Tips for working remotely - woman working on the floor at home with laptop

Need tips for working remotely? Whether working from home is a temporary thing or a new permanent routine, you’ve got to set yourself up for success. Our virtual assistants are experts at remote working, so we’ve pooled our ten best tips to help you stay on track and more productive while working from home!

1. Keep your morning routine the same.

Working from home can be tough at first because there are so many distractions; you see the pile of dishes in the sink, the overflowing trashcan, the dog pawing at your foot to throw the ball, and if you have kids at home – good luck! It’s hard not to feel compelled to take care of things around the house because they’re right there, but then when would you get your work done?

In this case, it helps to recreate the same mental association you have with work and the office in your own home. Set your alarm for the same time, shower and dress in work clothes, and even set your desktop up like your work computer to help you feel mentally ready for work.

2. Schedule your day the same as the office.

Create personal events and reminders in your online calendar that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. If there are specific times during the day that you do certain tasks, try to stick to that routine as much as possible. It will help to mentally prepare you for regular meeting times and other tasks that officemates were once able to hold you accountable for.

3. Make a dedicated work space.

One of our favorite tips for working remotely is to have a dedicated work space. Don’t just work on your laptop sitting in your bed or couch unless you absolutely have to. Even if you don’t have an official home office, you can still make a space to work in your kitchen or somewhere you don’t associate with sleeping or relaxing. Having a space you go to to specifically get your work done will help stay you motivated and keep the right frame of mind.

4. Make it harder to access social media.

Social media is designed to be distracting and addictive. Stay away from it completely during working hours, or set a time limit to check your accounts but only when you’re on a designated break.

Remove social media sites from your toolbar bookmarks and log out of every account if you can’t trust yourself not to mindlessly check them. If your scrolling addiction is more severe, put an app like Offtime or Freedom on your phone to lock you out of social media apps until you allow yourself free time to browse them.

5. Work when you’re most productive.

Did you know that the average American worker only does actual work for about three hours out of an eight-hour day? Save harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. If your most productive time of the day is mid-morning, work on more involved projects then. If it’s harder for you to stay motivated after lunch, save your easier tasks for that time of the day.

6. Plan your day out ahead of time.

Again, you know when you feel the most awake, motivated, and ready to take on tasks, so use those times to your advantage. You may also need to plan around meetings or work on things with a co-worker. Having things planned out a few days in advance, when possible, will help you stay on track with deadlines without getting completely overwhelmed. It’ll also allow you to pivot without losing momentum or time. When you start your day immediately knowing what’s expected, you’ll be in a more motivated and alert headspace, fully prepared for the task at hand.

7. Set boundaries with people you live with.

Set clear boundaries and expectations with roommates, spouses, kids, siblings, etc. by letting them know they need to respect your workspace. Let them know that just because you’re home doesn’t mean you’re available. Try to minimize distractions by letting them know your work hours and the times you absolutely can’t be bothered. Of course, this can be challenging, especially with younger children or an anxious pet that needs walked, so there will be times when distractions are unavoidable. Let your family know you can talk or play at designated times for your breaks or lunch.

8. Take clear breaks.

Just like your tasks and must-dos, you should schedule breaks into your day when you force yourself to have a stopping point. This helps to keep you focused during your active working times as it gives you something to look forward to and a stopping point. Get away from your desk and step outside to get fresh air for a minute. Allow yourself time to respond to personal messages. Take a full 30 minutes to eat lunch in another space other than at your desk.

9. Make time for self-care.

You can do this on your breaks throughout the day or at another time, but make some time to decompress from tedious tasks or workday stressors. Take 10 minutes to meditate, stretch, have a dance break with some upbeat music, jump rope, or walk around the block. Just do something that will be good for your mind and body. You need a few moments to decompress from your day to brush off boredom or screen fatigue. It’s incredibly easy to forget to take care of your personal needs, especially when you’re between work tasks or kids tugging on your sleeve wanting to know what’s for dinner. Practicing a few minutes of self-care each day will not only keep your focus fresh when you’re back to work, but it’ll keep you healthier. It’s more than just one of the tips for working remotely, it’s a tip for life!

10. Pick a definitive time to clock out for the night.

Most people assume you have a better work/life balance working from home, but it’s actually easier to lose track of time, get sucked into work tasks late at night, and have your work bleed into your personal life. With your work station and work computer in the house, you may feel obligated to respond to emails after quitting hours, or catch up on work for the next day after dinner.

Set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your work day is done. Obviously, you can finish tasks you’re in the middle of, but know that your workday is technically over and you should step away. Otherwise, you may find yourself plugging away until bedtime and that’s a great way to end up completely burnt out.

These simple tips can help you make your day more productive and your work tasks more enjoyable. Working from home has many great benefits, but it’s important to set boundaries and maintain routines with your housemates and yourself to help you stay focused, on track, and sane!

Tips for working remotely not enough?

Need help staying organized while working at home? Let’s chat!