28 Jun 2016

How to Work Remote and Actually Get Things Done

As I speak to candidates across almost all industries I have started to notice some common ground; everyone is looking for a remote job. In an online world, there are jobs that really don’t need any sort of brick and mortar operation. Not to mention, if I can get the job at home then why would I endure the soul-draining commute.

But with the remote working world comes with the feeling of needing to be plugged in at all times. Never taking a break from your phone, picking up calls after hours, and even checking emails hourly on the weekends. Working remote is almost like being an entrepreneur.

How do you find balance when you don’t have solid work hours?

You need to find some self-control. Before even taking¬† remote job, you need to make sure that you have the self-control to actually work with little to no rules. This is not the self-control that can be cultivated in an normal office, in fact not all of those in white collar jobs have what it takes. You have more responsibility not only to your boss, but also yourself. you need to make sure that you are getting things done and not procrastinating. If you think that it’s hard to ignore your phone at your desk now, imagine setting up a work station right next to your bed at home.

Learn how to structure your time and communication. Right off the bat, if you find yourself having a hard time setting up a schedule then talk to your boss and coworkers. When you work remote, no one knows if you’re in trouble with a task except for you. It can be very easy to spiral down the rabbit hole when you are working alone, but make sure you have open communication with those that can provide you with the tools and the tips to get back on track with your work.

Figure out your natural rhythms. Everyone has a natural sleep cycle and work cycle. I find that the beginning of my week is very slow and that I get little to no things done on Mondays. But come Wednesday my schedule starts to fill up again and I find myself working long hours every Friday (despite my hardest efforts). On the other spectrum, my Social Media Manager finds that she works best in the first half of the week, with her tasks starting to taper off towards the end of the week. If I forced her to work on my schedule despite being remote, then I would find that she was not as productive as she is currently.

Same thing goes for sleep patterns. Some people are early birds (me) and other people can stay up all night (my social media manager). Know when your peak productivity happens and start to work your day around that time period. When you have the ability to make your own hours, don’t force yourself to work at time that doesn’t make sense.

Figure out where you fit in best when it comes to workspaces. Some people need white noise, they need the activity behind them to recharge. Others need complete silence and solitude to recharge. Extroverts may find themselves working effectively at a Starbucks or in a campus library, a place where there is noise and conversation. Introverts may find that setting up an office in their dining room or a spare bedroom is the easiest way to maximize their productivity. Figure out what works best for you and then factor that into your schedule.

Don’t be afraid to make the world your office. Working remote is a privilege that not all of us can handle or enjoy to the fullest. I encourage those of you who work successfully remote to maximize that benefit to its fullest potential. Travel the world, see the sites, and bring your computer with you. Don’t be afraid to make the entire world your office. Work on the train in between European cities, or at YYZ before jetting off to Southeast Asia. Work on things that don’t always need wifi, make sure you get a travel package for your phone, and find wifi once a day to send off an update to your manager. See the sights, you have the ability to do it!

Know when quitting time is. When my Social Media Manager first started working with us she immediately reverted back to her college ways. She would take on a project and then start later on in the days, spending the entire night to do the project. While she may be a nighthawk, working all nighters isn’t good for your health or my bottom line. It was important that she set a personal boundary with herself to not work into the night. She ended up finding a groove working a little later into the night, but not sacrificing sleep to do it.

Working remote is an amazing opportunity and can help you find the balance in your life that you were looking for. Make sure to follow these tips so that you can be sure your maximizing your time and not running yourself ragged during the process.

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