Staying motivated as a remote worker is one of the greatest challenges for freelancers. You do not have a set schedule or a boss breathing down your neck, so it is not always easy to get everything done. It is important to look into productivity boosters to help you be your best self.
“Sure, you can wear what you want and start when you like, but losing the structure provided by a regular office job can be detrimental to success,” warns Andrew Rosen, founder and editor of Jobacle.com. “Work-from-home jobs are best suited for people who hold themselves accountable and have good self-awareness.”
Just because you are struggling with productivity now, does not mean you cannot learn the traits necessary to be a great remote worker.
Here are a few things you can do to boost productivity.
1. Join a Coworking Space
A coworking space is an office space that multiple freelancers and remote workers rent out for their personal use. Most of the time, they come from different backgrounds and jobs. The only thing they have in common is their desire for a shared, productive working space.
While coworking spaces are not a new concept, they have since taken off in popularity in the last decade. There are tens of thousands of available spaces all over the U.S. where you can work with others, primarily in urban areas.
2. Establish a Set Schedule
Remote workers are at their most productive when they are working in a pre-set time frame.
“You don’t necessarily have to work that 9-5, but you do need to make a schedule for yourself,” co-founder and growth marketer of Web Profits, Sujan Patel, says in a Forbes article. “Some people operate better at night, others work best with a late start midday, but the universal truth is that remote employees who commit to working specific hours as if they were in an office are more likely to get work done during those hours. Whatever hours are best for you are the hours you should commit to.”
3. Do Not Work in Your Pajamas
Patel also talks about how pajamas are often the antithesis of productivity. Getting ready for the day can make all the difference in your daily motivation.
“If you really want to stay motivated, get out of your pajamas,” he says. “Dress for work to help set the tone and keep you focused. You don’t have to put on a suit and tie to work at your dining room table or the local coffee house, but do try to dress in something that doesn’t make you look like a model for Sleepy Time Tea.”
4. Make Lists of Priorities
Successful remote workers know the value of prioritization. As a freelancer, your work is likely never completely finished. However, you will have items that must be completed first.
As you make your list of to-dos, write down the top five things that must be done that day. Follow that list with the next most important items. You will feel more accomplished because you completed your top priorities, and even more accomplished if you cross a few extras off the list.
5. See Some Sunlight
“If you work from home, you may find yourself not leaving the house for days at a time, which is no good,” warns an article from Aircall. “Not only are sunlight and fresh air crucial to your health, but they’ll also clear your head and motivate you. Staying stuck in front of a screen all day, especially if you’re tackling a difficult task, if actually detrimental to your productivity.”
Sunlight is an essential component for our mental and emotional wellness. Those who do not see enough sun tend to experience greater feelings of depression and anxiety. Go for the occasional walk or work outside if the weather is nice.
6. Block Online Distractions
Did you know that the average person spends up to three hours per day looking at social media? It is pretty easy to be all-consumed by social channels, especially if you are doing mindless or repetitive work. Use blockers like Focus or Self-Control (two great apps we recommend) to eliminate the temptation to surf social sites.
7. Turn Your Phone on Airplane Mode
As soon as your phone buzzes, your brain is instantly distracted. You often cannot concentrate until you check the text or email.
“Technology is our biggest distraction, but we still need it to communicate. I minimize distractions and stay on target by putting my phone on airplane mode,” Sweta Patel, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing, told Inc.com. “This helps me get my work done and take action. If I decide to take a five-minute break, I can turn airplane mode off.”
8. Communicate with Housemates
Those living with you should know your work time is off-limits. It can be challenging to set these boundaries, especially with your kids. However, it is critical to your success in your remote office. It will take a little time, but your housemates will get used to your work schedule, and unnecessary interruptions will cease.