The benefits of working remotely are numerous. You get to avoid the stress of office commutes, choose your own work hours, enjoy more comfort, and boost productivity.
That said, these benefits are often threatened by domestic distractions and a lack of communication with your team members. You may also start losing focus and may not manage your time efficiently.
That’s why you need a level of proactivity to enjoy all the perks of working from home. This article will show you tips on how to be more proactive when telecommuting.
1. Plan your Schedule
It’s crucial to create a daily schedule to ensure you have a productive day. This schedule may cover your morning routine before work, your daily activities, and even your evening plans.
It is necessary to structure your day to complete your tasks on time during your regular working hours.
Breaks are as important as working. Schedule your breaks in addition to your focused hours to avoid burnout. Set realistic goals for yourself and only take on as much work as you can handle.
Several tools and apps can help in scheduling tasks and aid productivity. Furthermore, you can plan for a week, a month, or even a year in advance to keep your long-term goals in mind.
2. Create and Organize Your Workspace
It’s easy to be tempted to work from the comfort of your bed when you work from home. However, your productivity may suffer, and your brain may become conditioned to associate bed with stress rather than relaxation, affecting your sleeping patterns over time.
As a result, it’s critical to make your home more work-friendly and to have a dedicated workspace where you can focus more on your tasks.
Try to keep your workspace away from your bed and organized by regularly cleaning your desk.
Choose a quiet, comfortable location with plenty of lighting. Remove unnecessary items from your workspace and replace them with something that motivates you at work, such as a motivational poster or a list of your long-term goals.
3. Limit Distractions
While working remotely, distractions can prevent you from being productive and reaching your goals.
Using your phone, surfing through social media, and constantly getting up to grab things to move around can interrupt your work and cause you to procrastinate.
To stay organized, whether you work from home or in cafés and co-working spaces, make sure you have everything you frequently need on hand. Consider working in a less noisy environment to avoid interruptions.
You can use your phone to set alarms for breaks and timers to keep your mind from wandering.
Also, you can use tools like Serene and Freedom to keep you focused on work and block distractions. If you can’t help with social media or can’t ignore email messages, use tools that block these websites and notifications.
4. Stay Updated on the Latest Software and Tools
As remote workers and virtual teams become more common, so does the number of software applications that support them.
To advance in your remote working career, you must be familiar with tools that allow you to effectively collaborate with your teammates.
Remote work tools are essential for a stress-free environment and for maintaining workflow in both small and large teams. It can also assist you in keeping track of your teammates’ work and keeping them focused.
Depending on your industry, there are different tools that ease telecommuting and help you boost productivity.
You can use a time tracker for better time management, a project management tool to organize your tasks, and a file-sharing platform to share and collaborate on documents and files.
5. Communicate Effectively
A remote career can be difficult when it requires collaborating with teammates to complete tasks due to a lack of in-person connection.
To avoid confusion or delays in tasks, it is necessary to communicate and provide feedback to your teammates regularly.
Leverage video meetings, text messages, emails, and phone calls to communicate effectively. When engaging with people virtually, there are a variety of tools available to promote productive communication.
Video conversations are the best way to maintain a human connection with your teammates. During remote meetings, try to define your goals and expectations clearly and keep everyone involved to deliver your message.
You can also diversify your communication as constant video-based meetings tend to cause exhaustion.
6. Clarify Expectations
Clarifying expectations begins with frequent and open conversations with your boss and co-workers to ensure you understand what they expect you to accomplish and when.
Continue to manage expectations as you move forward with projects and tasks, providing updates and clarifying specifics as needed.
When you’ve met your deadline, collect feedback to ensure you did everything you needed to do. This will assist you in developing trust and ensuring that you and your teammates are on the same page.
Defining your goals and expectations helps you put things in focus and keeps you on the right track. This way, you’ll be less distracted by things that don’t matter and can concentrate on what will help you achieve your goals.
7. Upskill with Online Courses
Working remotely means you’re mostly on your own, with no manager or teammate nearby to help you.
As a result, upskilling is required to help you keep up with new technologies and innovations in ever-growing industries. Furthermore, it helps you stand out from the crowd and gives you an advantage when applying for any job role.
Every industry has fierce competition, and clients and companies are always looking for the best talent. Thus, getting into remote work as an entry-level professional may be difficult.
However, with an enhanced skill set, you can stay current on the desired domain you’re applying for and showcase your profile to potential employers with the most up-to-date skills.
You can improve your skills by using popular online learning platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning.
8. Prioritize Your Tasks
Knowing what to do and the right time to do it is another critical skill you need as a remote worker. The good thing is that it’s not a difficult skill to learn. You just have to be consistent and intentional about task prioritization to be good at it.
To start prioritizing tasks, list out all your activities on a comprehensive to-do list. This list should cover all your engagements, down to minor tasks you may think are not important.
Then, you can start categorizing them by urgent and important tasks. These categories will help you determine what to keep on the list and what to remove.
The best way to prioritize is using the Eisenhower matrix. You get to group tasks in four buckets:
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Not important and urgent
- Not urgent and not important
The important and urgent jobs should be handled before anything else. You can schedule the important and not urgent tasks for later, preferably after you complete the first group. Then, delegate the not important and urgent tasks as they’re not critical to your work process. The last category should be deleted.
You can also focus on finishing your most difficult and important tasks of the day in the morning. This way, you’re clearing out the most challenging job and the rest of the day can be easier to handle.
9. Practice Time Management
Being time efficient is critical for remote workers. That’s because working from home almost erases the work-life boundary and can make you work the entire day.
So, knowing how best to use your time will help you create the needed balance between work and life.
How do you manage your time? Follow these tips:
- Stick to a defined daily work pattern.
- Use a time tracking tool to monitor how you work and remind yourself to get off work.
- Set timers.
- Identify time wasters like unnecessary emails and meetings and get rid of them
10. Prioritize Self-care
With the freedom to work when and where you want, remote work can feel liberating.
However, over time, it may cause work-life imbalance, resulting in stress, isolation, and decreased productivity.
As a result, it is important to prioritize health and self-care to ensure that your work-life balance is not impacted by your lifestyle.
Add enough breaks to your schedule and respect them.
You can also take walks, organize virtual water cooler chats, and schedule coffee breaks with colleagues to allow yourself to unwind from your work.
What’s more, you can use your independence to work remotely and socialize in co-working spaces or cafés.
You can boost productivity levels, enhance your social life, and maintain a work-life balance when you imbibe proactive habits when working from home. The tips in this post will keep you proactive as long as you continue to practice them.