A dream for some and a complete nightmare for others.
If you love freedom, minimal co-worker interruptions, schedule flexibility, and no morning commute, chances are, working remotely may be right up your alley. Although that seems like the perfect situation, working remotely can come with its own set of challenges and distractions.
Luckily, these five proven tips will help you stay disciplined so you can accomplish more even with a flexible work style:
1. Develop a routine
Just because you’re a few steps away from the office instead of a few miles, doesn’t mean you can sleep in or binge watch Netflix all day. Developing a daily (preferably morning) routine can be instrumental to your productivity. Adopting daily energy boosters like exercising, reading and getting dressed are all easy steps you can take to start each day, the right way.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have all talked about the importance of a daily routine, specifically exercising in the morning. You may not have to wake up at 4am every morning like Tim Cook does to achieve success, but establishing your own fail-proof daily habits can give you the best possible chance at crushing the day.
2. Time blocking
One of the biggest advantages or challenges of remote work, depending on how you look at it, is that it’s more difficult to disconnect from “life.” What I mean by this is that you’re more prone to distractions and interruptions, especially if you have kids. Although being at home can be extremely convenient, especially for working parents, sometimes it may be impossible to get anything done. For this specific reason, I recommend using time blocks throughout the day.
Time blocking is a way of scheduling that allows you to better manage your time and focus on one task at a time. Adding time blocks to your calendar is the easiest method to give your day structure. Block out specific times for meetings, emails, work time, research, and my personal favorite, 15 minutes to just stop and think. Utilizing tailored time blocks will help you find the happy medium in retaining consistent workflow and productivity while also balancing the natural interruptions that may come with remote work.
3. Find your “place”
Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you can work from anywhere, like from bed. Whether you’re an entrepreneur that’s always on the road or an employee that prefers to work from home, it’s critical to have a designated space where you can focus and get things done.
Personally, I utilize my home office for meetings, phone calls and designated work time. For those of you that may not have a home office or travel frequently, finding your “place” could mean trying out an accessible co-working space or camping out at a local coffee shop or café. Regardless of your workspace of choice, make sure your designated “place” allows you to feel motivated and ready to tackle any task.
4. Know when to log off
Don’t fool yourself. Just because you’re working from home or on the road doesn’t mean you should always be working. Some people love to boast about working all hours of the night, which can make them seem extremely productive. Regardless of what you hear, it’s not healthy or fair to the other people and responsibilities in your life.
It’s absolutely vital to set time parameters around your work. Not only will it help avoid unnecessary burnout, it will also increase your overall productivity because you know your time is limited. Don’t be stubborn or foolish, be realistic by setting end times and stick to them.
5. Stay Connected
Let’s be real, you need people in your life that you can interact with. Whether it’s a video call or an in-person meet up, make sure you take the time to interact with others in the “real world.” I’ve found that being surrounded by others that you can connect with can dramatically help increase your morale and overall productivity.
One tip I have found to be highly effective is to establish check-ins with coworkers, managers or business partners once per week or multiple times per week. This time will allow you the chance to review goals, address concerns, give or receive feedback, and most importantly, feel connected to others.
The transition from a structured office to a flexible remote work style can be difficult at first. However, if you rely on these five tips, you can introduce proven methods that will allow you to be highly productive without even needing to step foot into the office.