Testing the Limits of Remote Work

Matt Mitchell
May 10 · 4 min read

Millennial Moves

At the age of 24, I took a risky career move. I chose to leave the lavish work environment of a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep and jump on the bandwagon of remote work. I was spending countless hours per day traveling to and from sales calls and typically less than 60 seconds pitching my products. I wanted to find an opportunity where my long hours were spent more effectively.

After starting my new, remote position as a Sales Engineer, I found the first few months to be a very testing experience. What time should I wake up? Could I go to the gym in the middle of the day? Do I have to wear pants? There was a certain amount of self-discipline that needed to be established if I was going to succeed in this new setting… and I definitely needed a standup desk.

Over the course of the next 6–12 months, I began experimenting with daily routines, metrics, and goals. As my schedule became boring or repetitive, I’d switch it up and test a new theory. There were many highs and lows, but overall, I crafted a process that seemed to work for me. I was waking up early, starting my day at the gym, and at my desk, fully online by 7:30 am. I’d typically sign off by 7:00 pm each night, just in time for dinner. This structure went on for the next two years before I hit a wall hard.

The Valley

Earlier this year, I woke up to a reality check of my current performance. It wasn’t pretty, and what was more alarming is that I didn’t even see it coming. My numbers had dropped significantly and I had fallen to the bottom of my sales team. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to turn it all around: 90 days to get my act together and provide strong, consistent results. This all seemed pretty straightforward except… we just bought a van.

My girlfriend and I had recently decided to sell all of our belongings, buy a cargo van, convert it to be a livable home, and travel the country. The decision to travel on wheels was inspired by the addition of our rescue dog Sawyer, who has always led us off the beaten path. Combining our passion for outdoor adventure and spending time together was a real possibility in the van. This had been our dream for the past two years and when it finally became a reality, my career hit a low point. Great time to mess up, right? I was completely torn with the decision to choose between my professional and personal futures. Do I cancel the van plan to save my career? Do I drop everything and drive away from my problems? Instead of choosing, I decided to take them both head on.

I began by refactoring my mindset, goals, and performance on a meticulous level. Keeping a physical journal of my daily metrics allowed me to remain accountable for my actions and inactions. Having a grasp of my daily output gave me the clarity to set motivational and scalable goals. I was even able to get more work done in less time than my previous schedule. I also realized that this style of work is what has allowed me to turn the van dream into reality. My mindset shifted from having to work while life passed me by to getting to work so that I could live the life I imagined.

The Journey Continues

As I hit my three year anniversary of working remotely, I am pleased to report the 90-day program is complete and I’ve increased my sales performance by over 100%. Not only did I deliver on my promises, I far surpassed my own expectations, as well as many others. My improvements enabled me to make a drastic leap from the bottom to the top. By creating this stronger foundation, it has allowed me to provide better financial security for our new life on wheels, while also utilizing my enhanced performance to be considered for promotional opportunities.

Living in a van and working on the road has reshaped my idea of minimalism and has helped me to prioritize my goals in a healthier way. Shedding the expectations of others has given me the opportunity to focus on myself for the first time. It still baffles me that I get to wake up each morning with a new scenic view, while also being able to work full-time. It has become clear that by maximizing my personal happiness, it fuels my professional growth.

I plan on utilizing this 90-day mindset moving forward and hope others will find value in this method as well. I have simply turned the page in my journal to achieve even larger goals in the next quarter. Tracking daily performance, taking accountability, and creating scalable goals have proven to be successful tools for me, but what works for you? I challenge you to create your own 90-day program or daily accountability schedule. You don’t have to drop everything and live in a van down by the river, but don’t be afraid to shake things up and test the limits of your environment. This program could be effective for your current job, side projects, or for that day-dream you’ve been putting off. Sometimes the best results come from simply reshaping our priorities, creating a picture of the success we want, and taking steps to make it happen.

Wishing you an adventurous journey on the road of life.

Cheers,

Matt

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