Working remotely is a great way to save money and have more control over your schedule. But it can also be much harder than people think.
For the most productive work environment, consider the following tips for staying focused at your remote workspace, be it at home, in a coworking café, or at a hotel. Let's start by talking about an often overlooked truth.
Working remotely can be hard
Working remotely can be a challenge. You have to be disciplined, organized, and able to focus. You ideally need a quiet workspace that’s free of distractions. And you need to be strict with taking breaks because working too long without any breaks can be detrimental to your health.
Remember: Take regular breaks
Be clear about your working hours
The next step to being successful at working remotely is to set your working hours and stick to them. Don't work right after you wake up and are too tired, distracted, or even hungry. Give yourself the time to actually wake up physically and mentally. As your workspace is usually close to you when your work remotely, you might tend to not take the time you usually take when you go to an office. In that situation, you have the commute, which some people use to listen to podcasts or read a book. You can also read a book, or listen to a podcast before working while working remotely, you just have to make time for this. If you do, then chances are that tasks you are working on will be done faster and with a clear mind, as you are well rested and well fed.
Plan your day as early as you can
One of the most important things you can do when working remotely is to plan your day. Use a calendar or planner, and put in all of your appointments, meetings, and other tasks for the day ahead of time. Before you start working on any task, make sure that it’s on your schedule for today.
You can also make it a ritual of sharing your weekly tasks with your team. Planning ahead allows you to be more productive and efficient because it forces you to prioritize what needs to get done today versus the other things required of you at some point in the future.
Set aside time for your most challenging tasks first thing
There are four hours in the day that matter most to your productivity. If you can't get your most important tasks done during this time, it's likely that they'll never get done.
The first hour of your day sets the tone for everything else. You should do your most challenging work at this point and make sure that everything else gets out of the way!
Take time off throughout the day
Because you're working remotely, it's easy to feel like you're always working. You need to take breaks throughout the day in order to stay focused and productive.
Here are some suggestions:
- Go outside and enjoy the fresh air during a walk through the park
- Do little home workout exercises in between working sessions
- Take a nap (if you can)
- Play games, to get your mind off work
Don't take on too much at once
You might be tempted to take on the world, but don't get ahead of yourself. Just because you're working remotely doesn't mean that you don't need to prioritize your tasks and make sure that you aren't over-extending yourself.
If there's too much work for one day, don't feel bad about saying no or setting a task aside until another day. It can be easy to get distracted by other things when working remotely, and it's important not to let them take priority over whatever it is that needs doing.
Again: Be sure to take breaks periodically throughout the day so that your brain has some time away from its current project—and those breaks should be set in stone!
Stay focused while working remotely by keeping a consistent workspace in mind
If your workspace is a mess, you're more likely to be distracted by the chaos. If your workspace is uncomfortable or cramped, it's also going to be hard for you to stay focused. So it's crucial that you take the time to set up a workspace that will encourage productivity.
To start with:
- Keep your desk clear of clutter (and don't use it as storage space). Clutter can lead to distraction and frustration, so keep any papers or other items on shelves or in drawers until they're needed.
- Choose comfortable furniture that supports good posture and allows for movement throughout the day—an ergonomic chair is especially important for this. This might be challenging in some places like hotel rooms, or cafés, but try to make it a habit to think about your comfort if you are sitting for several hours at your laptop.
- Make sure there is plenty of space near where you work so there aren't any wires running behind furniture in an unsightly way, or worse yet, tangled around each other.
You need to be disciplined when it comes to remote work
It can be really helpful to keep a regular schedule and be upfront with yourself about your needs when it comes to working at home. If you have a regular schedule and keep yourself organized, it will be much easier to work remotely. If you are disciplined and know what your needs are as far as equipment goes, you'll have an easier time being productive and focused on your tasks.
What do you do to stay on task and the most out of the day? Share it and tag us on LinkedIn over at Doozyhq!
- New York Times - How to Make the Most of Your Workday
- The Wallstreet Journal - How to Be More Productive at Work