Working remotely tends to be a big challenge. That way of working differs greatly from what most people are used to. Fortunately, by having some simple things in mind we can become just as or even more productive than working in the office.
Here are some points that should help you out the most.
Create a schedule
It’s hard to stay organized without having some sort of schedule. Regular working hours, breaks and eating hours are essential if you want to have your day under control.
One good idea is to set up blocks of time in your calendar (for example google calendar). Mark your working hours, relaxing hours, eating hours and so on. Notifications on your phone will remind you about an upcoming block :)
Also, don’t forget to inform your teammates about your schedule, so they know when you’re available.
Invest in a good gear
You’ll spend a lot of time working in one place, good gear will save you a lot of time and aches. There is no point in saving on equipment that you use on day to day basis, the investment you make will pay off multiple times in the future.
In my opinion, these are the essentials:
- a chair that forces you to maintain a good posture
- good peripherals (keyboard, mouse/trackpad, high-quality screens)
- big, comfortable desk
- good lighting
If you want to protect your eyes you can also turn on blue lighting filter (like night shift on macOS) — it’ll take a while before you’ll get used to it, but in the long term, your eyes will thank you :)
Stay in a good shape
Sitting long hours before a computer is detrimental to your health. Luckily it’s easy to remember about frequent breaks by using a Pomodoro technique.
Simply set a timer to 25 minutes, focus and work during that time, once the timer is up you take a 5-minute break. It’s a good idea to use that 5-minute break for some light exercises like squats, push-ups or jumping jacks. After 5 minutes pass, you repeat the entire process :)
Remove distractions and clutter
Try to set up a workspace dedicated to working. Preferably it should be a separate room used only for work-related things. If you’re not alone in your home, consider putting a hotel-like hanger on your door with a “don’t disturb” sign on it, so your householders know not to disturb you without an important reason.
It’s also important to remove distractions on the computer itself. Here are a few things that you can try:
- consider turning on “do not disturb” mode on Slack when you need to focus, that way you can snooze all your distracting notifications
- if you tend to lose focus on your work for example by browsing social media, you can install a website blocker such as Freedom, it allows you to create lists of websites that you want to block as well as schedules when you want to block them :)
- if you’re drowning in opened tabs in your browser after a while, you can consider installing an extension called xTab. It allows you to set a limit of tabs that you can open at the time
Stay in touch with other people
As humans, we are social creatures, some of us are more social than others, but still, it’s important to keep in touch with other people (well, not literally at the moment). It’s easy to fall into a nerd mode, where you’re just at your computer doing your things 24/7, but that’s the quickest path to burning out. Make sure to talk with other people during the day (about non-work-related things preferably :) )
Don’t be so hard on yourself
If you’re just starting out working remotely — take it easy! It will take some time to get used to the new situation. You can’t expect to give 100% out of yourself during the first days (or even weeks). Step by step, try to implement the earlier tips into your work, one at a time.
PS: If you liked this article, feel free to check out my blog!