I’m going to tell you this from the beginning: Working remotely can be more difficult to handle than it may seem. It’s not always easy. And even the most seasoned work-from-home employees can sometimes struggle.

I’ve been working from home for nearly a decade now (possibly many more by the time you read this). For everyone who’s been working remotely for a few years now, the change from an in-office to a remote job wasn’t as unanticipated as the one you might be facing now. Naturally, we had more time to prepare, learn about its challenges and, consequently, not think that remote work is horrible.

With the current world situation, working remotely is no longer the future of work. It’s a present situation many of us are facing right now. Companies have switched to a fully-distributed team for the time being but not everyone in a team is prepared for the sudden switch. In this article, I’ve used my own honest experience to bring you a unique guide to working remotely,

So whether you’re new to working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, or just need a refresher, follow this handy guide or my tried and true tips for working remotely and learn how to do it like a pro.

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Learn how to make the most of remote working and harness its power!!

1. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Having a healthy work-life balance is of an importance aspect to maintain a healthy balance between our work roles and personal and family life. We can only achieve this by managing our professional and personal life in a sustainable ways that keep our energy flowing, our minds and bodies healthy and make ourselves happy and content.

Having the workplace “with you” at home can be tempting to over-work yourself. It’s super easy to cross the fine line and become a workaholic. You’ll lie to yourself that it’s just one more task, one more feature, one more email, and so on. Then, you look back and find out that you spent the majority of your time working.

So, what are some ways to improve the work-life balance?

  • Unplug yourself after work – Don’t be afraid to close and ignore everything work-related after work. You don’t have to be available 24/7 for work. After all, the contract specifies eight working hours (most of the time), right?
  • Make time for yourself and loved ones – If something happens to you tomorrow, it’s not the company that will take care of you. It’s your family, friends and loved ones. They’re precious, more precious than any job. Make time for them and spend time with them. It’s priceless, and I learnt that the hard way.
  • Set working hours – Do you want to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Then do so, but don’t cross those work hours. Answering emails, thinking about upcoming projects and so on, can be stay on hold until the next working day.
  • Enjoy your time off – In tech, it’s a crazy world (sometimes). It feels like you either are working or learning in your free time to keep up with the tech world. That’s a one-way ticket to burnout and stress. Even though it’s fine to learn and code in your free time, don’t make it all about that. Take time off to de-stress, relax and recharge yourself.

The above list is not exhaustive, and there are many ways to create or improve your work-life balance. However, they are the pillars of my work-life balance.

2. Limit Distractions to Boost Your Efficiency

From your comfy couch and a nostalgic Fuller House binge-watching session, to playing with your pet, there can be endless distractions when you work from home.

So how can you avoid wasting time and maximize productivity?

  • Declutter your work place: One of the most important steps is to de-clutter and keep your work area distractions-free. Remove your phone, wallet, tablet, game console and whatever distracts you. The fewer distractions you have, the more productive you are. Remove anything that decreases your productivity.
  • Get Your Family on Board: Explain to everyone in the household the importance of respecting a closed office door.
  • Get rid of temptations. Close computer tabs not in use (hardest to do). Consider web browser plug-ins that block specific sites such as social media platforms during the time you’re working. Refrain from turning on the TV “just for a minute,” and definitely don’t install one near your work area.
  • Write it down: I keep a pad of paper next to my computer to jot down extraneous thoughts and it helps me to eliminate the fear that I’ll forget something important if I didn’t act upon it right now

3. Make a Schedule to set up each day

Make a schedule to set up each day. If you work better in the morning, try to find some extra time in the morning. If you work better at night, do it the night time. The main point is to find the time where you can be at your best and carry out focused work!

Besides being at your best, find the time when you can do uninterrupted work. It’s super important to find a time when you’re less likely to be interrupted. The more other people/distractions interrupt you, the less work you’ll be able to do.

In my case, My mind is sharpest during the early morning hours because I’m less prone to distraction and overwhelm whenever I’m able to accomplish three hours of deep work before the sun rises. However, it differs from person to person. Keep experimenting and explore what works best for you. There is no universal path that works for all of us. The main point is that you can spend focused, uninterrupted time on your work by establishing a schedule.

4. Get Organized With A Bullet Journal To Do List

Being productive during your workday takes some planning, and a lack of structure can lead to feeling aimless, overwhelmed, or on-call 24/7. Unloading your brain is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Trying to keep everything in your head can make us stressed out and chances are we forget important information.

Get in the habit of creating tomorrow’s to-do list before calling it a day, while information is still fresh in your mind. Then, you can jump right into things upon your return instead of trying to remember where you left off.

You can use to do list applications to take notes and unload your brain. In my case, I use Samsung built-in application t because it has more features and is, therefore, more practical. I always note everything in my journals and to-do lists. This way I use my energy for more important tasks. I strongly recommend you to keep a journal or/and a task list. Note everything there to empty your brain.

5. Improve Your Time Management Skills

No one likes to feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish all that you’d like to. So, time-management skills are essential, primarily when you work remotely.

Here are few steps to improve time-management skills.

  • Start Big and work your way down: The first thing you need do to improve your time-management skills is to prioritize tasks. If you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. You need to discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else. As Mark Twain once said:

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Simply put, if you have several tasks to do, tackle the biggest or hardest one first.

Mark Twain

Personally, I break my daily tasks into smaller pieces to accomplish more. This consistent, small efforts adds up over time a big result. The steps, in the moment, don’t seem significant, but believe me the results are massive.
So try this proven trick to increase productivity and achieve more.

  • Delegate Tasks to others: Another way you can try is to delegate tasks that other people can do. Why try to do everything when you can unload yourself and delegate some work? This is easier said than done, but it would be great if you could delegate your tasks.
  • Stop Multitasking: Thirdly, focus on one task at a time. As irresistible as multitasking might seem, it’s really not the most efficient way for you to get your work done. Its a great way to do many things and never finish them. Or produce poor quality. In a world where multi-tasking is glorified, try to be a single-tasker. Finish one job before moving onto another one.

Conclusion: Do Your Best Work

In the end, remember one thing not everyday needs to be perfect. We’re only human, and some days, we means not getting it all done. Remote work is typically a highly productive way to work, and that’s why it may feel even worse to have a day where your productivity isn’t at its maximum. Some days, when I feel unfocused and stressed out, and be off the game. I unplug myself and and make it a relaxing day to recharge myself.

Whether you’re new to working remotely or you’ve been doing it for years, I hope these tips will help you maximize your workday remotely.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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