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5 Essential Tips To Make Working Remotely Work For You

5 Essential Tips To Make Working Remotely Work For You

Working remotely has become a mainstream trend in the world of startups and corporate culture, but it doesn’t come without its difficulties. Leaving the stability and routine of commuting to the office can sound exciting at first, but it takes a certain person to remain productive without the normal structure.

As a remote company at Rype, we’re constantly pushing the envelope on how we can be the most effective as a team while maintaining the culture we have. We’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons from our experience, and I thought we would share it to help you on your own journey towards working remotely.

1. Keep a routine.

The first thing that goes out the door when you start working remotely is a regular routine. Forget dressing up for work, catching the subway at 8 AM every morning, and leaving the office at 5.

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If you’re not careful, this lack of routine can lead to inefficiency and a lack of productivity. We advise putting together a regular routine that can help you maintain your workflow. It could mean waking up at the same time every morning and going for a workout in the evening after work.

It may sound ironic, but having a stable routine in place sets you free.

2. Focus on your energy, not time.

When you’re working remotely, it’s hard to know how much time you’re spending on work. There’s no one beside you that’s taking a lunch break or leaving the office early to trigger your brain to wind down.

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I’ve certainly had this issue many times over, where it’s hard to unplug from work when you’ve got a lot on your plate. Research has shown that productivity tends to drop after a certain number of working hours (this varies from person to person), creating a diminishing effect.

To increase our productivity, we must focus on our energy, not our time. The easiest way to do this is to figure out when you’re the most productive or have the most energy and do your most important work during those time slots.

For me, I do all of my writing in the morning, as that’s when I feel the most creative.

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3. Find your community.

Working remotely doesn’t mean you have to be stuck alone in your room. In fact, we encourage you to get out.

There’s a rapidly growing community of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other remote workers that are gathering all around the world. You can check out communities like Digital Nomad Community or CoWoLi (CoWorking Meets Coliving), which helps connect digital nomads and virtual workers in-person.

You can also check out local co-working spaces in your city in order to connect with other virtual workers or entrepreneurs.

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4. Have regular feedback.

Since there’s no opportunity to run into a co-worker in the “break” room, it’s harder to strike up a casual conversation or feedback session. But without feedback, there’s no communication. And without communication, there’s no progress.

Push yourself to schedule frequent feedback sessions with your team individually. If you’re used to monthly feedback sessions, try doing it bi-weekly to see if that improves communication and flow within the team. Every team culture is different, so I can’t tell you what level of frequency will work for you, but most of the questions can be answered by simply experimenting for yourself.

5. Get face-to-face.

This one is a must. No matter how efficient or interactive your video chat sessions are, it can never beat meeting face-to-face.

Companies like Buffer, where 100% of their employees are working remotely, have a bi-annual company retreat in order to keep everyone aligned and to further develop their culture. It’s hard to transfer personality traits and humor over the web, so getting a flavor of things in-person can help bring everyone together.

This could be for a few days for a conference or a vacation spot that gets voted by the entire company. Just remember, the purpose and location is less important than the act of meeting face-to-face.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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