training effort, how about this: consider spending some time with the training resources at WiFi Training! There are new workbooks out, with more on the way. There are boot camps running virtually on a regular basis. If you choose a Cisco boot camp, those are great ways to use your learning credits.

This pause, this incredibly unique time in our lives, can be disruptive. It can be depressing. But if you play things right and really push yourself, you can come out of this with a great environment to work and learn in. You can also come out of it further along in your training and certification journey-and we can help get you there!

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