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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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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