“With freedom comes great responsibility.” This classic adage shows remote working gives people freedom. But they are also responsible for themselves.
The temptation to slip into the warm blanket during a snowy day can get the best out of anyone. It can be easy to spend hours brewing a new recipe in the kitchen instead of working on a project.
So, remote workers need to be able to manage their own schedules and activities. This could take a bit of trial and error, but we have compiled six best tips on how to be a good remote worker.
In this article, you will learn:
How to get things done faster by entering the deep work zone
Why decluttered workspace can boost productivity
The difference between good and not-so-good breaks
Ways to bring joy into life
Why connecting with people can keep loneliness at bay
How to imbue meaning into work
6 Work-From-Home Tips For Success
Tip 1: Create A Deep Work Zone
Have you ever been so immersed in what you are doing, when time stands still and work stops feeling like work?
That is deep work, the ability to focus without distraction on a brain-demanding task. This term is coined by Cal Newport, an associate professor at Georgetown University.
Those who practice deep work will gain an edge in the competitive world. They can solve complex problems quicker, and possess unparalleled focus. Best of all, the huge satisfaction that comes out of completing a complex task is amazing.
If you want to get complex tasks done in half the time, the deep work zone may be for you.
The ideal deep work zone is different for each person, but there are some general tips to help you get started.
6 tips for creating a deep work zone:
Declutter the workspace before work. A clean and tidy workspace can reduce distractions.
Do one task at a time. Multitasking is the enemy of deep work.
Block a time to do that task. Schedule it on your calendar.
Silent the devices and put them out of sight and reach (except the laptop you are using)
Silent all notifications on the laptop. To get into the deep work zone, be sure to remove all distractions.
Experiment with the workspace and environment that can get you into deep focus. Then replicate that every day, and you can enter your deep work zone —at will.
Also, try to establish regular ‘spring cleaning’ days for your workspace and house. A decluttered house helps with concentration too.
Tip 3: Take Restorative Breaks
Frequent regular breaks can help support your well-being. Yet, there are good and not-so-good breaks.
While good breaks can leave people feeling re-energized and refreshed, not-so-good breaks tend to leave them feeling drained and depleted.
Activities like checking the phone may reduce boredom for a few minutes but it also teaches the brain to seek out blips of pleasure whenever boredom creeps in. This way, the brain is trained to check the phone again and again, without a chance to rest.
This is why Dr. Gazzaley, a neuroscientist, suggests taking good breaks. They can reduce mental fatigue, maintain focus for longer periods, and boost brain abilities.
Examples of restorative breaks for the mind are:
Expose to nature. Walk around the block or the park. Notice a small plant and its details. Look at pictures and videos of nature (they work too).
Let the mind wander. Daydream or doodle.
Do a 20-20-20 eye break. Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Do a 7-minute workout. Some pushups, squats, or planks are good. Or take a walk around the neighborhood.
This is because humans have an inherent need for meaning and purpose. Meaning is what motivates people to work on their tasks even if they do not feel like it. It is what drives them to overdeliver. It is what keeps them going despite failures.
Meaning at work is different for each remote worker. One common theme about meaning is that it is created by aligning your values, passions, and strengths with work.
But how to do it?
First, it is important to identify three pillars: your own core values, passions, and strengths. Ask yourself the following questions to find out.
Identifying your core values:
What do I stand for?
How do I want to be remembered?
When do I feel the most alive? And why?
Identifying your passions:
What am I interested in?
What am I curious about?
What do I enjoy doing?
Identifying your strengths:
What am I good at?
What do I like about myself?
What do others say about me? (you may need to ask your colleagues, family and friends)
Then, look for an intersection between the three pillars. And align what you do to that intersection.
Becoming a good remote worker is a journey of experimentation and self-discovery. As you progress, you will encounter ways that help and those that do not.