Working remotely has become the new norm and a dream come true for many professionals. No more long commutes, distracting co-workers, or disappointing coffee runs. Instead, we get to work in our pajamas, play our favorite music, and create our own schedules.
However, while remote work has many perks, it also has its challenges. We are now responsible for our own productivity, motivation, and time management.
So, to help you succeed in your remote work journey, here are some good work habits that you should adopt.
Good Work Habits For Remote Work
Time blocking is a technique that involves breaking down your day into purposeful chunks of time, and allocating specific activities to each chunk.
For example, you might block off 9-11 am for deep work, 11-12 am for responding to emails, 12-1 pm for lunch, and so on.
This technique helps you stay focused, organized, and accountable. You can use your favorite calendar tool to create your time blocks by simply creating events for them.
Some time blockers can be recurring (i.e. 30min for emails at the same time every day) or ad hoc (i.e. block off a specific time to complete a task).
If you want to take this to the next level, you can combine both!
For example, you can set a recurring time block for personal development and learning but create ad hoc overlapping time blocks for the actual thing you’re planning to learn or work on.
Pro tip: If you’re a visual person like me, color code your time blocks so you know what each one is about at a glance (i.e. internal calls, tasks, head down time, etc.).
The benefits of time blocking are numerous, including increased productivity, reduced stress, and improved work-life balance.
Using a Kanban Board for To-Do’s
A Kanban board is a visual tool that helps you manage your tasks and projects.
It consists of columns that represent the different stages of your work. A barebone Kanban board will usually contain “backlog”, “in progress”, and “done”. However, you can also add one for “waiting for dependency” and/or “stuck” for better visibility over your tasks’ status.
There are several tools to create Kanban boards online such as Trello, Notion, Asana, GitHub, and more.
The concept is fairly simple. You can fill your “backlog” column with your tasks and then move the ones you’re working on to “in progress” until they’re completed and moved to “done”.
The Kanban rule is to never have more than two or three tasks “in progress” so you can stay focused and get shit done like a boss.
Most available tools also allow you to set custom properties such as “Priority” and a due date for extra accountability.
Your Kanban board should be your go-to spot to record all tasks to be done.
This will help you follow through on everything you said you’d do and be a superstar among your colleagues!
Building a Second Brain
Building a second brain means creating a digital repository of all your knowledge, ideas, and resources in a way that makes them easily accessible at any time in the future.
This can include notes, articles, podcasts, videos, or books that you have collected over time.
You can use apps like Evernote, Logseq, or Notion to create your second brain.
This technique is useful for remote workers because it allows you to access your information from anywhere, organize your thoughts, and expand your creativity.
Scheduling Coffee Chats with Colleagues
Scheduling coffee chats with colleagues means setting aside time to have informal conversations with your team members or other colleagues within your company.
This can ideally be done over video calls but phone calls are a good enough backup. Coffee chats are great for remote workers because they help you build relationships, understand your colleagues’ perspectives, and exchange ideas.
An impromptu coffee chat can go a long way. We almost always assume others are too busy and we would just be bothering them, but they might think the exact same thing!
By having informal chats with colleagues across your organization, you’ll most likely learn a thing or two that’s relevant to your role, better understand the business you work in, and might even make a new close friend!
Fully Disconnecting When Taking Time Off
By fully disconnecting when taking time off, I really mean fully unplugging.
This includes turning off your notifications, avoiding checking your emails or Slack messages, and setting clear boundaries with your team.
This technique is essential when you work remotely because it helps you recharge, relax, and maintain your mental health.
If you can’t fully disconnect for valid reasons (i.e. absolutely no one can cover you while you’re off) this might be a sign to make a few adjustments to avoid burning out in the medium and long term.
If you do have someone who can cover you and still feel guilty about burdening them with your workload, think of it this way: Would you do the same thing for them if they were out of office? Chances are the answer to this is yes, so drop the drama and grab your piña colada.
Working remotely can be both a blessing and a curse. While it offers you more freedom, autonomy, and flexibility, it also requires you to be more disciplined, organized, and proactive.
By adopting good work habits, you can enhance your productivity, motivation, and well-being as a remote worker.
About the author
Karim Bel Hadj
As his name suggests, Karim is the founder of Creme de la Karim. He fell in love with remote working since he left his first corporate job and never looked back! And because something you love is almost always better shared, he is on a mission to help all remote workers and digital nomads make the most of this amazing lifestyle. You can reach out to him via Twitter @cremedelakarim