5 Easy Tips for Working Remotely (And Actually Being Productive)
Late mornings, total freedom, working everywhere from Venice, Italy to Venice Beach—the only problem with working remotely is ACTUALLY WORKING REMOTELY. We put together 5 easy tips for crushing remote work and being more productive than you ever were in the office.
As one of the most agile and forward-thinking companies around (pats self on back), we work with our fair share of remote employees and contractors. So, we can easily see who gets their stuff done and puts the “remote” in remote work.
We talked to our work-from-anywhere wizards and put together these top tips from the best in the business.
1)Treat Remote Working like a Real Job
Does wearing a suit and tie actually make you a better president, CEO, lawyer, or cheap men’s fashion hawker at the mall?
So why all the fancy dress? It’s because it shows you care. It shows you mean business. Just because you CAN lay in your underwear all day and work from your bed with your laptop on your chest doesn’t mean you should. The #1 tip for being more productive while working from home is to treat it like a real job.
You don’t have to dress to the nines, but be professional even if you don’t leave the house. Wake up at a decent hour, shower (please shower), wear something presentable and sit down at a desk to work just like you normally would.
Speaking of a desk….
2) Have a Working Area (Not Where You Sleep)
This might make things tough if you don’t have a studio but do everything you can not to work where you sleep. Not only is it depressing, most freelancers and work-at-home heroes agree that working remotely from their bedroom makes them less productive. It goes with #1—if you feel like you’re having a day off, you’ll work that way.
Try to work from the kitchen, a home office, or a nearby cafe or coworking space if you can afford one.
Your work area should also be equipped with the right tools. You’ll definitely need to jump in on virtual calls while working remotely. So, find the video conferencing app and best webcam to ensure that you’re always equipped and ready!
3) Airplane Mode and Rewards Programs
Work remotely takes discipline. When there’s nobody stopping you from playing your Xbox, getting back in bed, or just leaving for the dog park all day to humblebrag about your cool job and how it’s helped you bond better with your Alaskan Malamute (named Hrothgar), you’ve got to get creative. Here’s one technique that’s helped our freelancers be super productive:
- Dream up your reward – A coffee, a meal, a walk, a nap—it’s up to you.
- Go into airplane mode – Turn off the distractions and get to work. Start small. Try 30 minutes first.
- Reap your reward – When time is up, feed your media addiction quickly and indulge in your reward.
- Repeat – Self-explanatory.
This is pretty much the Pomodoro technique….just with cool rewards worked in.
4) Use Your Peak to Your Advantage
Remote contractors work at all hours from all corners of the globe, but the best ones know how to use their peak to be more productive. Some people are morning people and others don’t get out of bed till noon. Some can work all night, and some are best after their afternoon gym run.
You know better than anyone when your brain is functioning at its highest level. Get your best, most challenging work done in that time. The rest of the day will be cake. If you have a work schedule or evening activities with your office slave friends, it makes it easier to plan your day out.
Pro Tip: Always leave an easy task to start the next day off with. Editing blogs, scheduling meetings, a quick conference call, etc. If you’re writing a blog, get the meat of it done to finish your day and leave the easy part for the morning. Accomplishing something easy sets off your reward receptors and motivates you to be more productive.
5) Enjoy This Amazing Opportunity
Don’t just work remotely to lay in bed longer than you usually would. The more you enjoy your lifestyle, the more you’ll love it and the more productive you’ll be. Some remote workers travel incessantly and post Instagram pics that are just there to make friends jealous (don’t be these people), but there are a ton of ways to enjoy your freedom:
- Take language courses at a cafe
- Get some lunchtime yoga in at home
- Go to the dog park and brag about your Malamute again
- Take a road trip and stop to work at cafes along the way
- Take a break and visit family
- Get chores done to impress your partner and earn brownie points
- Do occasionally take a lazy day at home as a reward (just be judicious about it)
Working remotely is an amazing opportunity that we could barely dream of even two decades ago. Now, it’s a growing phenomenon across the world. Even though it’s amazingly awesome in every way, actually being productive is a real challenge. And if you can’t be productive, you won’t be doing it for very long.
Use these tips for being productive with your remote work! They’re the only 5 you’ll ever need.
For more articles on working remotely, check out:
Soda PDF Anywhere is a great tool for working remotely! Work on PDF documents from your desktop at home, or from a web browser while on the go.