Working remotely means having freedom: freedom to work when you want and from wherever you want. But depending on your personal style or preference for structure, working remotely can sometimes mean too much freedom will affect your productivity. Use the below five tips to structure your work habits and focus on driving results, no matter which industry you work in.
1. Schedule your time and stick to it
Build a weekly schedule and assign projects to different hours of each day. This is especially helpful if you have multiple clients or are working on several projects simultaneously. Keeping track of all of your meetings and deadlines in one place will allow you to have a comprehensive vision for your workflow. To allow for travel, appointments, and personal days, viewing your schedule at a weekly glance can help you see where and when you can plan to make up that time not spent working.
When scheduling your workday or workweek, make sure to allow time for:
Working for your business. This specifically pertains to doing the tasks that make you money.
Working on your business. This includes finding new clients, building your portfolio, or building your personal brand as an expert in your field.
Answering emails. This is often less about allowing time for emails, but rather limiting time for emails. Some everyday tasks can distract you from finishing other, more lucrative tasks. (I personally limit my time reading and responding to emails to 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon.)
Rest! Making sure you have enough time to relax and unwind will improve your productivity overall. Finding balance is key to building a sustainable workflow that will bring you an income but won’t burn you out.
2. Make a to-do list and a not-to-do-list
Checking items off your to-do list can make you feel productive, but are you sure you’re checking off the right ones? One productivity hack to which Warren Buffett attributes his success is called the “Not to-do list”. In theory, you focus on doing less, not more. In practice, you would make a list of everything you need to get done, circle the five most important tasks, and ignore everything else on the list at all costs.
In order to accomplish your most important tasks, you need to free yourself from the distraction of everything else you think you need to be doing.
3. Find a comfortable work space
For remote workers who need a space away from home in order to be productive, focus your search on a distraction-free space that’s comfortable, safe, and convenient. Oftentimes dedicated offices and co-working spaces are designed specifically for the flexible remote-worker. Prioritize what’s important for you in a work space, and consider things like hours of operation if you want a place to work when you have a late-night burst of inspiration, or that it’s accessible by transit or has ample parking so you can arrive to the office relaxed and without stress. Safety is always an important concern, so always request a tour or a trial to feel the space out and decide if you are comfortable working and spending time there. Growing in popularity in locations all over the world are co-working spaces for women only, with companies like The Wing leading the charge. (If you happen to be in San Diego, I recommend Moniker Commons. It’s a co-ed space that’s open 24-hours, has plenty of parking, and offers trial and month-to-month flexible memberships. It’s where I work when I’m in town and I’ve been very happy there!)
4. Practice getting into the right mindset if you work from home
If you work from home, designate a work space that is separate from your living space. Even if it’s only a few feet away from your bed, associate sitting in your desk or table with having a productive mindset. One way to do this is to “get ready” for work. For me, something as simple as putting on my shoes, my watch, and a pair of earrings before sitting at my desk can get me into work-mode. For you, it could mean getting dressed or putting makeup on before sitting at your desk. (What’s important here is that you are reminded that it’s not time to crawl back into bed!) If you work remotely and travel often, practicing this work-mode routine can also help you get into the right productive mindset from any hotel room, anywhere in the world.
5. Delegate work to contractors
Delegating work can help you manage and save valuable time. Choose to delegate tasks that tend to take you too long to do yourself, whether it be designing templates, creating illustrations, or even proofreading or auditing your work. Finding contractors to aid your productivity in itself is a task that can also be done remotely with the help of platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. Not only does it boost your productivity in the long run, it’s also a fun way to connect with creative people from all over the world.
Do you work remotely? Which tips have helped you stay productive? Let me know below in the comments!