Check out these tips for boosting productivity, being connected, and staying healthy.
Remote working has been feasible since the days of dial-up internet, but it was only recently that the trend of “digital nomadism” took off and became the norm. Today, more companies are embracing remote work more than ever!
For the uninitiated, digital nomads are remote workers with wanderlust. They like to travel the world, laptop in tow, and work from Airbnbs, coffee shops, co-working spaces, and even WiFi-equipped beachside bars.
Of course, working remotely—whether it’s from your home, Airbnb, or poolside cabana—does come with its share of challenges. And now that remote working is becoming increasingly common, with more than 70% of the global workforce operating out-of-office at least one day per week, we want to share some tips on remaining productive, connected, and healthy when working remotely.
If you are new to working remotely, here are 10 tips from digital nomads on how to live your best out-of-office life:
- Stick to regular working hours. Tempting as it may be to sleep in or work late, it’s best to keep regular and clearly defined working hours. By following a routine work schedule, you can help trigger your brain to go into “focus mode” at a certain time. Of course, a nine-to-five schedule might not be realistic for all—especially if you have childcare responsibilities or are working with teams in different time zones. But one of the many perks of working from home is the flexibility to set your own work hours. For instance, if you know you tend to be more productive in the morning, you can set your work hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Productivity apps like RescueTime can help you monitor when you are sticking to your schedule and determine the times of day when you are most productive.
- Dedicate a place for working. Like setting specific work hours, designating a place to serve as a workspace can help you stay focused. It could be a specific room in your home or Airbnb. But even if you live in a smaller space, dedicating a desk, table, or even a specific corner of a room can help you get in the mindset to work. Wherever you choose to work, make sure it is as comfortable as possible— that means a comfy chair, good lighting, and minimal distractions.
- Get dressed. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking the time to get dressed can actually help you transition into work mode and ultimately improve your productivity. Appearance-based tasks like showering, brushing your teeth, and getting dressed alert your brain that it’s time to wake up and get to work. You don’t have to dress as formally or get as gussied up as you might for the office, but taking care of your appearance can give your confidence a boost and draw the line between work and non-work hours.
- Follow a morning routine. Along with getting showered and dressed, following a morning routine can help you transition into work mode. For example, many traditional workers stop by Starbucks for a cappuccino on their commute to the office to mentally prepare for the workday ahead.
As a remote worker, consider replacing your commute with a quick jog or home workout. Meditate, brew up a pot of coffee, put on some productivity-boosting music (Spotify has a ton of “Focus” playlists for this very purpose) or tune in on your favorite Podcast —all of these activities can be more effective than a clock at letting your body know it’s time to start your workday.
- Stay connected. While working remotely from your colleagues, staying connected can become trickier—and more important—than ever. Don’t be afraid to over communicate. The best workers reach out to their teams regularly to check in, collaborate on projects, convey changes, delegate new assignments, ask for help, and express concerns and opinions.
And you don’t have to rely exclusively on email or Slack. Phone calls and video chats can replicate the in-person experience and help minimize miscommunication, confusion, and the sense of isolation that can come with remote work.
- Disconnect from social media. When you’re working out-of-office, you don’t have much to keep you from constantly checking your Facebook or Twitter feed. To minimize distractions, sign out of your social media accounts—or, better yet, download a distraction-blocking app like FocusMe or Offtime.
- Invest in self-development. Take time to reflect on what you have learned and think about ways to improve yourself further. Future-proof yourself by enhancing your resume or portfolio. Update your LinkedIn profile or build a personal website. Be creative and use online resources to learn something new to add on to your existing skills. It’s never too late to learn a new language, teach yourself how to program, or become skilled at the latest software. You can do all this and more with online courses at sites such as Udemy, Khanacademy and Sololearn.
- Take short, intermittent breaks. Here’s another tip that might sound counter-productive: take breaks. Research has shown that taking breaks boosts productivity and creativity by helping you feel refreshed and ready for work. Further studies have found that short, intermittent breaks are preferable to one or two long ones. Ergonomic experts have suggested that a quick break every 20 minutes is ideal for health and preventing computer work-related injuries. During these breaks, you should step away from your computer to perform a movement-related activity like stretching, walking, or—if you’re feeling ambitious—a few push-ups or sit-ups.
- Reward yourself. After a productive work day, reward yourself with online activities that are all about fun. Take time to be social, spend time with family and loved ones (remotely using tools like Houseparty). Read a book with a Kindle, watch a movie on Netflix, or follow your favorite vlogger on YouTube.
- Eat mindfully. With your kitchen never more than a few footsteps away, it can be easy to end up mindlessly chowing down on a constant stream of leftover pizza, candy, or Oreos when you are working at home. Keeping a supply of healthy eats like fruit and nuts on hand can help.
To cut back on mindless snacking, make sure you use your lunch break to prepare a proper lunch. If you’re short on time, try a food delivery service like UberEats.
Are you a remote worker ready to embark on a location independent lifestyle? Check out Lifeafar’s comprehensive selection of remote worker-friendly apartment rentals in top digital nomad cities like Medellín, Colombia, and Porto, Portugal. All of our short-term rentals come with high-speed internet, and many boast state-of-the-art workstations designed to make your remote workday as comfortable and productive as possible.