I tend to say, to whoever asks, that I cooked at home more before the pandemic than during it. This is interesting1 since it's the opposite of the usual pattern where people, being locked down at home, cook more than before. The reason I cite is of ritualistic shutdowns. Before the pandemic, I would shutdown the laptop during the walk back home and in those gaps I would get chance to do things that would be hard to do with the laptop open. While this can be framed as a self control and prioritization problem, we all need external help from time to time.

Looking at my calendar these days, I think I need to simulate such shutdowns again. This was also pointed to me by a friend recently who does work in a priority order and attempts to cut off after a planned time. Acknowledging the inadequacy of working hours is healthy and makes you optimize your approach. Even though this is not something really new, I want to note it down here so I get sufficient momentum to impact my workflows.

These shutdowns are equivalent to change of environments. Changing environment changes the rules that you can play with, and that helps. My attempt is to define these environments, and a plan for forcing myself to move among them. Here is my current list:

• Work/Full On my desk with my main machine, available on IMs, calls, and virtual meetings.
• Work/Reduced IM and calendar closed. Writing is the major portion of work here.
• Work/Minimal Secondary machine, not on desk. Restricted agenda and browser access. Drawing and studying form the major section of work in this.
• Personal/Full Main machine. Writing, programming, and other creative work setup.
• Personal/Reduced Devices closed. Reading, pen and paper work, etc.
• Personal/Misc Rest of my life.

I have been force switching in various environments in the last few weeks by putting shutdown times of various kinds and it's turning out to be nice. The feeling of loss of time to do a certain kind of work is clearly getting offset by having value coming out from something else that I wasn't able to do earlier.

## Footnotes:

1

I don't think it's that interesting or unique now.