Working remotely means unparalleled professional freedom. But this freedom can come with a price: the potential to build bad habits that absolutely crush productivity and destroy workdays.
As a remote worker, the responsibility to maximize every workday falls entirely on you. But luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of every hour of your day.
Here are 10 of them.
1. Take Scheduled Breaks
This is a critical reality of remote work: you need to give yourself some mental breaks, the same way you would in an office environment. Whereas you might take a coffee run with a colleague when working in an office, it’s equally important to take a breather, regroup, and reset at various points during the day.
Whether you’re making a bite to eat, sitting outside for a few minutes, doing laundry, or anything else, the key is to make sure you’re taking a short time away from your work so you can come back refreshed.
2. Use Your To-Do List as Rocket Fuel
Believe it or not, to-do lists actually have proven psychological benefits. The act of planning reduces the burden on the brain. And the literal act of scratching items off our lists gives us a kick rush of satisfaction for having achieved something.
That’s why remote professionals need to use their to-do lists as rocket fuel to propel the success of their workdays. The planning process relaxes your mind, writing it down creates accountability, and scratching things off the list gives you a rush. This formula equates to a sure-fire way to make the most out of your workday.
3. Adapt the Way You Resolve Issues
The lack of in-person communication for remote workers can present a unique set of challenges. For instance, whereas in an office setting you could quickly walk over to a colleague troubleshoot challenges or resolve issues, working remotely means you rely on less personal communication.
The biggest challenge with this?
Trying to resolve issues via email or text message can be much too passive and can, in turn, become a massive time-suck. If you find yourself in a position where you’re wasting time trying to resolve an issue using digital communication tools, just stop.
Pick up the phone.
Call the person you’re dealing with instead. In most instances, a phone call will get you to the desired outcome a whole lot faster than an email string will.
4. Create Efficient Processes
Whether you work independently or as part of a team, one of the most critical things to ensure your success is to create efficient processes for sharing documents and keeping track of where your team stands with their projects.
You can check out tools like Microsoft SharePoint and Google Drive for file sharing. You might also like SmartSheet as a centralized place to store files, keep track of project status, and manage your day-to-day initiatives.
Whatever tools you use, the key is to make sure it’s efficient and effective so you don’t have to waste a ton of time scouring for files or trying to see where things stand with your teammates.
5. Live and Die by Your Calendar
As a remote worker, it’s smart to structure your day like you would if you were in the office.
Because without in-person obligations to break up your day, it can be easy to lose focus.
Try penciling specific time blocks into your calendar for each task you need to achieve that day. You should also pencil in your lunch break and any shorter “brain breaks” you want to take. Then, abide by your calendar religiously.
Interruptions are often unavoidable, so make sure you account for a little extra time for each block in your calendar.
Stick to this for one week to start out and watch your productivity skyrocket.
6. Pretend You’re Going to the Office
One of the biggest challenges with remote working is the lack of structure that comes with going into an office each day.
So, rather than casually starting work whenever you’re able to, treat your workday like you’re actually going to work.
Do things like:
- Set your alarm clock
- Shower and get dressed
- Make (or go get) coffee or tea, if that’s part of your routine
- Be dedicated to sitting down at your desk at a certain time
Creating the same mental association with working from home as you do with going to the office will help keep you on a productive routine.
7. Create a Designated Workspace
This might seem obvious, but one of the best ways to have an “off” workday is to have to get up and find a new place in your house to work each day, or to simply not have a designated workspace.
Whether it’s a nook in your kitchen or a full-blown office, carve out some space and dedicate it entirely to being a workspace.
If you don’t have room in your house, you might want to consider getting a dedicated desk at a flexible office space like Co-Balt. This way, you can have a dedicated workspace where you can leave all your gear, customize to your liking, and come into work whenever it’s most convenient for you.
8. Get Out of the House
Let’s be honest. Sometimes it just comes to a point where your home office isn’t cutting it for you anymore.
Maybe it’s because you get too distracted. Maybe it’s because you feel uninspired. Maybe it’s because you feel isolated.
Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need to get out of the house.
While coffee shops, libraries, and public lounges might offer free WiFi and a space to sit, they’re not always the most inspiring. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, they might not even be an option anyway.
Instead, you might want to consider getting a private office at a flexible workspace. This way, you can get out of the house and immerse yourself in an inspiring professional environment that offers privacy when you need it and access to a community of like-minded professionals when you want it.
9. Eliminate Distractions
Put. That. Phone. Down.
Distractions are all too common when you work from home, and it’s even worse because there’s nobody around to keep you in check.
As simply as we can put it: eliminate the distractions. Log out of all your social media accounts. Give yourself pre-set blocks every few hours where you can check your messages. Answer emails once per hour.
Otherwise, buckle down, focus, and work.
10. Understand When You’re Most Productive
The reality is that everyone has down moments during the day. We can’t all be productive and working full-tilt all day.
We all have lulls.
The best thing you can do is monitor your productivity. Take stock of when you’re most energetic and get the most done. On the flip side of that coin, keep track of when your energy dips.
When you’re high in energy, do your big and challenging tasks. When you’re in a dip, tackle mindless tasks, or simply take a break.
If you work better at 6:00 a.m., start early. If you’re not a morning person, start later. It’s all about finding what works for you and running with it.
Remote work has a ton of benefits. And if you’re able to take the necessary steps, you can not only be as productive as you would be in an office environment but even more so.
Want to Learn More About How Flexible Office Space Can Benefit Remote Workers?
To learn more about Co-Balt Workspace, or if you’d like to book a tour of the space, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.