Rethinking Remote - Tips on How To Do Remote Work Radically Better

I believe the cloud-based gig economy is the future. And because of the corona, the future is now.

Whether you’re

  • student
  • entrepreneur
  • normal employee
The current situation made you a remote worker.
Working remotely is a skill.
The skill you can learn if you wish to.
It’s also the KEY skill for the future.
I personally work remotely (with twists here and there) my whole working life.
In this article, I will share with you the WHY and HOW of remote work, so you can accelerate your mastering of this skill. 

Table of Contents

Why should you work remotely?

Flexibility is 🔥

  • Do you want to hit the gym in the middle of your working day?
  • Do you need to pick up the kids from school after lunch?
  • Do you want to spend some time with your partner in the morning? 

No problem.

The “home office” is perfectly prepared for this.

The flexibility brings the biggest advantages, but also the biggest wiles of remote working.

Let’s discuss both, and start with the advantages.

1. Absence of commuting

In the context of a day, it’s not a huge thing.

40 minutes on the train is not that bad (Even though in reality it’s like 1 hour), or is it?

If you do the math, you’ll see how the sh*t compounds. 

1 hour a day is 20 hours every month, or 240 hours every year.

Not even mention, that this includes the morning (the most productive) hours. And keep in mind, that some people spend much more time on their way.

Try to imagine, what could be done with the 200 hours of highly productive time…

  • a book?
  • 25 books read?
  • learning a high-income skill?
  • prototype of THAT application?

You name it.

2. Ability to change your environment to boost your productivity

Warren Buffet moved from New York to Ohio to think more clearly.

In his own words:

"It’s very easy to think clearly here. You’re undisturbed by irrelevant factors and the noise generally of business investments. If you can’t think clearly in Omaha, you’re not going to think clearly anyplace."

But even the changing of the room you work in may have the “Oklahoma effect” on your productivity.

Also, avoiding distractions is not the only way of how to boost your productivity.

Maybe you can boost your productivity by:

  • swimming in the sea every morning
  • skiing every afternoon
  • working in the forest

Remote work allows you to melt your holidays with your working time, and take the best from both.

3. Whether you like it or not, the remote way is the future way (and you can still be an early adopter)

The economic incentive for companies (mainly in the absence of the need of renting the offices) is strong.

All the remote tools are there, and corona showed, that almost every company is able to work using them (at least all non-manual jobs).

As Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group said:

“In 30 years time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed.”

I think the evidence is strong, and it’s always better to be an early adopter today than being “a forced adopter” 10 years from now.

Despite all the benefits discussed, the remote work is not just a walk through the rose garden.

To be fair, let’s talk about the remote demons.

Before we dive into it...

If you like the idea of giving a go to remote work, you can subscribe using the form below and and get the free “Freelance Start” e-book.

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Flexibility as a double-edged sword

When people consider switching to the home office, they often think about the benefits mentioned above.

Yet, the reality then looks often like this:

You oversleep (as you don’t have to wake up), get out of bed at 10 AM. You made your first coffee and turn on the computer. While sipping your coffee you start scrolling Facebook when the interesting video caught your attention… Suddenly it’s 11:20 and you start getting hungry – without working a single minute.

The fixed schedule is inflexible but it’s still a schedule that helps you to stay on track and make boundaries between work and home.

How to fight this?

Make the routine. If you’re serious about remote working you need to make the routine. It’s not optional.

It’s also the most efficient way of how you can fight the other threats of a home office like isolation, and online distractions as well.

how to do remote work

How to set up a good routine?

A good routine provides you with

  • structure,
  • boundaries,
  • and the right mindset.

And it gets easier with time, as it becomes a habit.

So how to start tapping into its immense power?

First, create a bad routine. You need to start with something. Stop reading, take a piece of paper and create the routine based on your instincts.

Really, give it a go.

In the next parts, I will provide you with some tips on how can you support the different parts of your routine.

