So you’ve nailed the interview and been offered the job… now what? Congrats, you’re a remote worker! Getting used to the new gig may take some time, as there are some major adjustments that every new remote worker must get used to now that they’re freed from the office and working independently in their home.
One of the biggest and most common difficulties that we’ve heard when talking to remote workers is that when they first began the remote lifestyle, they struggled with being productive. Seems crazy, right? After all, with total freedom to work when you want and where you want, you would think that your productivity would be off the charts. And the fact is, once a remote worker settles into a healthy workflow, that’s usually the case. A recent TINYpulse survey reported that 91% of remote workers found that they got more work done when working remotely. That’s a huge stat, and it’s not one that should be overlooked.
So what’s the problem then when it comes to workers who are just beginning their remote careers? As it turns out, structure plays a vital role in getting work done. The next question, naturally, is “how does one create structure while in engaging in a fulfilling and flexible remote position?” Well, we’ve rounded up the top five things that the most productive remote workers have in common to help provide some useful tips for those who are new to the game.
1) They Set Rules and Keep to Them
Just because remote workers don’t have to stick to a nine to five schedule doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t create a schedule for themselves. The flexibility of remote working is a beautiful thing, and it can allow you to utilize the parts of the week, and more specifically, parts of the day, you find yourself to be most energized and ready to work.
The most productive remote workers create schedules for themselves and keep to them as much as possible, guaranteeing that they’ll have the time to get their work completed. Whether it’s working ten hours a day from Monday through Thursday, or working four hours in the morning and two hours in the evening every day of the week, so long as there’s consistency and structure, you’ve got a winning formula.
It’s hard to be productive when you’re not feeling enthusiastic about whatever it is you’re doing, and you’re not going to feel enthusiastic about what you’re doing unless you love what it is you’re doing. True, almost every job has some amount of tasks that aren’t that fun for everyone. If you’re able to recognize the love you have for the field or the larger project at hand, you’ll be able to speed through those repetitive and detail-driven tasks.
Similarly to creating a schedule, having a routine is important for remote workers, as it can trigger the brain and go into “work mode” on a regular basis. For example, if you’ve decided that you want to work mornings, choose a time at which you want to begin and decide what you will do both before you begin working and after you begin working. Perhaps you want to wake-up, go for a jog, have breakfast, and then spend twenty minutes checking your emails, followed by a full-day of working. Or maybe it’s better for you to wake-up and spend an hour immediately responding to emails, then break for breakfast and have a walk around the block before you dig deep into your work. Figure out what works for you.
In order to be productive, you have to know what’s going on. That makes keeping an up-to-date and detailed calendar pivotal in the life of a productive remote worker. Along with keeping a calendar with all of your important deadlines, meetings, vacation days, and whatever else you have going on, you also want to be sure that you’re reading that calendar on a daily basis so that you are aware of upcoming happenings.
One smart way to go about this is by beginning every work day by taking a thorough look at your calendar and revisiting it every time you need to add a new event to it. Additionally, be sure to take a look at your calendar once more before you finish working for the day so that you can be sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
While productive remote workers clearly know how to be “on” while they’re completing assignments and communicating with their employers, they also know how to “turn off” when the end of the work day approaches. It may seem contradictory to being productive when you first think about it, but being able to shut off your brain when you’re done working actually allows it the rest that it needs so that you’ll be able to function at your full capacity during the next workday.
Some of the most productive remote workers set boundaries for themselves where they refuse to even check their email after they’ve “clocked out” for the day. With the exception of emergencies (in which case, make sure your employer has a phone number that you can always be contacted at), you shouldn’t be working twenty-four seven, as it’s a surefire way to burn out quickly.
Originally written by Chelsey Grasso at Remote.com