Working Remotely? 7 Tips for Doing it Well + Staying Happy

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Remote working has been growing in popularity over the past few years, where companies outsource entire aspects of their businesses to independent and remote workers. In a survey by Buffer, 99% of 2,500 respondents said they’d like to try remote working, at least some of the time, during their career.

But remote working comes with its own challenges. Some include overworking or not setting boundaries, interruptions from everyday household work (kids, pets, etc.), struggling with the motivation to work, and productivity.

There is a silver lining, however, as you can take action to improve the way you work and still enjoy the benefits of working remotely. So check out these seven tips for staying happy and successful.

1. Set boundaries.
Strive for the live-work-play lifestyle. That means, don’t lose out on personal time and leisure by overloading yourself with work—but at the same time, be strict enough with yourself to allocate the right amount of time to work.

2. Designate a dedicated working area.
Remote workers have the privilege of being able to work at home, but not everyone is immune to the distractions that come along with it. Having a dedicated work space helps ease distractions such as binge watching on Netflix or falling asleep while working in bed.

Consider turning a corner of your home or apartment into an office area, then commit to using this space only for work, and during work hours only.

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3. Change things up.
You might not be completely aware, but things like distracting background noises, changes in lighting, and the time of day can all affect the way you work.

So here’s one simple fix: shake up your routine. Some remote workers and freelancers work in coffee shops, while others sign up for co-working spaces.

If you aren’t sure where to find a co-working space, do a quick Google search for nearby ones in your area. Check out their amenities and read through reviews.

4. Make a schedule (and stick to it.
There’s nobody managing you but you, so self-discipline is essential. Set aside a few minutes to map out your goals for the week, then set tasks for each day that inch you closer to those goals.

If you’re fortunate enough to design your own work hours, you can plan around other things you might need to do in the day such as errands for your home or taking care of family members.

Planning your day keeps you focused and organized. And, of course, be sure to make time for lunch breaks and other rest periods you’ll need.

5. Know your priorities.
When priorities are clear, decisions are easier to make. It’s important to align yourself with the goals that matter the most to you. For example, if one of your priorities is family time, then adjust your schedule to make sure you spend enough time with your partner or kids. If you value skill-building and advancing your career as a freelancer or remote worker, prioritize time to make progress on that goal.

6. Invest in the right tools.
There are a variety of tools, resources, and software applications that remote workers can use to be more successful in their work. For example, freelancers who have to market themselves constantly find that automation tools save them time while still managing their prospects. There are also tools like Asana and Trello for project management, and communication apps like Slack and Telegram.

7. Don’t forget yourself.
There’s no denying that everyone needs to have a life outside of work, so make you and your well-being a priority. Don’t forget to make time for things that spark passion in you. If that’s a certain hobby or making time to attend events and seminars to keep learning and growing, make it as much as a priority as your work.

After all, you’re the only person who can design the ideal lifestyle you want as a remote worker, so use that privilege well.

This post comes from our partner Freelancers Union.

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Freelancers Union
Freelancers Union has been advocating on behalf of independent workers since 1995, giving members access to education, resources, discounts, community, and benefits. Membership is free, open to anyone, and spans the full spectrum of freelance work, from graphic designers and contractors to entrepreneurs, entertainers, and moonlighters. Join us!
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