If you’ve read any article on Techpoint Africa in the past few years, you’ve likely seen the handiwork of Precious Mogoli. As a sub-editor, he usually works behind the scenes where he spends hours poring over thousands of words by the editorial staff to eliminate errors and fluff.
Here’s how he is working from home during a pandemic.
- Current role: Sub-editor at Techpoint Africa
- Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
- Current computer: HP ENVY TouchSmart 4-1202ea
- Current mobile device: Samsung J5 Prime
- Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Challenging
Tell us briefly about what you do and what your job entails
Going by a definition I read recently, I am a gatekeeper of grammar and a sorcerer of spelling 😎. Consequently, I guard against errors in writing.
Definition aside, I go through writing to eliminate grammatical and spelling errors while ensuring adherence to our in-house style guide.
Occasionally, I write articles.
Tell us briefly how you started your career and how you got where you are today.
It was probably written in the stars, but I travelled along the roads to get here.
The only thing I never failed in secondary school was the English language. I remember someone asking me if I wrote only English when I received my first JAMB result; it was a bad result, but I did very well in English.
I was in secondary school when I first realised my knack for spotting errors in writing. They seemed to stand out in text and so noticing them came easy to me. Sadly, I only used this ability to laugh at people who made mistakes. With the benefit of hindsight, I shouldn’t have made fun of them. I had no idea that getting paid to correct writing was possible otherwise I’d have started charging people to correct their writing a long time ago.
In July of 2012, fresh from my service year with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), I got a job as a personal assistant. Two years later, my boss — a media consultant and former journalist — started a book publishing company where I held an administrative/publication manager role. It was there I cut my professional teeth as a copy-editor and proofreader.
Between 2013 and 2018, I did copy-editing on freelance sites as a side gig.
For a couple of months in 2018, beginning in February, I worked for Techpoint Africa remotely. And in October 2019, I joined the team full-time.
Is this your first time fully working from home?
Yes, it is.
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home.
On most days I’m awake between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.
I attend our general team meeting on Monday mornings before joining our editorial meeting.
We have editorial meetings on Wednesday mornings and general team meetings later in the day as well as on Fridays.
When I’m not in these meetings, I’m either editing documents or working on writing my occasional story.
I am not sure when I became a night owl, but I seldom go to bed before 11 p.m.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
I’ve had to rely on Google Docs, for editing and writing; Google Meet, for team meetings; Google Sheets, for my lead bag; Gmail, for email correspondence; Slack, for official communication; and Cube ACR, for recording interviews. And of course, my calendar app, which records my meeting dates and times.
Depending on how I feel, I switch from my laptop to my phone for meetings and editorial tasks because sometimes a change in position is required to keep the blood flowing.
Having to work from home, how do you allocate time for work and other things?
There are sacrosanct times: for work and other things.
Apart from impromptu meetings, my meeting times are scheduled. Though my mornings are set aside for editing documents that my colleagues send, I work on other assignments that come my way during the day.
Considering the input needed for my editorial assignment is a document, I work on each one when it arrives.
I shut down for the day between 4 and 5 p.m. to be with my family because this time is also sacrosanct. I bathe my sons in the evening and put them to bed before spending time with my wife either watching a few episodes of a show we like or talking.
How do you avoid/cope with distractions?
I live with my wife and I have three children — two preschoolers and a newborn.
With children who are used to getting my attention when they ask questions, telling them to wait until a meeting ends or I finish working on a document was strange at the beginning. However, they have since adjusted and know not to disturb daddy when he is working.
Needless to say, they break the rule now and then. Sometimes, when this happens, I lock myself in a room to work.
How do you recharge or take a break?
If I’m not playing Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), I’m watching Showmax with my wife or Netflix on my own. Being a football fan, I also watch football games.
Sometimes I listen to music, sing, or read a book.
Most times, I hang out with my AC Milan family on Twitter.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
I am introverted and really enjoy being indoors, but the lack of physical activity has been a challenge.
Though editorial tasks mostly require that one is sedentary, without the need to commute, sedentary has taken on a whole new meaning.
A few months ago, I started taking hour-long walks in my compound daily. It’s all history now.
I recently started push-ups but I deleted the app yesterday.
The new plan is to try out the Tabata workout upon a friend’s recommendation.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
I’m currently watching Good Girls on Netflix and Unbroken on Showmax.
I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for our reading club, The Communion of the Holy Spirit by Watchman Nee, and I Think Therefore I Play by Alessandro Alciato and Andrea Pirlo.
I recommend the Joyce Meyer Enjoying Everyday Life podcast.
What piece of advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
Constantly find what works for you and do it.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Abisola Adenuga of Techpoint Africa.
I write about media, technology and internet culture. Reach me on Twitter @okikesam