Whether you’re a seasoned digital nomad or you’re new to the remote work world, finding motivation and settling into an at-home routine can be challenging. You’re surrounded by distractions that you wouldn’t have in a typical office environment. Plus, sharing one space for both work and relaxation can make it difficult to get into a work mindset in the morning, then switch off from work at the end of the day.
I’ve been working as a freelance writer for nearly two years, and working from home isn’t always easy. I’ve gone through the highs and lows of remote working and have fine-tuned the art of how to thrive in a remote work environment. Follow these seven tips, and you’ll be on your way to mastering the at-home work-life balance.
Get up at the same time every day
Unless you’re naturally an early riser (lucky you), this one can be tough. But it helps productivity to begin working at the same time each day. Pick a time that fits well with your schedule. You don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn each day (unless of course you need to sign on to your work computer by a certain time). If you work best in the morning, set your alarm early. If not, don’t feel guilty about sleeping in and working later into the evening. I usually get up around 8:30am, take some time to myself, and start working around 10am. It also helps to get dressed in the morning. There’s something about working in your PJs that makes it hard to feel productive.
Establish a routine and stick to it
Keep yourself organized by creating a detailed to-do list for yourself. Do this the night before or in the morning while having breakfast. Schedule in work tasks you need to get done, but also factor in time for other things you want to do during the day, such as chores and hobbies.
My current daily routine looks a bit like this:
- 8:30am – get up, brush my teeth, wash my face
- 9am – make breakfast and work on my French while I eat. I do some DuoLingo and also watch videos on YouTube
- 10am – dig in and work for several hours
- 2pm – take the dog for a walk
- 2:30pm – have a snack, then get back to work
- 6:30pm – do a workout, then shower
- 7:30pm – have dinner and relax for the evening
Create a comfortable workspace
Having a suitable workspace is essential to get the creative juices flowing and be productive. Set up a home office environment where you can be comfortable. Choose a table or desk that allows you to sit upright. Sitting on a couch or bed can make you too comfortable, which can lead to drowsiness or falling asleep – trust me, I’ve learned from experience! Also make sure to limit distractions. Have quiet music on in the background if it helps you concentrate but stay away from the TV remote. Unless you need to use your phone for work, put it on silent mode and turn it upside down while you work, or even leave it in another room. Be diligent about limiting how often you check it during working hours.
Limit lunch breaks to one hour
When I first started working remotely, I would make myself lunch then sit down to watch a TV show while I ate. By the time I cooked, ate, finished the episode, and cleaned up, it could be up to two hours before I was sitting down to work again. Bad habit! Instead, treat your lunch break similar to how to you would in an office environment. Heat up some leftovers, make a quick sandwich, or run out to grab takeaway from a local cafe – just make sure you’re back at your desk working within the hour.
Take a morning or afternoon walk
When you live and work in the same space, it’s surprisingly easy to go days without leaving your home. Avoid falling into the WFH rut by getting out for a little while every day. Take a walk around your neighbourhood to clear your head, detox from technology, and get some fresh air.
Change things up for inspiration
As I’m writing this, the world is in the grips of the COVID-19 epidemic. But once you can get back into the world, change up your work location every so often to give yourself a fresh burst of inspiration. I love checking out new cafes where I can work while enjoying a latte and pastry. The library is another great place to go when you need a quiet space and can’t seem to focus at home. If you don’t need to use WiFi, head to a cool spot like a local park or the beach and get inspired by nature.
End your workday with a ritual
In a typical office environment, you finish your work for the day, fight the commute, and have the evening to relax. But when you work and live in the same space, it can be hard to disconnect from the job at the end of the day. Since you don’t have a commute to break up your work and home time, add another ritual into your day that signals to your brain that the workday is over. Do a workout, take a shower, or go for a walk – whatever takes you out of the work mindset.
Bring these tips onboard and you’ll be sure to thrive in a remote work environment. In addition to being productive as a remote worker, it’s also important to focus on other aspects of your personal life that might be lacking in a work-from-home setting. Since you won’t have colleagues to interact with throughout the day, make sure you find other ways to be social. Meet a friend for an after-work drink or spend a day at a co-working space in your city. Working in a remote environment can be productive, rewarding, and fun once you get into the right rhythm.
What helps you thrive in a remote work environment? Let me know in the comments below!
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Hi I’m Christie, a 28-year-old girl originally from Boston who has spent time living in New York City, North Carolina, France, Australia, New Zealand, and London. I love moving to new places and exploring them as a local, and I can’t see my nomadic expat life stopping any time soon! I have no greater passion than travel, and when I’m not exploring I spend my free time reminiscing on past trips and daydreaming about future travel.