7 Tips To Make Your Remote Work More Productive

How to be productive when no one is watching?

I bet that many remote employees ask themselves this question. When working in the office, you are part of the whole office environment. That means you adapt to the setting and soak up company culture. 

Therefore, you unconsciously take your colleagues’ work habits and your managers’ work approach.

So think about your home office – it lacks this opportunity. Here, you have to create your work culture by yourself.

girl working from home

The same happened to me. My switch to a remote work environment was a true challenge. For a few first days, I thought it looked the same as in the office: I woke up early, grabbed my coffee, and went to my “office” (I mean, my desk with my laptop in the room corner). 

I was chatting with my friends on Slack, ticked off my assignments one by one, and logged off, closing my laptop, when my workday was over. 

However, this dream has lasted only for a while.

Day by day, I have realized how difficult it is to focus on tasks and make my work done when no one is watching what I’m doing. 

Being so self-motivated has consumed much energy I’d rather put into my work. I discovered that developing an office vibe is not the work for one person – the whole team actually contributes to it when working in the office. 

I missed how the work pace is somehow imposed on the entire team and the companionship of other working people that motivated me to work.

I realized one thing – creating a working environment by yourself is essential if you want to be productive, especially if you don’t wish returning to the office. But how to do so?

I started working remotely 3 years ago, and since then, I’ve developed some strategies that work for me.

Tips to Make Your Remote Work More Productive

Here are my 7 tips to make remote work more productive

1. Don’t try to be productive (too hard)

Trying too hard may bring the opposite effect.

We tend to put pressure on ourselves when it comes to our self-development.  

Sometimes we make an incredible effort to be more productive and achieve more, no matter how we feel. But if we are not careful, this approach can actually hurt our productivity by stressing us out.

Stress has many adverse effects on our health – from affecting our sleep to headaches to memory impairments, making us not only fatigued in everyday lives but also less focused in work. According to the latest studies –

I think those statistics prove it’s worth saying out loud: stop trying to be productive too much

The key is recognizing the limit from which productive behaviors only lead you down a path of unhappiness and stress which will not help you achieve anything in the end. 

So, what should you do when you realize you have entered this path? Take a deep breath (it really helps), and try to change your mind about your work from excellent performance to enjoying what you do. 

In other words, focus on what you love and do your best as long as you can. You can also follow the steps:

  • Take breaks when needed, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your mind needs to rest and recharge.
  • Don’t try to do too many tasks at once. Focus on one thing at a time to complete it correctly.
  • Don’t worry about what other people think of you or what they might say about your work. This will only make you more stressed and less productive.
  • Stop trying so hard and give yourself permission not to be perfect all the time!

Actually, a peaceful mind will ensure better performance than all productivity apps that may overly stress you out. 

2. Get your morning routine

Every morning is a new beginning, influencing how you will feel the upcoming day.

A morning routine sets the tone for the rest of your day. It’s a chance to get your mind and body ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead. 

Can you imagine a plane flying without inspection? Me neither. So why do we neglect to prepare our bodies and minds for the coming day?

woman doing yoga while working from home

good morning routine should be tailored to your individual needs, but a few things help everyone get the most out of their day. 

  • Exercises. Take some time to stretch and get your blood flowing. This could involve anything from a simple neck roll to a complete yoga session. 
  • Nutrition. Eat a healthy breakfast that will give you energy and focus for the day ahead. 
  • Mindset. Take some time to plan your day and set your intentions for hours ahead. 

Everyday routine is especially important for remote employees, who don’t have to go to the office, so they don’t have any “starting point” for the day. 

You’ll enjoy a productive working day by taking care of yourself and starting your day with purpose. 

3. Be flexible

Follow the routine and be flexible at once – really? I know it sounds tricky, but let me explain.

The reality doesn’t adapt to our schedules. Despite our plans, every day brings new surprising challenges, such as an infected computer, flu, or emergency tasks. 

In such a changing environment, it’s impossible to always stick to your plan. If you have ever tried to follow your schedule day by day, you catch on to what I’m talking about.

But – it doesn’t mean you should skip your plan whenever something unexpected happens. The point is not to give up but to adapt

For example, if you have a problem with your WiFi connection (what happens to all remote employees), use this time to brainstorm, plan the next day, or do anything you can do offline instead of wasting it. 

