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How to Work Remotely Without Going Insane

Scott White on November 01, 2019

The future of work is remote. In recent years, fully-remote companies like GitLab, Zapier, and InVision have proven that a remote culture is not ... [Read Full]
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Great tips! Having a defined area where I work (one that doesn't have any of my entertainment vices), has been a huge push to my productivity.

 

🙌 "Environment vices" is a great term

 

I'm a big fan of not being too strict on tracking hours. It just doesn't make much sense for intellectual value-based work.

Instead, I prefer to ask a simple question. What thing, if I did it today, would elicit a very positive response from my customer?

Then you just accomplish the thing, whatever it is, however long it takes (sometimes more than 8 hours), and you announce it the next day.

I find this to be a more natural work cadence. It think it's much better than forcing yourself to work eight hours because some guy from the industrial revolution said that's good for factory workers assembling gear boxes and widgets.

With the strict eight hour thing, you're just spending more time in your seat without necessarily getting much more done, and you often arbitrarily stop working in the middle of your deepest concentration, which makes no sense whatsoever.

People generally don't care about hours. They care about outcomes and goals. Start there and build your workday around it. Everything else will fall into place naturally.

 

Great tips! Having a morning routine to trigger the start of the work day is key. I've just started working from home primarily a couple months ago. My routine starts with logging in to quickly see if there are any fires burning, dropping my kid at the bus stop and then making myself a coffee. Once the coffee is brewed, the work begins! I need to figure out how to make the fridge less accessible though :)

 

I needed to read this! I don't think i'd be able to keep my sanity if I didn't have my own dedicated room (a.k.a my office) to work. One huge difference I noticed within myself is that my spontaneous conversation isn't as quick as when I was in the office. I used to be quick on the responses when it came to small talk but now i'm like "huh?". Luckily my wife works from home also so I'm not completely muted but she does all the talking most of the time. I'm just usually saying "really, ok, for real, wow, no she didn't, whaaaat". Thanks for sharing this post!

 

Been working remote and freelancing remotely for quite a bit of time and have some super specific tips I can share

  • a daily journal of your work life helps deal with isolation
  • switched from texting friends to Marco Polo, again helps with working in isolation.
  • plenty of tools available to transcribe zoom meetings
  • pomodoros helps prevent getting distracted by all the comforts of home
  • make sure you know you have a Hotspot on your phone (saved me many times when Comcast went out)
  • work remotely !== only work from home. Get out the house and work at least once a week (library, coffee shop, coworking, park, etc...)
 

I sometimes work from home and the biggest struggle is to keep focused, not reaching for my phone and start getting distracted on Reddit/Facebook etc...

I don't think I'd be able to work remotely all the time but sometimes it's nice to just stay home

 

For me, working at office was more like that. I felt like I was actively slacking whenever possible just to get the required work hours at the office done for the day. And I felt absolutely unproductive because of that.

Now when I work from home, if I don't feel like working since early morning I take my time and relax. And that way when I start later it feels much less forced. Also at home you don't have to follow any office hours or transit. If I feel like working at 10pm at sunday because I just got the best idea about the task I'm solving, I just can.

 

It's largely due to the fact that you only sometimes work from home. Without doing it as part of a routine, you don't build in the habits that you have when going into the office is the routine. For you "home" equates to "personal time."

It takes a bit more mindfulness and discipline, but you can retrain yourself to not be so distracted even if you don't work from home very often.

 
 

I work remotely and your advice is good sound. I make sure I separate my living space from work space. I'm fortunate to have a dedicated office in my house, where I only go to work. I've also used local hot desk spaces.

I think it generally works if your working in a remote first organisation. When an org has a bit of remote and mostly collocated the organisation need to make sure any comms include the remote team members.

I've not encountered loneliness as I have family and friends who live with or near me.

 
 

"When daddy is in his office, he aint home." is the rule when I started remote working.

 

I think another thing is probably finding group activities so that you won't be that lonely.

 

I think a lot of people mistake "working in the vicinity of people" to be equivalent to "being social" when it's really not. It's just enough to get your "fix," but the quality really isn't there if you actually look at it.

Getting out to user groups, lunch with friends, game nights, etc. takes a bit more mindful effort, especially at first and if you don't have an established routine, but the quality skyrockets, in my experience.

 

Thanks for your post 👍. Btw, walrus seems interesting, I am checking it out now.
I wrote a somewhat related blog post a while ago here on dev.to, and I would really appreciate your feedback on it if you get a chance: dev.to/hitman666/how-to-make-it-as...

 

Great article! I already found myself doing a few of these things as I started working remotely more frequently, but how you've codified them is extremely helpful.

 
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