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Work & Productivity

Working From Home with Linux During COVID-19

The COVID-19 situation here in the United States has resulted in several non-remote employees suddenly finding themselves working from home. Naturally there’s a ton of posts about this around the web but I realized that there’s almost nothing for a desktop Linux user like myself.

In 2020 just about everything is web based; Workflows are synonymous. Much of this post is about creating hard lines between personal time and work time using the Linux hardware I already have, nothing more.

Use a separate user account for work

It’s imperative to create hard lines between work, and our other files. To accomplish this on a single desktop I decided to install the latest version of Lubuntu. Its a lightweight desktop offering a calm traditional workflow that doesn’t get in the way.

Much boring… no distractions.

To begin I restored my primary system’s Peppermint 10 files from yesterday’s Déjà Dup backup. This allowed me to gain access to my files, browser history, and accounts saving a hours of setup. Additionally I set my system to backup daily to a separate drive folder onward. This will insure I keep work separate from life.

Next, I removed all my personal files… Videos, photos, games, and anything else that could become a distraction. However, I did retain my music library because I’m at home and that means loud music.

Lastly, I installed all the software a WordPress developer should need. GIMP, Inkscape, fonts, git, LAMP and a few separate WordPress installations for testing new code.

Just one of my WordPress installations and git repository cloned… Ready for edits.

There’s web based access via Firefox to my employer’s Microsoft suite and various cloud services.

Miscellaneous Workflows

  • A web based Pomodoro timer to remind me to get up and take a short break every 25 minutes
  • My trusty Bullet Journal to rapid log to do items, thoughts, ideas and the day’s progress.
  • A beverage, usually black coffee or water.

That’s it, nothing complicated or over thought. If you take anything from this post just create a separate user account on your favorite Linux distribution and only include your work files within it. Keep everything else a reboot away. Fewer distractions will keep you focused on the task at hand.

Peppermint 10 desktop

When the clock strikes 5 p.m. I log back into Peppermint with my work files put safely away until tomorrow.


Current Status
  • Listening to: "Hand's Off…She's Mine" by "The English Beat" on "I Just Can't Stop It"

By Joseph Dickson

Joseph Dickson is a web developer in higher education and an avid proponent of using WordPress’ core features to create flexible and manageable design solutions.

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