Working from Home

Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

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At Home with NIKS

For the most part, I work from home. There are advantages that I’ve learned to appreciate: I like the benefit of setting my own time schedule and staying locked away while I write . While this does sound quite dreamy, it comes with its own challenges and if you’re not used to it, it can make you feel cooped up. [Sometimes your pets will get angry and throw your stuff or whine when you don’t play or massage them (my pets need a lot of attention, demand it, and get it)]. These challenges felt a bit terrifying when I first transitioned from large spaces with a lot of people at work to my own little matchbox that included just myself. Once I got acclimated to my new work surroundings and developed my own routine, I started to appreciate the freedom of working from home.

While we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and many of us are now working from home, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve found that helped me not feel cooped up and isolated. This is what worked for me and you will have your methods that work better for you, do what makes you function best and makes you happy!

  • Wherever you set your office space up, make sure you’re comfortable in it.

  • Make a schedule and stick to it as far as possible. It will help build a regular routine and quickly become habitual. I keep a note book both digital and in print, just to tick things off my list. Ticking things off a list is very rewarding.

  • I’ve noticed if my computer faces away from the window, I’m less distracted. Depending on the light situation, the constant fluctuation of brightness can act as a source of distraction.

  • I stay off social media when I’m lost in writing. However, when I’m cooking, I like to jump on and interact with people so I can share not only what I’m cooking but also answer questions, etc. I don’t feel isolated that way. But I do make time to call my friends up and chat with them whenever possible.

  • Once every 2 hours, I get off my chair and take a stretch. When I’m photographing or cooking, it’s a bit different, I’m on my feet constantly, I’ll stretch and take a short power nap for 10 minutes to recharge.

  • Now that I live in LA, I don’t have an outdoor space to garden, my balcony is my new garden space. I’ve been experimenting with container gardening, I have a few vegetables and fruits planted but they haven’t bloomed or turned into fruit yet. Gardening is a great way to unwind.

  • Read a book, I will often take a break from reading cookbooks and read something on science (food related) or my magazine subscriptions. Read something other than your work, I find it refreshing.

  • Radio and Podcast: There are several and I’m not listing them all but here are some of my favorite podcasts: BBC The Food Programme, BBC The Food Chain, Olive Magazine’s Cook, Eat, Explore, The Splendid Table, Chris Kimball’s Milk Street, Bon Appetit’s Foodcast, Bite, Honey and Co’s The Food Talks, Serious Eats’ Special Sauce with Ed Levine, The Delicious Magazine Podcast, Good Food with Evan Kleiman, Carbface.

  • This is the oddest little trait about me that you might learn: I need white noise when I work or I struggle to focus. I grew up in a very tiny apartment in India and as a kid, I had to learn how to deal with noise when I studied, as a result, I find concentrating when things are too quiet, very distracting. I either listen to music or keep a tv show running in the background. I watch a lot of crime shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. Pluto TV is another great app to check out, they’re free and stream a lot of tv shows 24/7. I watch a lot of British tv – Pluto is great for that (other options that require paid subscriptions are Acorn TV and BritBox and are available on Prime TV) The shows with language translations and subtitles need a bit more of my attention, so I watch these at night or when I’m editing my photos (photo editing is a bit more relaxed).

  • A lot of you asked me on Instagram to share some of my tv shows as I cook or work. Here are some of my current tv obsessions, I avoided a lot of the ones, I think you might already know of. Disclaimer: Some of these shows might vary in their level of intellectual stimulation, proceed at your own risk. Some are honestly listed for pure eye candy (like Toy Boy), which I really don’t need to explain.

    Some of the English Language Shows

    • Gardner’s World (Britbox) – if you like to garden, this is the show for you. Monty Don has a soothing voice but the show is full of ideas for every skill level. I used a lot of these when we lived in Oakland.

    • Grand Designs (IMDB TV on Amazon Prime) – a nice look into what it is to renovate a home all by yourself. It can at times, make you worried for the people on the show. Often the results are outstanding.

    • I’m currently trying to get into Beecham House on PBS Masterpiece. Still haven’t made my mind up about it.

