When it comes to working remotely, there are just as many benefits as there are drawbacks. A key benefit that ranks high among remote employees is the ability to have a flexible schedule — one that accommodates meals on your own time, walking the dog, or going for a quick errand. With a flexible schedule comes a few downsides though. Lack of structure and a decrease in social interaction are two elements that remote employees say can negatively impact their work day. Thankfully, there are a few ways to remain productive when working remotely, and here are the top five.
- Get Enough Sleep — One of the best ways for remote workers to stay productive and healthy is to get enough sleep. But, this is not always as easy as it seems. The problem with working remotely is that long (late-night) hours usually go with the territory, meaning most remote workers do not get to bed at a decent hour. A sure-fire method for ensuring peak productivity is to develop a consistent sleep schedule, despite the freedom (and appeal) of having the flexibility to veer from one. Work backwards from the number of hours you need, such as eight, and then figure out when you want to rise in the morning. From there, ensure you have a good wind down sequence in the evening that includes unplugging from devices (which can confuse the brain and limit serotonin production, causing you to remain more alert.) So, stop working at a set time and unwind with a book, magazine, music or some herbal tea — whatever you need to have a great night’s sleep. Your work will be there in the morning.
- Organize Everything — When it comes to working as a freelancer or remote worker, one of the biggest problems has to do with organization. Remote workers can fall into the disorganization trap, since they have many tasks that they need to accomplish seemingly at once, various clients they need to satisfy, and a multitude of errands they need to complete. In order for a remote worker to stay as productive as possible, they must stay organized at all times. That means, they should be doing their work on an organized and tidy desk, placing important documents, receipts, and statements in labeled folders, and filing the folders in the appropriate filing cabinet. Once you are well-organized, prioritizing the most important tasks and singly focusing on them until they are complete will be your key to success.
- Using a Digital Calendar — Using a digital calendar is not only beneficial for a remote worker, but also beneficial for all working professionals. The beauty of a digital calendar is that dates, events, and tasks can be changed with just the wipe of a finger. Especially when it comes to remote workers, the reality is that plans, deadlines, meetings, and events change quite rapidly. A shared calendar with your loved one also helps coordinate your availability for social and family events. Using a digital calendar gives a remote worker a chance to create a blueprint of what they need to accomplish, tasks they need to complete, and goals they want to attain.
- Join a Coworking Space — One of the least favorable aspects of being a remote worker for many people is the decrease in social interaction. For traditional employees, working in a single location office includes plenty of social interaction with coworkers; but unfortunately, remote workers typically lack such environments. More often than not, remote workers are stuck in their homes or apartments with no one to talk to or discuss anything other than work with (and even then it is over chat or the phone). This is why it is extremely important for remote workers to join a coworking community. There are many to choose from — a space for every need, budget and personality. One of our favorites is KettleSpace, which converts hip restaurants in NYC into cool, connected coworking spaces throughout the day, across the city. When a remote worker joins a coworking space, they can get that social interaction that they need, without having to spend a lot of money or change their freelance schedule.
Working as a remote worker, freelancer, or entrepreneur can be tough because there is no set schedule, little to no social interaction, and a lot of tasks to do in a short period of time. Thankfully, if you develop a solid plan and stick to it for some consistency, productivity will be well within your reach.