It’s part-amusing, part-infuriating to read articles about remote work productivity that talks about transforming your work area at home into an office-like cubicle. This type of how-to articles mostly implies that the only way to be productive while working remotely is to mimic an office ambiance at home or wherever you are. While having your own work area or nook at home helps in establishing an effective work from home or wherever strategy, it isn’t the solution to everything.
If you’re part of the world of remote workers, here are some tips on who you can stay productive even without the conventional office cubicle.
Establish a routine that works for you best.
Even with the flexibility you have on your work schedule, make sure to set up your own “working hours.” Experiment and test which hours of the day you’re more pumped to work and finish all your tasks. Some workers do their fastest and best work during the wee hours of the morning while others prefer working at night. Test which time you’re most productive and stick with it. Once you have an established routine, it’ll be hard for you to break it because your mind, even your body, is already wired that at this certain hour or so, you’re going to work.
Set up a work area.
It doesn’t have to be similar to an office cubicle. A basic table and chair will do as long as your area is far from noise inside the house. Once you’ve set up a working area, make sure to keep the space organized. Avoid clutter and the infamous “organized chaos.” When your work area is easy on the eyes and not in any form of disarray, it’ll boost your drive to work better and even faster.
The worst thing about remotely working is a poor self-discipline. Even if you’re the best remote worker in your company, if you can’t keep up with your deadlines due to off and online distractions, then your overall performance will suffer. Have the discipline to turn away from social networking sites during your “working hours.” Instead of being tempted to check your Twitter or Instagram every now and then, make it a small incentive for yourself. If you finish work without distractions and on time, then you can quickly check all your social accounts promptly.
Keep in mind that you are an employee.
The only difference between you and an office guy/gal is you stay at home when you work. This means that you at a remote location have the same responsibilities to the company as them going to the office daily. Be respectful of the responsibilities you have. For instance, just because you don’t go to an actual/physical office means you can party all night or waste your time online that have nothing to do with work. All workers of the company, remote or not, must have keen attention and concentration to do your job. And if you’re out all night partying like there’s no tomorrow, then you can’t offer your 100 percent best when you “show up” for work.
Make a to-do list daily.
Even if you already know your routine and what you need to do, it’s still important and helpful to make a to-do list for your work assignments. Put a priority on what you have to accomplish first, and then go from there. Make the list either the night before or early morning. You can use an app for this or the tried-and-tested pen and paper. Each time you finish a task on the list, cross it out and before you know it, you’re done for the day.
Take a break.
Your mind, hands and eyes need a rest after a couple of hours working. Make sure to take these breaks to recondition your mind and body. Again, self-discipline plays a huge part here. Start with a 15-minute to eat your snack, play a mobile game, check your Facebook, or anything that can be done in 15 minutes.
This is in connection with the previous tip. When you take a break, don’t just stay in your work area. Take a short walk in your garden to soak up some sun and air. Stay in the kitchen and mingle with your family for a short while. During your one-hour break (for lunch or dinner), you can opt to eat in a restaurant near your place. Or have coffee at the local coffee shop. Or do some errands in between work. Don’t’ let yourself get stuck in your work area for so long, else you’ll feel burned out.
Remember why you need the job.
It all boils down to this. When you’re feeling too lazy to start your tasks or when you procrastinate too much, think of the reason why you’re working. Think of the bills you have to pay or the costly item on your bucket list you want to tick off. Remembering the reason why you need to work is the best motivation to be a productive worker – remote or not.