Adaptability made us successful as a species {wink}, so it can also make you successful in your career.

4. Identify your most productive hours

Most people are more productive at certain times of the day than others, all due to chronotypes. 

chronotype is your natural disposition to get different alertness and activity levels at certain times. That means you feel more energized and focused in some hours of the day than others.

Indeed, the 9-to-5 office schedule is not for everyone. For some, the more productive time is early in the morning before the distractions of the day set in. 

For others, it’s late at night when the house is quiet, and they can focus on their work. And for others, it’s somewhere in between. 

The key is to identify your most productive hours and make the most of them. Most remote employees have flexible schedules, which gives them an excellent opportunity to make the most of their working day. 

One way to do this is to keep a daily journal to track your mood, energy levels, and productivity. 

productivity while working remotely

Over time, you’ll start to see patterns emerge. Another way is to experiment with different work schedules and see what works best for you. 

If you have the flexibility, try working for a few hours in the morning, taking a break in the afternoon, and then working for a few more hours in the evening. 

See how you feel and make adjustments as needed. Also, analyze your performance for different tasks at different times of the day. 

Some people find it easier to do creative things in the morning and analytical tasks at night.

The important thing is to find a schedule that works for you, so you don’t waste your time working when you are ineffective. 

5. Sleep well

Sleep is one of the most important things for our well-being, so it affects our performance, too. 

We all know how it feels when we are tired and can’t concentrate on anything; our minds are wandering, our heads are in pain, and any rustling is annoying. Indeed, the lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your health, mood, and productivity as well. 

Why does it work like that? Because sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone. Therefore, you feel more stressed, anxious, and tired after a night without sleep. 

Research has also shown that people exhausted by sleep deprivation are more likely to make mistakes at work

They also have lower energy levels, which makes them less productive than those who get enough restful sleep every day. 

The best way to avoid these negative consequences is by getting enough high-quality sleep every night – about eight hours for adults, as the National Sleep Foundation recommended

Not only number of hours are important – the sleep quality also matters. If you’re struggling with your sleep, these tips might help:

  • Avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime and caffeine in the evening, as it will disrupt your sleep pattern.
  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet 
  • Make a habit of shutting off all screens at least an hour before sleeping.
  • Relax. End your day in chilling mode, taking a warm bath or meditation session.

Well-rested, you will be ready to face all your remote work challenges.

6. Test new methods

Repeating the same pattern won’t bring you different results. If your current approach doesn’t work, it’s time to test something new.

We all tend to cling to our old habits. Due to a cognitive bias called declinism, we see the past in an overly positive light and believe that future things are getting worse. 

That makes us overestimate our present state and pessimistic about the future, so we are not motivated enough to make changes. But what if a change would bring you something better?

Try to break this mentality. Testing new methods is the only way to see what works best for you. Even things that you see as unrelated to your job, like how your desk looks, can impact your work comfort. 

So, research remote work blogs, talk with your friends, and get inspired on new methods that can help you improve your productivity.

7. Enjoy the moment – get fun from your job.

Today I was so involved in writing this piece that I didn’t hear the doorbell, and I nearly missed the delivery of my package (luckily, a courier called my phone). 

Can you relate? For me, that’s the perfect example of how enjoying the moment can help you get more out of your job. 

Nothing makes me more focused on the task than being present and engaged in what I’m doing. The more I enjoy my assignment, the more I soak up it. 

But it’s true not only for me – productivity is incredibly dependent on our feelings since positive emotions boost our performance

Let’s be honest – sometimes the workday sucks, and it’s difficult to find any highlights. On days like that, take a short break and try to change your perspective. 

A positive attitude and good energy help you to get the most out of your workday and lead to higher satisfaction in your career.

Final thoughts

Developing a productive remote workflow is not an easy task – but it’s definitely worth your effort. Higher performance means making more in fewer hours, saving time, and decreasing your deadlines-stress. 

Doesn’t it sound appealing?

About the author: Karolina Turowska, a writer and travel enthusiast at PhotoAiD. When it comes to writing, she loves bringing dry facts to life. When it comes to traveling, she just loves bikes.

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