One of the challenges when you work at home can be a tendency to forget to do things like, oh, go outside or actually see people. I noticed that when I shifted to full time home office at Cisco where I’d take the trash out on a Thursday and realize I hadn’t been outside since I’d taken the trash out on a Tuesday.
I was actually trying to re-arrange some of my calendar to reserve times to get out and exercise when I decided to go on Sabbatical, but now that this has happened, I do want to start some activities that make sure I get out and around and have more opportunity to do things like actually see people face to face.
Announcing Office Hours
So I’m happy to announce I’m starting up Office Hours.
What’s Office Hours? It’s me pre-scheduling a time when I go off to a coffee shop somewhere around Silicon Valley — or wherever I happen to be — and spend some time there working (and having a coffee). And if others want to wander by and work, or talk, or stare and back slowly away, that’s great.
I started doing this when I was at Palm because our organization was in a somewhat isolated building and so I got in the habit of scheduling myself into the company cafe once or twice a week just to hang out and bump into people, which allowed me to have many “this isn’t worth setting up a meeting for, but we should talk” meetings. I’ve let this lapse, though, and over the last few months I’d started thinking I really needed to bring it back in some form. think of it as kind of a Slack channel, only, with real chairs.
I want to do this weekly, but it’ll depend on the rest of my schedule. Right now I’m thinking in general it’ll be on a Thursday either mid-morning (10AM) or early afternoon (2PM) for a couple of hours, in a rotating set of coffee places I plan on exploring from the core Silicon Valley area ( Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View and Palo Alto) up as far as Redwood Shores and over into the east bay for Milpitas and maybe up towards Fremont.
I’ll announce my week’s location for Office Hours here on the blog and on twitter. You are welcome to drop by and say hi, grab a coffee, chat, or pull out your laptop and work as well. No need for RSVPs (but you can warn me if you want that you might show).
My general plan for the time is to get writing done, but if you want to come by and talk tech, birding, freelance writing, job offers (in a few months), or pretty much anything over a coffee, great. This is about setting up a routine that breaks my routine, gets me out and about, and reminds me to explore the wider Silicon Valley area I live in.
I know I’m not the only person who does this, and I want to encourage everyone to think about something like this, too, and if you schedule office hours, maybe I’ll get out to one of yours. One person who’s recently done something similar — but with a fascinating but possibly insane twist (a different coffee shop every day for 30 days without repeats) you can listen to the Core Intuition podcasts #221 and 222 to hear about Manton Reece’s journey through caffeine.
Office Hours this week
This week’s offices hours: To kick this off, I’ll be hanging out at the Specialties at 3590 Homestead in Santa Clara (corner of Lawrence Expressway) at 2PM on Thursday March 10. There is a chance this may change depending on a few things out of my control (i.e. landscapers coming in to redo my yard this week, and the rain) but I believe this’ll be okay.
If you’re in the area, wander by and say hi.
Next week Office Hours will be somewhere in Yosemite, as I’ll be at the Cocoaconf conference there. If I can figure out when/where, I’ll let you know what to expect. if not, we’ll reconvene here in Silicon Valley in two weeks.
Note: I am not a coffee snob (but I don’t mind a really nice cup at all), so it’s more likely you’ll see these scheduled at places like a Specialties, Starbucks or Peete’s where there’s good parking and good working/social spaces than you will at a shop that specializes in cold brew artisanal hand-ground beans pooped out of an elephant during the Eisenhower era by baristas with 37 piercings and a bad attitude…