How to Do Remote Work: Support the Structure

a) Plan the night before

This is the most powerful “hack”. Planning the night before allows you to wake up, and immediately start working. You don’t have to spend your valuable mental capacity on thinking about what to do. You can squeeze your most productive working hours on the most important things instead.

b) Day into blocks - deep work/collaboration/emails

The only rule I try to follow is to do the hardest work the first thing in the morning.

My day blocks are usually distributed like this:

  • 1st + 2nd writing
  • 3rd + 4th outreach / emails / creating website
  • 5th Twitter
  • 6th + 7th creating websites

You can work in a smaller amount of longer blocks, or a bigger amount of shorter blocks.

I like it this way.

So pick whatever you want to, but give blocks a chance.

c) Weekly planning

If you struggle with planning your days, start with planning the whole week.

That will give you a rough idea of what you need to get done every particular day.

Then you can break it into attainable units… and win.

That’s the answer for the “how to do remote work question.

P.S. Tip from @RawIdeology

2) How to Do Remote Work: Support the Boundaries

a) Different computers

If you can work on one computer (your laptop), and spend your free time on another (like your IPad) give it a go.

If you’re on a budget, create two profiles on your computer. One that you use solely for working purposes, and second that you use solely in your free time.

b) Different places

Changing places supports creativity and it helps you to fight isolation.

The home office doesn’t mean you got to be at home.

are some of the working options.

If you think about how to do remote work better, give changing places a chance.

It also doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Experiment with flexibility. Try working morning at home, and the afternoon at the library.

You got nothing to lose, and there’s a good chance you will uncover the working pattern for you. Take the chance to answer the question of how to do remote work better.

Tip. Even if you’re at home try to work with the coffee sounds audio background, for some, it works similarly to actually being there.

how to do remote work

P.S. Tip from @WritingToRiches

2) How to Do Remote Work: Improve the Mindset

a) Working remotely is a skill

You should keep this in mind because as with every skill, the way of learning is not linear or easy. Don’t let the obstacles and failures discourage you.

Rather don’t expect to be the best remote worker straight away, and use the failures productively is actionable feedback. 

How to do remote work better is the question you can mostly answer by the practice and failures.

b) Procrastination is feedback as well

When you work from home you have to motivate yourself. The routine helps, but still, you need the inner motivation to do the things needed.

Even though you have deadlines, usually you don’t have the screaming boss over your head who would push you to finish the work.

If you’re one of the people who procrastinate in the home office setting much more than in normal work, don’t hate yourself for it.

Procrastination is just feedback about your routine, or about how much you enjoy your work.

Both may be super useful if used right and help you to answer not only the how to do remote work, but also what work should you do in the first place.

That's it. Here's the short summarization of the article:

  1. Remote work is the future of work, and it will be a huge competitive advantage to get good at it (now)
  2. Remote work is the skill to be mastered, not an ability or trait that you either have or have not
  3. Remote provides you with many benefits e.g. flexibility. Yet, there are many traps like the easiness of procrastination, or isolation.
  4. Routine is the ultimate tool that will help you to reap the benefits and fight the hidden threads.
  5. You should create your own routine asap, and later improve it based on real-world feedback. How to work remotely is a question that can be answered by creating a good routine.
  6. Being productive when working from home may not be easy, but it’s definitely doable. Thousands of hours you will possibly save because of the absence of commuting (and things like non-sense work meetings) are worthy. So invest the time into learning the remote working skill, and be patient with yourself.

Do you have some tip of your own, on how to do remote work better?

Let me know in comments

2 Responses

  1. Working from home brings other issues too.

    You’ll want to make sure your technology is similar to the office. (dual monitors etc)

    Another thing you need is a good chair.

    Without a good chair, your body and work ethic will suffer.

    1. Yes, the ergonomy, as well as the “feeling” of the home set, is super important.

      Also the standing desk is definitely something I would like to get soon…

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