How to become more productive when working remotely
The era of being placed in a personal and small cubicle inside an office space, is quickly ending (hopefully!). For workers who love freedom and breaking the routine, this is a great thing! But personally, I find it can be challenging to create a space of structure, like I’ve had in most of my in-office jobs - a physical place, where I arrived each morning and set the official day in motion after grabbing a cup of already-made coffee from the office kitchen.
My last in-office job gave us work-from-home days and nothing topped the crisp, clean linens from which I constructed deep paths through impressive spreadsheets or the valuable time and mental health benefits of one less day commuting around LA. However, newbies to #freelancelife can find creating a workspace to be a challenge.
A few tried and tested tips below:
Create a schedule
Especially if you have more than one gig! Plan around the days that you have a set schedule and treat your remote job as if you had assigned shifts (ie: I work at a restaurant from Tuesday through Thursday in the evenings, and I work two out of those days in my blog-writing gig and a full day on one of my days that I have off). The best way to create a schedule is through a calendar, whether digitally or a traditional paper one. There are a variety of free tools you can use like Google calendars or project tracking software like Asana or Mondays.
If you have housemates, working from home can become a little challenging if you are easily distracted, or if it isn’t quiet enough. If you can, chat with them about their schedule and lifestyle as soon as you or they move in. It will help you plan days in which you can stay in or go work from a different spot. If you can’t, invest in some quality headphones and still share with them that you work from home most days.
A desk is a must!
And a dining room table is not a desk. Whether you live by yourself or share an apartment or house, make sure to have a workspace where you can sit comfortably that fits your computer, notebooks, or anything else you need for your job comfortably. A few things to keep in mind to be comfortable:
Make sure you have good lighting. Be close to a window or set up a lamp with a good light bulb.
Is there a power outlet nearby? Extension surges can be pretty cheap too, and they sell them at your local hardware store.
Have water with you. Not only will you stay hydrated, but you’ll avoid leaving your desk too often. I’m not saying staying glued to your seat is mandatory! You should definitely take restroom and stretch breaks but again, if you want to meet deadlines and be more productive, the less distractions, the better.
Wake up early
Wake up early! You will feel good about yourself, more energized, and have more time to get ready and plan your day. You can start your day calmly, and even practice your self-care or morning rituals. Think about this: you could also cook breakfast and lunch at the same time, as a form of meal-prepping and saving time!
Alternate between working from home and other places
I personally like working at coffee shops that are comfortable (the artsy kind with unique beverages), but the small purchases in order to get the daily WiFi passwords add up, so sometimes I go to my closest public library accompanied by snacks or a simple lunch that I’ve packed if I woke up early…
If it is within your budget, some cities have shared office/work spaces where you can pay a daily fee to work from with all the amenities included. Some of these spaces even offer conference rooms or your own desk through memberships with a monthly or yearly subscription!
So there you have it. Everyone is different and perhaps some of you have different or better habits when it comes to your productivity. Will you share some advice too? Let us know in the comments how do you make the most out of your working day when you work remotely!
Charlotte is a freelancer in the marketing, film and theater industry. She loves ”folk art” and any form of media that brings a message to its audience. She is also an advocate for mental health awareness and general wellbeing. One day, she’ll become an author and expert foodie.