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Transitioning from an office job to remote work can be tough.
Remote work requires A+ organizational and communication skills, and you’ll probably need to improve your habits a bit to adjust.
Luckily, there are some tools and resources that can help. These six useful tips for remote work will keep you on track so matter where in the world you’re working from!
1. Where to Find Remote Jobs
First things first you need to land the job. Remote work is becoming more and more common and there are plenty of job boards dedicated solely to the cause.
2. How to Stay Organized
Staying organized is essential for remote work. You don’t have an office anymore and you may not even have a desk!
I stay organized by doing and writing everything in Google Docs. It’s instantly saved so I never lose anything and I can go back and access it at any time. I also have two email addresses – a personal address and a work address – to keep the two lives separate.
In addition, I can’t recommend the Panda Planner enough. This notebook has calendar pages so you can plan out the big picture, weekly pages to layout your short-term schedule and to-do list, and daily pages with space to write your priorities and break them down into daily tasks.
When everything is online it can be easy to lose track of messages, docs, and goals, so I really love having an old-fashioned planner that I can write in again.
One of my biggest tips for remote work is to stay ultra-organized at all times and the Panda Planner will definitely help you do that!
3. Where to work
Working from home is nice but it can get a bit old. Luckily there are tons of places you can go to get out of the house for a bit.
Although most remote workers go to cafes, don’t forget that there are often beautiful public libraries that you can use free of charge as well.
Then, of course, there are coworking spaces.
I love them but sometimes they can be quite expensive. If you have the budget for one, though, I really recommend it for the social aspect alone. ImpactHub and WeWork are two major chains you can start with because they probably have a location near you no matter where in the world you are.
By the way, most coworking spaces offer free trials. Search for free day passes to coworking spaces in your city and try out a few without spending any money.
4. Keep a Routine
Another one of my most common tips for remote work is to set a routine and stick to it.
People are literally always shocked when Daniel and I tell them we have to work ’cause they think our life is an endless vacation, but we do the 9 to 5 just like everyone else. I work at least 40 hours every week, the only difference is that sometimes I’m on the couch in my pajamas when I do.
Staying productive when you work from home is all about staying in routine. I wake up at the same time every day, go to the gym at the same time every day, and only take weekends and pre-planned vacation days off. If you start telling yourself you’ll go out during the day and work in the evening or just skip a few hours here and there, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
Working remote requires much more discipline than working in an office because only you will hold yourself accountable. Set a routine, stick to it, and build productive habits from the very start.
5. Manage Your Work/Life Balance
In an office job, work (usually) ends when you walk out the door and drive home. With remote work, that’s not the case. People have constant access to you online and it can be really hard to detach from that.
I definitely learned this lesson the hard way. When I first started I was a social media manager and was answering client emails on nights and weekends, taking calls at crazy times, and checking my ads and post performance constantly.
Now, I know better.
Yes, I can take that client call at 9 pm, but it’s ok to say no and schedule it around my work hours instead. I can constantly access my emails on my phone, but it’s fine to turn off notifications after 5 pm and answer them tomorrow.
You will burn out fast if you never step back from your work, so my advice is to just be mindful of cultivating a healthy work/life balance from the start.
6. Check Internet Speeds
Last but not least on my list of tips for remote work is to always, always, always check internet speeds before you go somewhere new!
When Daniel and I first started freelancing we moved to South America and eventually ended up in Peru. The country is truly amazing and we had an awesome experience, but the internet was excruciatingly slow.
It was brutal trying to work through regular internet blackouts and almost impossible to upload photos and videos. Daniel even had to do an interview in the Mariott hotel when the internet wasn’t working in our apartment! Unsurprisingly, he didn’t get the job.
Now I always research internet speeds before we plan our next move and even ask the Airbnb host to do a speed test before we book. Without the internet you’re not getting a paycheck, so always check it before you move on to your next digital nomad destination.
Looking for more advice on your new lifestyle? Dive into the Long Term Travel series to read my in-depth FAQ for digital nomads, see my ultimate packing list (that fits in a carry-on bag), learn how to rent an apartment in a foreign country and much more!