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The perfect WFH schedule for startups

TECHSCALE! Our techspert loves working from home, but it's not only about coffee breaks and cooking. Here's how you can have a productive day, too.

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Our techspert Jewell Sparks has learned to make the most out of working from home, so she’s giving us some pointers. (Photo by Carl Heyerdahl.)

Working From Home (WFH) during the pandemic has been easier for some more than others. Introverts and gamers may be handling isolation better than extroverts, but don’t let your personality type stop you focussing on the most important elements needed for business sustainability and mental stability during these times of our new virtual reality. I’ve put together a sample WFH schedule to help your new daily routine.

6am: Rise and shine

Getting an early start has its perks! This is one of the most peaceful times of the day. If you have business relations with China, it’s noon there and a good time to catch up.  

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

6:30am: Shower, followed by coffee or tea

There is nothing like a warm shower and a hot drink to get your blood flowing, release body toxins and relieve stress. WFH can cause stress for some, so starting the day with these warm additions to your universe not only calms your nervous system, but aids with hydration. I like to use my Kaffee Form cup to drink my Five Elephant-roasted coffee or Black Magic tea from Berlin Tea Company. I support these brands because they are Berlin-made, sustainable and use high-quality materials. 

“If it wasn’t for coffee, I’d have no discernible personality at all.” — David Letterman

7 – 8am: What’s happening in the world of tech and innovation? 

Before everyone starts buzzing around, it helps to see what happened across the globe while you were sleeping. Make sure you check out The New York Times Tech, USA Today Tech, Silicon Valley News, Sifted, Bloomberg, Reuters, Tagesspiegel, Handelsblatt, Gründerzsene, Magazine, Wired and TechCrunch.  

These publications are becoming quite dynamic and offer great info for founders and innovation leaders, drawing insights from across the globe.

“He who knows things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated.” – Sun Tzu

8 – 11.30am: Virtual becomes your reality

Before you start your day, try to put on a nice outfit and put yourself together. Yes, it’s easy to stay in your PJs, or just put on a nice shirt for video meetings, but what you wear can influence how you feel.

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

Virtual meetings and phone calls are the way business is done during these days. The key to not getting virtually “burnt out” is to make sure that you spend no more than 60 minutes on the phone or on video at a time. Try to schedule your meetings with 30 minute intervals in between so you can re-hydrate, stretch, maintain your voice and have some you time. 

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

Bonus: #MentoringSessions for female founders 

Mentorship during times of crisis can be quite beneficial. Impulse4Women is offering free mentoring sessions for female founders from April 28 – 30. If you’re a female founder seeking mentorship while WFH, sign up and receive a free 30-minute session with experts from across the globe. Mentoring spans the categories like finance, market strategy, business development and sales and marketing.

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” Sheryl Sandberg

12 – 13.30pm: Mental break and lunchtime

Don’t assume that you’re working less just because you’re not rushing to the office every morning and sitting in meetings. Being virtual burns a lot of calories. The way you process content and engage is different, but this doesn’t mean you’re minimizing stress levels. Try to make sure you carve out at least 1.5 hours of your workday to eat right. Cooking is very therapeutic and may help you mentally prepare for your afternoon work marathon. Or you could order in to give yourself some time for other relaxing rituals. It was great to see the startup Beets & Roots listed on City of Berlin’s delivery platform. Beets & Roots was founded by Maximilian Kochen and Michelin Star chef Andreas Tuffentsammer in 2016 and provides seasonal, freshly prepared healthy food options. In early 2019, the company closed a seven-figure funding round and has been expanding throughout Germany. 

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” – Orson Welles

Rabobank Foodbytes is hosting a great webinar on Wednesday, April 15 for food and agriculture companies to address the temporary shutdown of most food services and the rise of online retail. Speakers include representatives from Rabobank, New Crop Capital and more. 

2 – 5.30pm: Meetings, meetings, meetings 

Repeat the 8.30am ritual, but also use this time to network with potential collaborators both locally and internationally. The one thing Covid-19 has taught us all, is that borders sometimes are falsely abided by and sometimes can limit our potential. New York City starts buzzing around 2pm CET (8am Eastern) and Silicon Valley starts operating around 5pm CET (8am Pacific), if not earlier. Vision is everything at the moment. Let’s take advantage of the fact that colleagues are open to “out of the box” solutions to maintain business operations. This is also the time slot during your day to #payitforward and support other colleagues by providing mentorship, business development ideas and more. 

“Your time on this earth is limited, don’t live someone else’s life, live by your vision.” – Steve Jobs

6pm: Get off the couch, shake it off

It’s been a long day. Lots of chatter, visual stimulation and mind-boggling concepts.  Unfortunately, most of these interactions have taken place at a desk, on a couch or in an uncomfortable chair. (Speaking of the home office setup, don’t forget to check out the daily furniture deals from Westwing right before your first meeting of the day!) It’s time to exercise. I have been checking out Mrs. Sporty, which is now offering online training. The fitness chain was founded by Valerie Bures-Bönström of Pixformance Sports. Tomorrow, I will also start my 30-day “Shake it Off Challenge” training with Los Angeles celebrity fitness coach and a dear friend Ryan Vandyke

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless, and reason is powerless.” – Herophiles 

That’s all, folks! Until next week… We have a special interview with one of Berlin’s top early stage investor / accelerators planned. We’ll see how they are adjusting their business model in light of the changing business dynamics during Covid-19.

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