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Working remotely for most people always seems like a simple task, stay at home, get stuff done, and avoid interruption (most of the time). However, working remotely can be completely different than what most people perceive. You would think you would have fewer distractions and more time to dedicate towards getting your tasks done, but if you have some bad habits or lose track of time, you may find it's the opposite of productive. I started remote work a few years back, I eased into it with one day a week, then progressively started working more days remote. I found a few things along the way that helped me to stay more focused.
While you're working remotely, you may have a team that is 100% in the office all the time, and they perceive working remotely as "they're unavailable until they're sitting in their seat." That can be beyond frustrating when your work requires you to be collaborative with others. I found this can sometimes be due to how the culture at the office perceives remote work. While you can't change a culture overnight, you can do a few things to help others realize you're working remotely.
Watch out for those chores! It's effortless to get distracted while working remotely, especially at home. Everyone has a list of never-ending chores that need to be accomplished. If you have kids and/or pets, then the list grows. It's easy to give in to the urge to go to a load of laundry, do some dishes, and catch up on cleaning. The simple truth is, that is costing you more productivity time than you may realize. I found it easier to either start those early in the morning before I begin working or wait until my lunch break, and even after my day is done. It's easier to rationalize by the following; Would you do your laundry and dishes at the office? These little chores here and there add up.
There are a lot of bad habits you might find yourself having to break. Bad habits can cause you to become distracted and lose out on being productive. Here are a few things I've learned along the way to keep myself from being distracted.
Working remotely makes it beyond easy just to lose track of time. I have been so drawn to a project that I don't realize I've been sitting anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. While this seems excellent to be able to spend that much time just being focused on a single task, the simple fact is that it's just not healthy. There is also the flip side of endless meetings, calls, reviews, etc. The list can go on and on. Sometimes the day runs long, and other days there's constant contextual shifting. I've learned a few tricks throughout my day to help break it up and seem less of just sitting at my desk all day.
Now that I've shared a few things I've learned over the years by being a remote worker, please share what you've learned to adjust while working remotely.