5 top tips to working Remotely
(And be productive).
Lately, everyone has gotten a not-so-gentle shove indoors. And since I’ve been working remotely for five years now, many people have been asking me, how do I stay focussed?
The truth is, you have to learn to work fluidly from home; a re-training of sorts. That takes time.
Eventually, though, you’ll love the perks. No interruptions at your desk, focussing on priorities at the top of your list, and you’ll actually see an increase in productivity overall.
Here are a few tactics that keep me happy and productive:
1. Make A Kick-Ass Playlist
It might just be me (I’m a dual screener), but I tend to feel the tug of boredom if I sit silently for too long. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for quiet concentration, but I like a good background playlist to keep me bumping through the day.
Pick your poison, but I think we can all agree, anything shouty or too heavy is just distracting. One of my key collaborators and I have been building a playlist together that I love. You can follow it on Spotify here.
2. Start Off Easy
I love a list! I often make a list for the following day when I’m finishing up, or I will start my day by creating one in the morning over a coffee.
The trick is to start with low hanging fruit. Do the task that you know is going to take you five minutes. Like, “send an email to ‘buddy-boy, regarding blah blah’ ’’.
Tap it out, and start your day by crossing something off your list straight away. That sense of accomplishment will help pump your tires for the rest of the day.
3. Block Party!
For some of the heavier items on your list, it can be hard to stay on task. When I first started working remotely, I used an app to break up my work into 20-minute blocks. It helps to stay on task for a certain period of time and if you need more, just reset. There’s plenty out there, but I used Block and Flow.
Now, I do it naturally. I focus in bursts, then take a minute to stare at the ceiling, have a snack, or pick my nose before getting back to the grind.
4. Break Up Your Day
What’s the saying? Sitting is worse than smoking? If you are into something it’s great to take advantage of your zone and stay there. Just don’t forget to get up and stretch your legs every once and awhile.
Make sure you still give yourself a lunch break. Rather than eating in front of your computer, break it up. Cabin fever comes early if you don’t ‘get away’.
I like to walk my dog. She’s a great work-from-home companion in multiple ways, but the best lesson she taught me is that I too need to be taken for a walk every day.
Breath in the fresh air, listen to a podcast and get away from it all. Sometimes I listen to work specific podcasts if I’m feeling the pressure to be productive. Other times, its lighthearted (and relevant) like ‘Sawbones— A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine’, or just something just plain interesting like ‘Ear Hustle’ or ‘Criminal’. I love my true crime, and I love getting out of my own head for an hour or so.
5. Mute Those Notifications
I keep my direct email notifications turned on during work hours because I don’t get an extreme volume of emails coming through on a day to day basis. However, for my generic business email, I stick to checking it only once per day in the afternoon. I find constant dings and buzzes to increase my stress levels and can set you off in the wrong direction.
My social media notifications are turned off, as this is a huge distractor. Especially now, since everyone is isolated and bored at the moment. People are breaking up #mundanemondays with hilarious antidotes like these remote rookie mistakes:
A tech saavy boss:
Or the group meeting where one lady didn’t realise it was a video chat and just went to the toilet in front of everyone.
Tee hee 😂
There’s a lot of advice out there and everyone is different. Some people like to get up like any other workday, have a shower, and ‘get in the mode’.
Myself? I can happily smash out an analytics report in my underpants. It’s really about finding your own remote-work-flow. Most importantly, it’s about digging in and doing it.