On How I Work, we share the stories, shortcuts, productivity tips, and tools of some of the smartest people across various industries in Africa. This week, we are going behind-the-scenes at Techpoint Africa with Oluwanifemi Kolawole.
Oluwanifemi digs deep to understand how technology, especially social media, is shaping the African culture. She’s also passionate about chronicling African startup stories. Here’s how she’s working from home during this pandemic.
- Current role: Reporter, Startups and Internet Culture
- Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
- Current computer: HP 15 NoteBook PC
- Current mobile device: Samsung A50
- Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Challenging
Tell us about what you do and what your job entails
I write insights about how technology affects the average African, particularly with Internet and social media. When I'm not doing this, I write startup features and analyse happenings in the African startup ecosystem.
Tell us briefly how you started out your career and how you got where you are today.
I haven't always seen a career in journalism, but writing was my way of escape -- reassuring myself while I struggled with low self-esteem while growing up. It worked and I started feeling it was fun. I did a bit of freelance writing and got paid a few times until 2019 when I joined Techpoint Africa as an intern.
Tech journalism was a totally new experience for me, but blending in wasn't hard. In part, I believe it was because I joined an amazing team that was willing to help me grow. And so far, the growth has been tremendous.
Is this your first time fully working from home?
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home
I think we should call my 'typical workday' a 'typical work night' instead. Being my first time working from home, I've tried more than one approach to be productive during this period. Working at night has been the most successful approach; it has worked longer than others.
During the day, I carry out interviews, build a framework for what I want to write, pen down some true statements, engage emails, and attend team and editorial meetings.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
My mobile phone has been a very useful tool; sitting at a PC for long hours can be a pain.
I also use:
- Colour Note: to take notes during editorial meetings.
- Google Voice Typing: this helps with transcribing interviews.
- Snapseed and Paint: to edit photos.
- Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Having to work from home, how do you allocate time for work and other things?
My priorities now are getting my deliverables done, hence most of my activities during the weekdays are geared towards this.
For work-life balance, TGIF is dear to me. I squeeze visits, shopping, and fun stuff into my weekends.
Do you live/work alone? If you don’t, what’s your living condition like and how do you avoid/cope with distractions?
For the most part, yes, I live/work alone. I have a roommate who is seldom around (Omolara Oseni, cheers!😃). I believe my distractions come from my head, as I can easily zone out external noises.
The availability of power and a stable Internet connection has reduced my worries by 30%.
How do you recharge or take a break?
Long hours of sleep (especially on weekends), Netflix, and video calls with loved ones.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
You know, being productive as a creative with an unsettled mind is near impossible. So, because putting my thoughts together during the day has been a challenge (I think I need to see a therapist about this), I wait until my head is clear at night.
I'm working on another plan though as it just dawned on me that the nights are shorter.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
Reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Watching Lucifer, The Witcher, Black Mirror (this one is freaking me out but, so far, I like it)
Podcasts I'm listening to, Stuff You Should Know and Business Wars: Uber vs Lyft.
What piece of advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
Find what works for you. Stay sane, while at it.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Precious Mogoli, Stephanie Obi, and Mercy Chinwo.