Lorenzo Grandi
Software Engineer III

I Suggest You Take a Nap

Engineering blog

One of the reasons I was excited to start working for HackerOne was its digital-first policy. Not entirely separated from your colleagues, but not that close either. In my case, I live a safe 2.5 hours away from the closest office. I had struggled to work remotely during the lockdown, and I thought that working for a digital-first company would help me be more efficient with remote work and more organized in my daily routine. To my surprise, it worked! Well, sort of. I’m definitely happy to be working from home most of the time, and I want to keep improving my routine to work better and, above all, feel better.

The topics I want to keep under control are the usual suspects: sleep, diet, exercise, and social connections. I understand these will vary greatly depending on your situation at home. Whether you have a family or not. The feng shui in your bedroom. What your dog tends to do at 5:00 a.m. But I hope some tricks can resonate.


First up, sleep. We all know it’s essential, but in the real world, a full night’s sleep can often be a luxury rather than a routine. With blurred boundaries between work and personal life, the schedules can now be bent to your liking. But no amount of caffeine will cancel the effects of sleep deprivation. The temptation to squeeze in a bit more time for your hobbies at the expense of sleep is hard to resist. Sometimes, I’m even tempted to work in the evening because I know there are no distractions, and I can simply focus better. This should be an exception and not the rule.


Now, about the diet. Have you tried getting spaghetti for lunch? Sure, it’s great, but it will put you to sleep before the coffee can even kick in. The convenience of grabbing a quick bite can easily slip into a habit of mindless snacking. The lethargy induced by poor dietary choices becomes the background music to your Zoom meetings. I fight this with a combo: first off, plan your meals in advance and do not give in to pasta every day. A balanced diet can do wonders for you, talk to a dietician to know what makes sense in your situation. But even more importantly, I try to squeeze in a 10-minute nap after lunch whenever the schedule allows. This is hands down my best hack for productivity.


Since it’s January, we all must have mentioned exercise in our resolutions for the year. A digital first company comes with long Zoom meetings where you’re supposed to be sitting and paying attention. And your body rebels, because it’s built for movement. Many members of my team make it a habit to squeeze in time for exercising during the day, I prefer to do it in the evening. The key is, once again, consistency: find what you enjoy doing and keep showing up, rain or shine.


As for the social front, remote work is often considered to be introducing a new layer of isolation. In the eyes of some, the water cooler chats, the impromptu collaborations, and the camaraderie built during shared lunches are replaced by the solitude of your home office. I do not think this is true. The remote work reality simply readjusts the focus of your day on yourself, and empowers you to build your routines in a way you prefer. You can meet a friend for a quick breakfast at the bar, or go for a run during the lunch break. Take some time during the day for errands, or shuffle your availability around your team meetings and rituals. I found a couple of good ideas from this list of resources.

In this exploration, it’s clear that your lifestyle isn’t just an afterthought; it’s the main actor influencing your work life. Sleep, diet, exercise, and social connections – each element plays a role in the intricate dance of your work efficiency. And now, go get a quick nap.

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