This post is sponsored by Alliance Virtual Offices. All opinions are my own.
As you may know, I have been working remotely for years now, and I can say that it’s been one of the best decisions I made for my family and career. There are so many benefits of working remotely, such as having more time flexibility, and the ability to run your career or business from home or even anywhere!
But let’s face it. There are also lots of challenges of working remotely. You see, you just don’t transition to remote work and expect everything to fall into place. Today, I am sharing my top struggles with my current work setup and tips on how to manage these challenges of working from home.
1. You’re struggling with time management
One of the best benefits of working from home is that you have more control of your time. But this can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you save time because you don’t have to commute to work. But on the other, you are working from home, an environment where you are riddled with a lot more tasks.
Time management is one of the biggest challenges of working from home. How you manage your time is essential to your productivity. Here are my best strategies when you feel like you’re not accomplishing as much as you want to:
● Set and stick to a schedule. Being consistent with your work schedule brings your mind “into the zone” and builds a natural rhythm for your body to work during those hours.
● Set a time for non-work things. You need to figure out when you need to do the laundry, shop for groceries, or visit the dentist so that your work and personal commitments do not clash with one another.
- Block your time according to the nature and urgency of your tasks. Set more time for important and time-consuming tasks to make sure that they get done, and less time for less important tasks.
2. There are too many distractions
When we talk about the challenges of working remotely, distractions are always top of mind. Although it is convenient and comfortable to work from home, distractions around us can lead to loss of productivity. At home, you might have kids who have a million questions, pets constantly asking for rubs and snuggles, and that pile of laundry that’s begging to get washed.
I know it’s not always easy to manage these distractions, and you simply need to attend to some of them if you want to keep working. But I’ve found these strategies really helpful in managing distractions:
● Make it known to your family that you cannot be disturbed during specific hours. You can perhaps hang a “don’t disturb” sign outside your door when you’re in a Zoom meeting with your team.
● Set up a dedicated workspace. Pick a space in your home where you can work comfortably, stay focused, and stay motivated. Cross the bed off of your options because working on the bed can be distracting and it’s bad for your posture.
When you find yourself too distracted at home, consider using coworking offices with Alliance Virtual Offices to improve your productivity.
● Turn off your digital distractions. Distractions are not just inside your home, they can also be inside your own work processes. You can turn off digital distractions by turning off email notifications, and putting your phone on silent or placing it in another room. You can also restrain yourself from opening non-work tabs on your computer by using browser extensions like Blocksite and Cold Turkey.
3. Your personal and professional lives blend together
Many people find it hard to unplug from their remote work lives. Calls, emails, and chats continue to keep coming as long as you are connected to the internet. And oftentimes, you don’t feel like you’re off from work even until late at night. Does this sound familiar? Work-life balance can be elusive when you’re working remotely, but here are tips that can help you draw the line between your work and personal lives:
● Clock in and out consistently. Make the most of your work hours and try to accomplish as much as you can during this period. I personally find the Pomodoro technique effective in managing my time. I set blocks of 1-2 hours of uninterrupted work.
● Screen your calls. Answering trivial calls while working on an important project can throw your focus out of whack. The Live Receptionist service from Alliance Virtual Offices helps you prioritize and take important calls. Plus, a receptionist can screen calls, so your valuable family time doesn’t get interrupted.
● Set a schedule for breaks. Working too much for a long period of time can lead to burnout. Soon enough, you’ll experience mental fatigue and won’t be able to focus. It is essential to take breaks within your work schedule to give yourself some time to recharge. Take this time to go for a walk, cook or bake, work out, nap or meditate, or do whatever it is that feels rewarding and temporarily detaches you from your work.
4. You feel isolated
Remote workers can’t exactly invite their colleagues for lunch or happy hour drinks on Friday night. You can’t help but feel alone and isolated even when every member of your team is just one chat away on Slack. It also doesn’t help that remote workers can’t socialize the way they used to before the pandemic.
Still, there are a couple of ways to cope with isolation and feel that you’re part of a bigger world:
● Take your work outside. If your local government allows it, you can bring your work to a local coffee shop or coworking space. The change of scenery helps break the visual monotony of your workspace at home. Even short chats with neighbors or friends can be energizing.
● Indulge in an outdoor activity. Instead of spending your break time curled up in front of the TV, lace up your shoes and go for a short run or walk outside. You might not be socializing a lot, but it gives you an opportunity to see other people.
● Connect virtually with your family and friends. If going out is not an option, you can spend some time connecting with family and friends via Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp. Talk about something fun and positive so you can return to your desk feeling happy. But of course, do this during your break and don’t let this eat up your work time.
5. You’re losing motivation
We live in a very stressful time, and it’s so easy to get demotivated while working remotely. You don’t see your colleagues or hear your boss say “good work” in person. And with distractions at home and feelings of isolation, I can see why some people just feel they’re not up for working some days.
If you’re feeling that you are losing your focus and energy towards working, I suggest doing the following:
● Look back at your goals. Revisit what you wanted to achieve, whether it’s a promotion, a salary raise, or more acknowledgment at work. Remember why you’re working in the first place– that might just be what you need to rekindle your energy.
● Make tasks manageable. Massive tasks can be daunting, and they may tire you out even before you get started. Break the big tasks down into simple and doable pieces, and tackle them one step at a time.
● Reward yourself for small and big victories. Giving yourself some sort of reward could help bring back your efficiency. However, don’t just focus on larger victories. You should also reward yourself for any small goals you achieve.
I hope that these tips will help you become that best version of a remote worker you can ever be!
What’s your biggest struggle with working remotely and how do you deal with it? Share with us in the comments below!
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