The Remote Work Cheat Sheet

Pro tips for working from home

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1) Get out of bed and work at a desk.

Though it can be tempting to sit in bed all day, people tend to be less productive working from a prone position. Get yourself up, have some breakfast and coffee, and sit at a desk or table to begin working. This will put you into “work mode” and increase your likelihood of “getting shit done”. 

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2) Get dressed.

While we are on the topic of getting up, take off your pyjamas and put on some daytime clothes. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie (though you certainly can if you want), but wear something that creates a distinction between night and day. Just like getting out of bed and working at a desk, getting dressed puts you into “work mode” and can contribute to a serious boost in productivity.  

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3) Grayscale social media apps.

Social media apps are designed to burn your retinas with visual stimulation. This is one of the reasons that they are so addicting. Follow the advice of former Google project manager Tristan Harris and try setting all of your social media apps to grayscale. Phones like the OnePlus 6T feature “reading mode” which does this automatically, while the IPhone and many Android phones will require you to download a greyscale app. 

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4) Cook real meals.

Most homes have kitchens. Take advantage of that and cook real nutritious meals. Working from home means that you are not bound to sandwitches and microwave meals. You can leave a chicken roasting in the oven or make meals from scratch. 

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5) Schedule your lunch break.

Set a time for your lunch and make sure that you take the time to get away from your work to eat. It can be tempting to work through your lunch or eat while working since you are already away from any office. Make sure you use your allocated lunch break as a real break. Equally, however, ensure that you are back to your desk and working on time. Don’t let your lunch hour turn into a lunch afternoon just because you are not being monitored.

6) Use alarms and timers.

Without others pushing you to get things done by a certain time, it is easy to lose track of time and let things slip. Set alarms and timers to make sure that you are hitting all of your milestones and meeting deadlines at the right times.

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7) Make use of tools.

There are a variety of helpful tools on the market today that can help with organization, motivation, shunning distractions to preventing feelings of loneliness. These include timezone referencers, file-sharing services, task trackers, grammar checkers, voice channels and messengers. Use them.

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8) Interact with your teammates.

Many remote workers struggle with cabin fever – “lassitude, restlessness, irritability, or aggressiveness resulting from being confined for too long with few or no companions.” 

If you have any teammates – communicate with them via messenger, voice or video apps. If you do not, look into remote worker groups where you can meet up with and work alongside other remote workers to ease the sense of isolation. 

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9) Set house rules.

If you live with family or housemates, set some rules to ensure that they will not distract you. This could include hours when they should not distract you, spaces that they should not enter while you are working, not playing music loudly, no guests between certain hours, or anything else that will help you to be productive. 

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10) Take breaks.

Concentration and productivity have been shown to fall massively when school students fail to take intermittent breaks from their work. The same applies to workers. Various work/break structures have been recommended by different entities – including the Pomodoro Technique and the GTD Method – but a good rule of thumb would be ~15 minutes of break per hour of work. 

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11) Don’t get cabin fever.

Being cooped up in the house all day can make you feel trapped, increasing cortisol production and devastating your productivity. Get out of the house, go for a walk, go to the gym, go for a run, go for a swim or do whatever else you need to do to stay active and feel free.

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12) Unplug your TV at the socket.

TV is one of the biggest creature-comfort distraction sources associated with working from home. It is far too easy to instinctively grab the remote and end up losing three hours of your working day to a Simpsons marathon. Unplug the TV from the wall as soon as you get up. The effort required to plug it back in will likely make you think twice about doing so. 

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13) Listen to music.

If you can have music on without getting distracted, it can be a lifesaver for kicking away boredom when having to perform mundane tasks. Generally speaking, you should turn the music off when total concentration is required since the fewer stimuli in play, the easier it will be to focus on a single task.

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14) Find alternative noise.

Many people don’t want to work in silence but also find music too distracting. If this is you then you might want to look into alternative noise. Nature sounds, white noise, lo-fi beats and vaporwave are all good alternatives as their sound frequencies may help you maintain focus.

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15) Limit social media usage.

Social media zaps productivity like no other. It is easy to spend hours scrolling away without noticing the time spent. This is because most social media platforms are designed to be hyper engaging and addictive. There are various apps available that can be used to lock you out of social media during working hours or limit the amount of time that you can spend per hour.  

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16) Protect your eyes.

Screens are killer on the eyes. This often leads to headaches and productivity death. If you’re a night owl, a pair of blue light glasses and warmer color temperatures (nowadays nearly everything has a night-time color warmth adjustment feature) will definitely prevent your eyes from the melting feeling. Using a projector instead of a screen can also reduce eye-strain dramatically.

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17) Take working holidays.

Understand the importance of your setting: this gets challenging if you move places too much, but having the sense of familiarity can greatly boost your productivity. This can be as simple as organizing your laptop  the toolbar on Windows/Linux at the left side instead of the bottom of the screen as it’s faster to access anything that’s there, since we as humans tend to read from top to bottom).

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18) Listen to yourself.

If you have a personal tic, crutch, behavior or form of meditation that you feel helps you to get your work done well then stick to it. Some people like loud music, some silence; some like to take a siesta on their lunch, some go to the gym; some people are night owls, others are early birds. Whatever you feel works, do that. You have the freedom as a remote worker to essentially carve out the working life that you want. Take advantage of this.

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19) Protect your back.

Your spine and back muscles often bear the brunt of an all-day working stint. A good chair does the trick. An entry-level gaming chair allows you to recline or straighten your seat to suit your posture. Wearable posture harnesses are also great for pulling back your shoulders and ensuring that you do not slump. Small rounds of walking around and stretching are great too.

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20) Go ergonomic.

Ergonomic devices including chairs, keyboards and mice are your best friends. They prevent unnatural body positioning that can cause straining, stiffness and general discomfort. All of these things are small but, when neglected, you may feel that you have been hit by a truck the next morning.

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21) Get a good internet connection.

An investment in a high speed and reliable internet connection will pay off quickly. Dropping out of video calls, being unable to access your work for hours at a time while rebooting routers, having to leave the house and head to a cafe when your connection is having a shaky day, and so on are all highly detrimental to your productivity and others’ perception of your reliability as a worker. 

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22) Get a good microphone.

This is incredibly important if your work involves a great deal of speaking with clients or colleagues. Though modern inbuilt computer and phone mics are improving quickly, they do not compare to specialized mic hardware. One option is a wireless headset that combines a good mic and good earphones without any difficult set up or holding things while you talk.

There are hundreds of little tricks, methods and strategies that remote workers employ to increase productivity, shun distractions, repel feelings of loneliness and make sure that they are consistently producing high-quality work while enjoying the comforts and advantages of working from home (or wherever else they like). We hope the tips we have provided can help you to improve your remote working experience.

We will continue to post more content on remote work and productivity on all of our social media channels and website which can be found here: www.amazix.com.

If you want to know more about AmaZix, what we do, and how we can help you, please take a look at our services pages: www.amazix.com/services .

We wish you all the best for the beginning of your remote work journey.

All the best from the whole AmaZix team.

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