Working Full-Time Remote

Working remotely – it sounds like a dream. You don’t have to go into the office. You can work in your pajamas. You can slack off a little more without your coworkers or your manager looking at you. It seems like people forget to mention the challenges that come with working remotely though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

There are pros to working remotely, not just the ones listed above:

  • You no longer need to sit under fluorescent lights! If you sit in an office like I did (which was nowhere near windows), you couldn’t tell the passing of time. And fluorescent lights look drab – not great for selfies.
  • You don’t have to smell all your coworkers and their lunches. I’ll be honest: I’m the smelly coworker. I’ve heated up fish in the microwave before. I’ve also over-microwaved food and caused the cafeteria to smoke. So really, my coworkers should be happy that I’m gone.
  • If you need a break, you have options on how to spend it, like running errands or taking a walk outside. Sometimes I exercise, and other times I want a power nap. If you work remote, you can decide how to take a break most efficiently without judgment.

Now let’s talk about the other side. My working remote is a bit different from others because I am constantly moving for my road trip, so the points may or may not apply:

  • You battle with network connectivity. There have been some WiFis that were so bad that I just had to work out of a cafe, which isn’t super appealing to me because I am usually on a call most of the time. Even when the WiFi is great, sometimes I get dropped from my Skype meetings. It’s frustrating on the days when it happens more than 5 times.
  • It can be tough adjusting to time zones. I work with an international team and a bunch of different time zones. When I was working in Boston, it was easy because I worked 8 am to 5 pm EST. Now I need to do math every time I change time zones and adjust my schedule. Am I working 7 am to 4 pm or still 8 am to 5pm? It all depends.
  • It’s so easy to be distracted. With no one watching over my shoulder, I can easily go down a rabbit hole and follow whatever distraction at the time. Sometimes it happens. Nobody’s perfect.
  • You display extreme behavior between workaholic and really unmotivated. This isn’t a causation of working remotely, but working remotely could be a factor of this behavior. I find myself shifting between the two extremes quite often.

I still haven’t perfected what things I need in order to be the perfect remote worker. This is what I have so far:

  • Set your routine. Figure out what things need to happen in your day to make you more productive. For me, it’s:
    • Getting dressed I don’t need to be in business casual attire, but I definitely need to be out of my pajamas. Or if I am in my pajamas, then I put on makeup. I only need some part of me to feel dressed, otherwise something in my brain just doesn’t click.
    • Eating breakfast – I need fuel to start the day. I also need fuel because I get hangry almost always 30 minutes after I wake up.
    • Exercising – I’ve tried exercising before and after work. Nowadays, both times work for me. When I first started exercising before work though, I would get sleepy around 11 am, and I would have to take a power nap in my car in the afternoon.
    • Being near sunlight – Natural light makes me happy. If I can’t find any, then being near lights suffice. I just need to feel like I am working out of a cave.
  • Work in sprints. Any time I am not in meeting, I am working in either 30-minutes or hour-long sprints. I play around the time, but it’s basically breaking down an entire day into shorter goals. Scheduling is key for this, which is something I am working on.
  • Be super organized. This is something I’m working really really really really really really really hard on, and I haven’t found something that sticks yet. I am in so many meetings for work and for the blog and ideas for my YouTube channel that I need to be super organized. I am not there yet. What I’ve tried:
    • Location: writing notes down on paper, use Notepad, use OneNote, email, or memory. None have ever stuck.
    • Organization: by dates, and by topic. None work best.

If you have any suggestions on how you stay organized OR have your experience being a remote worker, let me know in the comments below please!

xo Juliet

One Comment

  • Christopher North

    Great article, and even better that we know each other. Sometimes articles are written by unknown bloggers or columnists, with only a one-sentence profile and a circular head-shot jpg to go along with it. This leaves me wondering how the experience and the personality profile meshed, and the article was born.

    Routine is absolutely key to my productivity. I love my home office. My coffee. My music. The closed door, and the visits from my cat and dog – although I question why my cat would choose my keyboard as a choice place to sit. Perhaps it’s jealousy. I do miss having a window, but when my wife and daughter come home, I take those precious few minutes to welcome them home, give them love, and catch some sun and fresh air.

    Keep blogging, and safe travels!


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