    • Antiques Roadshow (Britbox and Pluto TV) – gives me some intellectual stimulation and a bit of envy.

    • Call the Midwife (Netflix) – Very interesting look into UK’s NHS system through the lives of midwifes.

    • Sabrina (Netflix) – this is a fun show.

    • The Witcher (Netflix) – pure eye candy, that is it.

    • Marcella (Netflix) – I love Anna Friel, her performance in this crime show is stellar.

    • Out of all the CW shows – I like Supergirl and The Flash

    • Abstract – The Art of Design (Netflix) – I’ve watched this series 4 times, the episode with Neri Oxman on Bio Architecture is my favorite and I would LOVE to do a stint in her lab.

    • The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes (Netflix) – first reaction, OMG who are these people, how are they living like this, can I come and live there.

    • All the Harlan Coben crime tv shows on Netflix : The Five, Safe, The Stranger, etc.

    • Doctor Foster (Netflix) – Suranne Jones is phenomenal.

    • Broadchurch (Netflix/Britbox)

    • MI-5 (Britbox) – don’t get attached to any character in this show, it has a Game of Thrones fate for some of their characters.

    • Silent Witness (Britbox) – if you like medical detective shows, this one is good.

    • Ackley Bridge (Acorn TV) – I like this show, it’s funny and refreshing. It deals with a lot of issues faced by South Asian immigrant kids (in this case in the U.K.)

    • The Good Karma Hospital (Acorn TV) – medical soapy drama shot based in Kerala.

    • Line of Duty (Acorn TV) – Crime show based on corruption inside the police.

    • Keeping Faith (Acorn TV) – Another crime/mystery show.

    • Loch Ness (Acorn TV) – Crime/Mystery.

    • Poldark (PBS) – Strong storyline with eye candy.

    • Amazon Prime TV has made some good Indian TV shows: Breathe, Made in Heaven, Inside Edge (I’m not a cricket fan much to the vexation and disappointment of my dad but this show is interesting). These are all in English when Hindi is spoken there are subtitles.

    • Some other staples for crime – anything by Agatha Christie on tv (Poirot/Miss Marple, etc.), Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Vera. (I really got into these as a kid because my grandmother loved them).

    A Few non-English Language TV shows

    • Toy Boy (Spanish/Netflix) – there is some crime and mystery here but with a name like Toy Boy, you’re not really looking for a deep story here.

    • This show made by Salma Hayek is brilliant, I hope a season 2 comes out soon – watch Monarca (Spanish). Other good Spanish shows are Elite, Unauthorized Living, The House of Flowers,

    • All my friends know of my obsession with Turkish TV shows, here are some good ones on Netflix – Gonul, The Protector, Black Money Love, The Gift, Winter Sun. One thing I love about Turkish TV shows, they always show what people eat and you get to see a lot of local foods (that I now want to learn and cook – the pepper bread is quite a popular topic that keeps coming up in Black Money Love). Eye candy alert!

    • Nordic Shows (Netflix): Occupied, The Valhalla Murders, Rita (comedy), Ragnarok (This is the one that confused me about people who bathe in milk – do they wash with soap after? Milk fat will turn rancid on your skin, also this is too ridiculous of a beauty habit)

    • French (Netflix): Black Spot (crime), The Break (crime, season 2 was not my favorite),

    • PBS Masterpiece has a lot of good European crime shows (Lots of Nordic Crime shows in this list): Beck, Cover Story, Modus, Night and Day, Vanished by the Lake, Thou Shalt Not Kill, Innocent, The Lawyer, Thicker than Water, All the Sin, 35 Diwrnod (Welsh crime show, this is produced in a very interesting way, everything starts from the end).

    • Italian TV shows (Acorn TV) – Sisters (the landscapes are gorgeous and so is the food that some times is shown and discussed but without giving too much away, the though process of the characters in this show got me annoyed at times), From Father to Daughter, Back Home.

    • French TV Shows (Acorn TV) – Balthazar (eye candy crime show).

Tomorrow, I will go into my pantry and share some tips on Instagram as well as here that will hopefully make your life easier while we’re working from home.

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