One of the things I didn’t anticipate when I started a 100% remote job was how much I would love being able to work from home. In fact, some of the things I thought I would have the most trouble with (staying motivated, my work not being visible because people couldn’t physically see me do it) turned out to be completely unfounded fears. If this is a topic you’d like to read more about, you can also read the first part of our Remote Work series (How to be great at remote work) here.
The first thing that remote work has changed in my day has been true, honest-to-goodness, focus time. I didn’t have much time to focus in my last role, but when I did, I’d easily get stumped about how to spend my spare minutes. While I still get overwhelmed and sometimes don’t know where or how to get started, I now have the luxury of uninterrupted time in which I can map and then follow a process to get things done. That ability has made me more strategic, and more efficient.
The second biggest change has been my ability to learn in my new role (which of course goes hand-in-hand with my point above), which is both enjoyable and necessary. A lot of the work I do for Witful requires me to be hands-on in disciplines that, while not being new, require intricacy and attention at a level I wasn’t responsible for in previous roles. While some weeks are busier than others, I’ve been able to consistently dedicate time to learning, mostly through online classes and written resources.
There are a lot of things I’ve learned in my short time with Witful that have opened my eyes to the benefits of being remote vs. in-office. Here are some of the actual things I do that help me stay focused, as well as things I’ve just plain enjoyed about being remote:
#1 – Have a desk setup at home with an external monitor, a keyboard/mouse and supportive office chair
#2 – Keep track of my daily to-do’s in a doc I update every day, and send them out to the team on Slack so they know what I’ve been working on
#3 – Keep track of larger projects that I need to move forward in a spreadsheet (this is updated less often; probably once or twice per month)
#4 – Create reports & schedule dedicated time to inform the team of the progress I make each month
#5 – Set myself a timer if I’m having an especially hard time getting started on a daunting project or task
#6 – Keep quicker tasks on hand to give myself a break from larger chunks of work
#7 – Block focus time for learning/optimizing (when there’s not a launch or deadline happening in that week)
#8 – Take advantage of being at home: Make great lunches, go for a quick walk with my pup, water plants (let’s be honest, that’s basically another full time job), clean something or fold something while I think through a tough problem (thanks to this post I now have a clean desk!)
There are a lot of benefits to remote work that I didn’t think would matter to me, that I now realize are game-changers. Keeping track of what I need to get done, and being able to take the time to think about what I’m working on, has made me better at what I do. Of course, tracking my days in Witful has been a big help, too. It’s especially helpful for connecting tasks to meetings, so that I can ensure projects that rely on my input or time are discussed and completed on time.
While not everyone has an opportunity to work remotely, if you do work remote, or you’re just going to be working from a different location temporarily, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks to making it a great experience for the whole team.