A Few Tips & Tricks That Have Helped Me Work Remotely
Wake up at the same time each day. Have a morning pattern. Don’t wear socks. (Not a great start, but it gets better. I promise. ☺)
- Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have a commute. In Austin, that’s anywhere from an hour to eternity. I like to get up a little early, take 20 minutes to get my place squared away, clean and study something interesting to me (Spanish, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People). It’ll get your brain firing on something you’re really excited about and works as a perfect transition to sitting down at the desk and getting a move on!
Now for some actually useful stuff..
- If you mostly work on the web, open a clean browser window and minimize your second, third or fourth messy window(s). Try to keep just 2–3 project related tabs open. It helps me focus and forces away the clutter of 40 pinned tabs waiting to distract me at any moment.
- Listen to some old music. I love music. I love finding new music, but I also like to carefully listen to new songs/albums I find. Take a look back at some tunes you don’t have to pay attention to. It’ll keep your mind focused on your work and not on the next convo you’ll be having discussing the merits of “their new album”. Pro Tip: Search Rdio Playlists. Pick a year. Be nostalgic.
- Give https://coffitivity.com/ a chance. It may just be me, but having NPR, or a Podcast and Coffitivity running gives my brain the lush feeling that things are getting done. It focuses me on my tasks and keeps me comfortable.
- Drink some warm water with lemon in the morning. Not a tip. It’s just amazing!
- Find a coffeeshop nearby. Even if it’s not the coolest, hippest place in all of Austin (Epoch), you’ll want somewhere you can quickly escape to when you find yourself restless at home.
- Find the dopest coffeeshop in town (or a bunch of them). It feels great to be surrounded by smart people getting smart stuff done. You’ll need it. Find a few and mix it up each week. Become a regular. Get a punch card.
- Get dressed.
- (Or don’t). Somedays sweatpants are just the way to go.☺ Take advantage of it, just don’t tell anyone you’re doing it. ;) If you’re having trouble feeling “professional,” throw a dress shirt on and get clean. It can be a great motivator.
- Open a window. Hear the city (if you work near a city). Listen to the movement, the cars, the honking. Hear the people. It’s a great way to get motivated. Stuff’s getting done out there, so let’s get some work done in here.
- Take breaks. You took them at the office. Take them at home. Walk around the block. Move your legs. Call your parents!
- Set a timer. I use Alinof Timer. It’s not fancy. You don’t need it, but when there’s no one around its much more difficult to feel the pressure of the job. Race yourself to get that last line of code in. When you beat the clock, reward yourself.
- Take advantage of DND (Do Not Disturb). There’s nothing quite like it possible in the office. You are in a bubble. You have the possibility to work for hours straight without any real interruption. It’s beautiful. It’s dangerous. Make use of it when you can. Don’t let yourself get caught up answering all messages, tweets, google hangouts, emails. It’s busy work and you have stuff to do!
- Get out and exercise right after work (or at lunch). You don’t have a commute. You don’t have to shower (please shower ☺). Use that hour before your friends get out of work to sneak in a run. Exercise (of course), gives you the energy you need to stay positive when you have many, many fewer interactions with people each day.
- Standups. Check in with the office at the same time each day. Our office has team standups around 9–10am every day. It gives you a quick chance to video chat, see the team, and remind them you’re still a real person (you’re still a real person right?). Enjoy them.
- Get a plant and keep your place clean. Remind yourself this room is also your office. You wouldn’t treat it like that (or maybe you would). Who doesn’t like a plant to say hello to every morning. Name it “Cinnamon.” Take care of it. It’s your new best friend.
- Force yourself to get real human interaction. Make sure you still head to Happy Hours at least once a week, if you’re into that sort of thing, or a Meetup, if you’re new to a city. You’ll need to flex those vocal cords and conversation skills every so often. (They will deteriorate. letme . i know i.t happens.) ☺
- Start writing. You have extra time. It’s a life changer.
Fortunately, these aren’t the only ways to stay motivated while working at home. I can’t imagine all the amazing ways people much smarter than I have managed the opportunity. These work for me. I hope they help!
(Thanks for the motivation Randi!)