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Stephan Meijer
Stephan Meijer

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Work From Home; The Struggle of 2020

Over the past few weeks, I've seen numerous people reaching out for mental support. Sometimes directly, often hidden under a question asking about how to maintain work/life balance when working from home with young children.

I've been working home for over 6 years now. Although, I used to work from the office for 1 or 2 days a week. So, I did meet my coworkers on regular basis.

But 2020 changed things. I've been stuck at home since March. I have a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old that has been born in the mid of this epidemic. And it's exhausting! Not the little one. Just..., all of it.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I felt a huge productivity boost. Even though it was only 2 days, the time I stopped spending on commuting was now spent on something productive.

As we can't spend the weekends as we would before I now spend it on side projects. Sure, we still have some family time. But I'm not the kind of person that sits still on the couch. And I'm not the kind that can get lost in books either. So, while the others are waking up, I take my notebook and code. Coding used to place me in a zone where everyday problems don't exist.

This worked great in the first half of this year. I've given leaflet-geosearch a long due update, published some new libraries like where-broke, jest-partial, unimported, and graphql-args. I've also launched few bigger projects, such as, and All besides my day job. As I already mentioned, I got quite productive.

But things changed. Months passed by and the situation outside went from bad to worse. Covid isn't gone. World leaders don't agree with science. A vaccine isn't near. There is no expectation for improvement, or even a known date when the applied regulations will end. This "second wave" has hit me hard.

My productivity has slumped. I've been unable to do anything productive lately. I can't get in my code. I see my editor. I see the letters on my screen. But my mind is unable to connect the dots and draw the bigger picture.

The thing I'm trying to say is; if you hate working from home. Feeling unproductive. Don't know how to balance work/life. Feel burned out. Please know: you're not alone ❤️.

It's not (just) working from home. It's all of it. It's 2020.

👋 I'm Stephan, and I'm building If you'd like, follow me on Twitter.

Top comments (6)

jadenbot profile image
Jaden Johnston

Ah, this is so real. Everything feels like a gray area. There's no separation between work / reg life. There's something that happened when the 'choice' of WFH or going to the office was removed. Navigating this balance, and watching my kiddo basically become remote worker by way of elementary school is disheartening and exhausting. I am right there with you.

rafaeldavish profile image
Rafael D. Hernandez

I feel the same way man. The last paragraphs here are just exactly my feelings. I am sure there positive things that happen becuase of this pandemic, weather, and the rest of the caos, but that doesn't come even close to all the bad things happing in our lives.

kettanaito profile image
Artem Zakharchenko • Edited

Sadly, the virus isn't going anywhere and it won't go anywhere with any amount of vaccines or quarantines. Similar to flu, it's about to become a re-occurring epidemic for a very long future. I think it's good to acknowledge that everybody's work- and lifestyle needs to undergo changes because of this. And it's not necessarily bad changes!

I understand how you feel, and let me thank you for all those great projects you've created, I think you're being a big inspiration for many people! I feel a similar lack of productivity at times, and I believe it follows any creator of any genre. What helps me cope with such times is context switching. I find the main reason I'm not productive is that deep down I'm tired of what I've been doing and my mind needs to switch.

Changing what you do or even do nothing is a great way to recharge your productivity. Sometimes I switch to an entirely different hobby or lie on the couch and play games. It sounds counter-intuitive, right? How playing games or doing nothing would make one more productive? And that's the trick: it does so indirectly. The simplest way to put it is to say that context switching makes you "miss" those things you've been doing regularly. It may be a simple rest factor, or in some cases "guilt", if you're like me and isn't a resting person.

Humans are incredibly adaptive creatures. We can get used to anything, and that means getting used to being productive. In order for us to survive, we usually put the things we've used to out of our urgent focus, so we can focus on other things we should adapt to. Context switching makes us "forget" that we're used to being productive, and re-learn it, adapt to it again.

equiman profile image
Camilo Martinez • Edited

I've started creating an online course and studying all those pending courses that I buy on Udemy.

I started feeling the way that you describe and help me a lot make taking walks on the night (where no people are out there), disabling phone notification, not reading/watching the news, and some exercises using a trainer app (one of the thousands).

The brain needs an active body. I have again more energy and a renewed thoughts.

Hope it helps!

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Stephan Meijer

Thanks for sharing your experience, Camilo.