More and more people are choosing to work remotely over a higher paycheck. All that you hear about working from home or your favorite coffee shop is true, but it comes at a cost.
When I graduated college, I was extremely excited to fly directly to Portland, Maine to film with my first client. I was on the job 24/7, producing same day edits — eight total videos over ten travel days. It was exhilarating and exhausting. I worked from everywhere: the beach, coffee shops, bakeries, parks, living rooms. I was extremely productive.
Needless to say when I arrived back in Portland, Oregon I had to rest before getting back to work. After recharging, the next week was filled with a number of small tasks without a pressing deadline.
The pitfalls of working from anywhere finally hit home. I began waking up at 10am thinking I could just work later or over the weekend. I spent my days playing on the internet, working with the TV on, and casually shopping for every meal. Tasks that should have taken me a couple of days to finish took me four or five days to complete. What finally ended it all was the realization that I was not accomplishing anything. These are the three things and the one ultimate thing that have made me more productive while working remotely.
1) Create a consistent sleep pattern.
For me that was as simple as planning out when I was going to wake up and when to go to bed. Too many times had I fallen into the trap of binge watching House Of Cards or pushing so much of my work into the early hours of the morning. It was hard to do at first, but once I had a sleep pattern underway I felt energized throughout the day.
2) Most people are at the peak of their productivity for 20-30 minutes at a time.
Use this knowledge! You can utilize this any way you want but for me I found an amazing app called <a href=”http://3030.binaryhammer.com/”>30/30</a> that kept me on track. I set a timer for 30 minutes at a time with a designated task. During those 30 minutes, I try to get as much done as possible. When I see the clock, it is more of a motivator — “keep it going! only 5 min left until a break!” After the 30 minutes,I take a 5 minute break. I go to the bathroom, walk around, step outside. I repeat this throughout the day, and I guarantee if you do this you will get more done in a day than you ever thought you could before.
3) Grocery shop, for god’s sake
You have a fridge at home. It is there to be your own personal mini-restaurant of sorts. Don’t waste your time thinking about what you want to eat, then going to the store or cafe, order, eat, then driving back home. It is a waste of time and ruins your work flow.
4) Have an “Always Changing Mega LIST OF EVERYTHING”
I have saved the most important thing for last; the thing that has helped me the most throughout my time working remotely. Because I work from so many places at varying times, there has been one constant that has kept me not only sane but productive as well. This constant is a list — a list of to-do’s. Not just any to-do list though. This list is always changing in content and order. This is how the ultimate to-do list works:
-Make a to-do list of EVERYTHING, all the way down to laundry and dishes. Not only for that day but that week, that month, that year.
-Now, break it into what is most important. Work down that list throughout the day. When you find yourself in a situation were you have some time but not enough to do what is next on the list, just pick the next objective that would fit into that time period.
Having this list has saved me many times when plans have changed or a meeting has moved last-minute and I have already driven a half an hour to a coffee shop.
Instead of getting frustrated in these situations, I take a second and look at my list. What makes sense to get done in this moment? This tactic has reduced my internet browsing time and reduced my frustration, as well.
I will say it one more time: If there is one thing that can make you the most productive at working remotely, it is the list.