Tips on Working Remotely
Guest post by Andrea Holland, Founder of RemotePRJobs.com
When I started remote working in 2014, I was a mess. I would literally roll out of bed, make a cup of coffee, open up my laptop and….all of a sudden it was 4:30pm. I hadn’t moved. I had gotten up a few times to grab some food (which I then brought back to my computer), walked around the apartment a couple times when I needed a stretch break, but that was it. The day was nearly over, and I was still in my pajamas from the night before and hadn’t even washed my face.
I also found that I was working crazy long hours, but didn’t seem to be as productive as I could have been. I was low energy, and I was beginning to feel depressed because I wasn’t seeing anyone (and used to being part of a larger team). Over the course of time, I realized the importance of creating structure for myself. Now 7 years later, here are some of my non negotiables for creating a productive remote work environment.
Keep your phone in the other room when you sleep.I would often wake up, immediately grab my phone and start scrolling. 45 minutes later, I’d still be laying in bed and already stressed about...everyone else's stuff. My day was already out of my own control and being ruled by somebody else. By keeping your phone out of your room, you’re not tempted to dive right in. If your alarm is on your phone or you need it close by, consider putting it on the other side of the room so you at least have to get out of bed to turn it off.
Do not open your computer or look at your phone for the first 30-45 min of your day.Meditate. Read. Stretch. Create a morning routine that starts you off on YOUR schedule, not somebody else's. By doing something for yourself in the morning, you’re starting the day on your own terms. You’re less reactive. You’re in control.
Put clothes on.It’s so easy to stay in your sweats, but it does affect your headspace. Move into work-mode. Working remotely is a mental game and gives you a visual reminder of what you’re doing (which is easy to lose when you’re alone at your house). It helps keep you focused and create boundaries. I’m not saying wear a suit, but a presentable appearance with a washed face goes a long way.
Put your workouts on your work calendar and block them off.If you’re anything like me (and most OCD PR Professionals), if it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening. Yoga, a run, meditation, whatever it is that rejuvenates you and helps your physical health (which in turn helps your mental health), make that a priority.
Run Your Errands During the day.Yes, you heard me. One of the benefits and blessings of working remotely is being able to run errands (grocery store, bank, post office) while everyone else is at work. No lines, and you can be much more efficient. It’s important to break up your day. How productive did you really feel being forced to sit at your desk the entire day?
Make Yourself Lunch or Walk Outside to Eat.I like to cook, so this works well for me. When I was going into an office, it was easy to walk outside and pick up a sandwich/salad, or go with the team to lunch. Grant yourself the same luxury now! The time you would take at the office for those outings, spend 20 minutes in the kitchen and food prep and make yourself breakfast or lunch. The monotonous activity rewires your brain and relaxes you, and you can return to your work not only nourished, but with a clearer head.
Shut off your computer at the end of the day.Not 9pm. Not even 7pm. Try 5:30. Then, go meet a friend, or go do laundry. Do whatever you would normally do when you would leave work.
Put some plants in your house.They clean the air around you and provide oxygen, energy and they look pretty. Studies show that they also boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity, while reducing stress and fatigue! Who doesn’t want that in their workspace? It’s important to be comfortable in your space. You are there all day, make it a place you love.
Have a dedicated workspace.Working remotely does not mean sitting on your couch with your laptop on your lap. That’s late night Pinterest scrolling adn Twitter stalking. It's important to have some semblance of office space, especially if this is a new transition for you.
- You will realize really quick that what you used to do in 8 hours, you can do in less.
- Working remotely is a mental game more than a physical game.
- Break up your day.
- Keep your mental and physical health top priority.
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