How to Work Remotely and Not Lose Your Mind
Because I live in Knoxville and my job is in Nashville, my friends and family typically have many questions about my job: “Do you still live in Knoxville?” “Are you still working in Nashville?” “Do you actually have a job?” (FYI friends and fam, the answer is still “yes” to all of those).
One of the luxuries of the modern work place is the ability to work remotely. While I whole-heartedly love the flexibility this allows, the transition from corporate office to working in my yoga pants took more organization than I originally thought and whole lot of patience with myself.
After nearly four years of working remotely and going back-and-forth between my beloved Tennessee cities, I am pleased to share some of the systems that work to keep me organized (and sane) while I am working from home:
Routines. I am 100% a routine person. I am at my best when I have a schedule for the things I have to do each week, both personally and professionally. I’ve found that if I wake up early and get some of my personal obligations out of the way, I have a clear head and can jump right in to work. I also schedule certain things for the same day and time each week. First thing Monday morning, my calendar is blocked off for planning my week for each client, building my work to-do list and prioritizing my days. Similarly, I have time blocked off on my calendar on Wednesday to go through my to-do list for the week, highlight anything that is urgent and must get done, and ensure I am not missing any deadlines. Routines are essential and help me stay on track.
Boundaries. Working remotely – specifically from my home – is where I struggle most with work/life dynamics. I am much more apt to feel guilty that the laundry isn’t folded because I see it every time I walk by it, all day long. I learned early on that I had to create boundaries in my day and let things go. I usually wake up early and do a few things around the house – put in a load of laundry, go grocery shopping, tidy up the living room, do any dishes from breakfast – and then, it’s time to work. I treat my day as I would treat it if I was in the office.
I also use my breaks throughout the day to get small things done.If I’ve been staring at the computer for four hours, I may step away and fold some laundry. The 15-minute break revives me mentally, and checks one more thing off my home to-do list!
Keep learning. Researching is my jam (yes, dorky, I know.), so I am constantly reading about and learning how to stay on track while working remotely.
I follow several freelancers, entrepreneurs and influencers who share tips on Instagram and their blogs, like Jenna Kutcher.
And, I monitor my favorite news outlets for helpful hints, like these recent posts:
- 5 Simple Tips to Working Remotely from Money.com
- Working Remotely? These 7 Positive Habits Can Help You Be More Productive from Inc.com
- 5 Genuine Ways to Make Friends When You WFH from Brit+Co
Get out of the house. Sometimes, I have to get away from my home office and out in the real world. There have been full weeks where I haven’t left the house and my dog, Lola, is the only thing I’ve talked to. While Lola is a great conversationalist, it helps me stay sane to interact with others and switch up my work space.
Finally, I encourage you to give yourself some grace and time to find systems and routines that work for you. Everyone is different and none of our team members do this exactly the same.
And, I would love to hear your best tips and lessons from working remotely!