The rise of the nomad and remote worker has been incredible, and it’s only going to continue as we move into the 2020s. With that in mind, today, I’m going to share some of the best tips and the aspects you need to keep in mind to stay productive when working from home that I have learned from my 12+ years of experience doing so.
Put Reins On The Freedom
While being location-independent grants a lot of freedom and opportunity to make your own schedule, you’ve got to make sure you put some constraints in place to stop things getting out of control.
Left unchecked, that freedom could give you too much space. Space that laziness and mismanagement of time and outcomes could creep into.
To prevent that terribleness and instead maintain the authority over your own productivity, you need to keep certain traits in mind, build things into your lifestyle, and also be meticulous in how you plan and communicate.
Here are some of my favourite tips that I’ve picked up over the years.
1: Treat Work Like Work
Working from home might seem like a great opportunity to chill with your laptop on the sofa (or even bed). To never change out of your pyjamas. While that would be wonderful, it simply isn’t practical for being in the mindset to produce your best output and outcomes.
To set yourself up to be your most productive, there are a few things you need to do to always treat work like you should:
- Get fucking dressed – You wouldn’t show up to do anything useful (let alone go to an office) in your underwear or without shoes. Act like you’re going to get something done and dress for the occasion.
- Set up a “work only” area – Build a shine to the work you want to get done. Put a desk and a chair somewhere (preferably on the other side of a door from distractions). Doing this means you have a dedicated zone for getting shit done. That means no eating lunch, watching Netflix or scrolling through Reddit in this zone. Keep that for somewhere else.
- Build cues and routines to get you back to work – While setting your mind and workspace up might seem like enough, there will be times that you’ll lose your way, get distracted, or feel drained and not want to work on what you ultimately need to. To combat this, I would recommend setting up a few small habits you build into your routine that serve as triggers to getting more done. These “minimum viable tasks” get you started on something or make sure that you complete an easy task that potentially sets you on the right track and builds momentum.
Keep these pointers in mind when planning your own WFH journey.
Speaking of planning…
2: Plan For Success
Just as I talked about above, you need to build habits that keep you productive and on the right track. The best way to introduce these to your life is by taking the time to carefully plan things out, so you always know what to be working on.
As you’ll be working from home, you’ll be without the usual regular guidance most who are in office will have. In fact, 99% of the time, you are your own manager. So you are responsible for making sure that you succeed with what you need (or plan) to do.
To always make sure you plan for success, find the goal you’re hoping to reach and spend some time breaking down the individual steps needed to achieve it. For each of those steps, work out a series of daily, routine actions you can take to successfully complete that step. It’s then just a case of working through those small habits one at a time and powering through those more meaningful goals with constant action.
By not having to commute or show up at an office, you gain a time advantage on others if you work contract or for a company. It would be best if you used these extra hours to outperform and show the power you gain through being remote. If you’re building your own business, use the extra energy you gain to produce more content or do more outreach.
Most important, though, is that you always dedicate time to plan things out rather than blindly diving into something. By doing so, you set the stage for success; rather than blindly pissing about without direction.
3: Always Over-Communicate
One of the few disadvantages to remote work is the lack of continuous, passive communication. To combat this downside, you’ve got to always be mindful of communicating every plan, thought and next step to stay relevant in peoples minds and remain an integral part of the overall process. So, if you’re working with a company full-time remotely, contracting or freelance doing your own thing; remember to always be regularly keeping others updated on what you’re doing and the value you’re adding.
In-office, people are face to face often, having hourly conversations, so from your side; even a daily cadence is slow. Make it a part of your routine and schedule and always be sharing ideas and responding to things.
Communication is not only a crucial part of the foundations of your remote system, but it’s also a considerable element of your overall success. Through perpetual conversation, you can gain a substantial bank of knowledge you can use to ensure you’re always doing the right thing. So always be communicating and updating as often as you’re able to.
These are the three primary keys that I’ve found to be most integral to my own success. They may seem pretty basic, but they all add up to a complete picture of remote success. Over time and with the knowledge you’ll build the nuance needed to set you apart, but for now, you must put your own fundamentals in place to get you on the correct path.
From there, you keep going.
Speak soon ✌️