How to work remotely and still be productive

A huge number of us now have the ability to work remotely. Whether you’re an employee or work for yourself, being able to set up shop anywhere can be incredibly freeing and helpful. Imagine being able to get all your work done without worrying about a commute and getting laundry and chores done in between. Sounds great, right?Sometimes the reality doesn’t quite live up to our expectations. Working remotely may sound like a dream but being closer to home can not only be distracting, but also quite isolating. Never fear, here eight super easy to follow tips on how you can work remotely and still be productive.

1. Start the day right

When you work in an office, you don’t just leap into work straight out of bed. Well, we hope you don’t. And it shouldn’t be the same when you work remotely. You need time to wake up and prepare yourself for the day ahead. So make sure you start your day the right way. What would you like to do in the morning to set you up for a great day? What about yoga, going to the gym, going for a run, meditating, journalling, listening to a podcast or reading a book? Take your pick, just make sure you have some ‘you’ time before the work begins. And no, emails don’t count.

2. Dress like you’re working

We’re not talking full on suit and briefcase, but working in your pyjamas can actually have a detrimental effect on your productivity. Think about it; you’re still in the clothes you slept in. And as comfy as they may be, you’re also probably still in the same ‘chill out’ mindset. A quick freshen up and a change of clothes can be the perfect way to signal to yourself that the working day has started. Get ready for the day as you normally would; get a shower, brush your teeth and then put on some new clothes, even if it’s just a clean pair of loungewear. 

3. Have a place dedicated for work

Not everyone has the space or resources to have an “office” in their home, but at the very least you need a designated workstation that is for working and only working. Sitting in bed or in front of the TV may sound great, but you’re probably not going to get much work done. Heading to the same spot every day, just like you would do in an office, helps to train your brain into understanding that this is where you need to be focused and concentrate.

4. Plan your day first thing

Some people love lists, while others hate them. But whichever side you sit on, we’d recommend starting each working day with a good old to-do list. This shouldn’t be everything that you have to get done, otherwise you’ll never reach the end of it. Instead set yourself a finite number of tasks that you want to accomplish that day, then prioritise them, give them a designated time slot and work from there. 

5. Ignore personal tasks

While you don’t have to work 9 to 5 at home, it’s important to set time boundaries when you will only be doing work. Otherwise you’ll find yourself doing something else; procrastinating. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll catch up on Netflix, it could mean you’ll hoover, do the dishes or tackle the laundry. But if you know that between the hours of 9 and 12, you’ll be working on X task, then 12 to 1 you’ll have lunch and a quick tidy, then 1 to 4 you’ll work, your day will have structure and it’ll help you focus.

6. Avoid social media

Procrastinating can come in all forms, and one of the biggest is social media. No matter what your vice is whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or even Wikipedia, the Internet is a rabbit hole that is easy to get lost in. Even the most will-powered among us can have trouble staying focused. Thankfully, there is help at hand. Work Mode is a Chrome extension that blocks social media and can be programmed to activate during your work hours, helping you stay laser-focused.

7. Be accountable

There’s a reason why many of us improve more in the gym when we have a personal trainer; it’s because we’re accountable to them for our actions and results. So before your other half or your flatmate leaves for work themselves, let them know what you’re planning to get done today. You don’t have to give them a minute-by-minute rundown of your day, but being able to tell them what you’ve ticked off will not only help you have the mental focus to do it, but it’ll also give you a great sense of accomplishment when you tell them in the evening. 

8. Know when the day is done

Whether you work at home permanently or it’s once a week, just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you have to be working 24/7. Not only is it unhealthy, but it’s also unfair to your other commitments and the other people in your life. Although it may sound counter-productive, setting limits and boundaries on your working time and sticking to it, can help you be more focused and work harder. So at the end of the day, log off, shut down and walk away.