Alternative Tips for Working Remotely
Having the opportunity to work from a distance on my boat as we travel through the United States and Bahamas has been both a learning experience and an inspiration.
I have read numerous blogs and articles on working remotely; many of them providing tips on how to work effectively and efficiently. But, just as with any topic, there are differing opinions. Each of us are unique individuals and what works for some may not work for all.
Some of the common tips I would agree with. Check in regularly with team members and leaders to maintain rapport and an agreed vision. Devise a way to “shut your office door” when you are deeply focused on a project (wearing noise-canceling headphones, turning off your phone, etc). Beef up your technology skills; computer glitches can leave you in a standstill.
But for other common tips, here I offer a different perspective:
Set up a “Working Space”
Yes, it can be advantageous to have all your equipment and resources in one spot; a physical location dedicated to getting into work mode. But I have found that sometimes working in a new location rejuvenates creativity and provides inspiration. It can be easy to fall into a routine or get stuck in a rut when you sit down at the same desk surrounded by familiar scenes.
I am sure you all know the common scenario; you pull into your driveway after a day in the office and realized you can’t remember the drive home. Since you arrived home safely, you can assume that you did all the right things to get the task done; you started the car, put it in drive. You obeyed the rules of the road, maintained diligence in watching other vehicles around you and avoided obstacles. But your mind was otherwise occupied.
It is easy to fall into “automatic” when we are in familiar surroundings. We can get a task done, but it is without invested attention. Our mind drifts and we are no longer putting concentrated efforts into what we are doing.
Set Aside “Work Time”
One of the greatest challenges when working from home or remotely is all those little “distractions” that seem to call out to us; the dishes, the laundry, a workout. It is easy to become a “productive procrastinator”, justifying that you aren’t being lazy, these things need to be done! Sometimes setting aside a designated work time can help.
Yet, having a scheduled work time can sometimes translate to you sitting down and forcing yourself into work mode when you just aren’t there mentally.
I personally can’t focus on what I need to do when the sink is full of dishes. So, I go do the dishes first. And while I perform this mundane task, I find myself organizing my thoughts for work and making a plan. Then, by the time I sit down at my computer, I already have an idea of what I want to accomplish and how I am going to do it.
There is something about showering and dressing properly that frames the mind for “getting down to business”. But I have had times when I am inspired while I am still in bed waking up. If I take the time to perform a morning routine first, I lose the momentum of inspiration. It’s like when you have a train of thought you want to share with someone who is constantly interrupting. You lose the train.
Instead I have been known to flip my laptop open while still in bed to channel those energies and thoughts. Of course, if you are going to be on video conference, you might be well advised to get out of your pajamas!
These are just some of the things I have found work better for me, but as I said before, everyone is different. The main tip I would give then, is to find what works for you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Proof in point of all the above, I took a break in the middle of writing this blog to watch some sharks feeding a couple of feet off our bow as we were cruising in 80 feet of water…all while wearing my bathing suit!
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