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If you are working remotely, how do you keep yourself accountable, productive and efficient without external supervision?

perigk profile image Periklis Gkolias Updated on ・1 min read

I think the most difficult thing on remote working is to not get sidetracked. Which, lets be honest, is easy in a bad home environment (screaming kids anyone?) or if you dont have military-level discipline.

So what do you do to keep yourselves accountable, productive and efficient when "working and no one is watching"?

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Sebastian Vargr

I used to do freelance working for a number of years.
I found shared office spaces broke the monotony of sitting home.

I think there's something about the rythm of getting up and going somewhere everyday that motivates me more. The days feels longer, more varied, and less "tunneled" from the trip to and from work.

When i do any work, at home or in the office, i make daily list of what i would like to accomplish at a minimum. I also add misc things as they pop up during the day.

If it's a rough or unmotivated day it lets me gauge when i can call quits.
Also, i can compare previous days to gauge my productivity levels fx. if i have a stressed period.

My A5 notebloks usually goes about 5-6months back, flipping through it is also fairly satisfying on top of being putting things in perspective. :)

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Periklis Gkolias Author

Rhanks for the insight. Don't co-working spaces lack the comfort of your own office or home office? Equipment wise mostly.

What do you do when you need to stay at home? How are you being productive then?

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Sebastian Vargr

I usually rent a table, then i can add the comforts i need to it. :)
There are also usually couches, meeting/phone -rooms there, so equipment wise it's a step up usually. And if you are into that kind of thing there people to talk to around lunch.

The place i used go to even had a rather cheap catered lunch you could sign up for. :)

At home i enforce the list/log i talked about, and then just try to keep comfy and un-distracted. But truth be told, i have horrible work ethics at home. hence why i try not to work from home.

Even just going to a cafe and chilling for a few hours will usually boost my output comparatively speaking.

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Periklis Gkolias Author

I suppose you rent a private office? Because in an open space mode it would be difficult to do those things.

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Sebastian Vargr

Not really, everyone there payed for a spot and we had a chipped lock that the logged access + some rudimentary video surveillance.

I would not keep a computer there, but i left screens, keyboards and other external hardware all the time. Also had a whiteboard i would log around.

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Periklis Gkolias Author

Ah ok. That makes sense then.

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Ben Halpern

I think the routine of getting a certain number of things done first thing can set up a nice productive day. If I finish or ship anything early on in the day, it can lead to a generally productive day/week.

If I let myself get too sidetracked early on, it can linger all day as just one more distraction after another.

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Periklis Gkolias Author

Like we say "Eat your ugly frog first"?

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Joseph Thomas

At the end of the day, I like to leave a small note for a task to get started on the next morning. It should something I can do within 30 minutes or so, and fairly concrete - so, instead of "fix the thing", it might just be the first step in that, i.e. "Figure out the issue on line 25 of myThing.js".

If I have a simple task, it helps me warm up, chill out, and get grounded before dealing with client stuff.

I also tend to work late if there is a particular problem I'm in the middle of - it's hard to pull away when you think you're almost there. Getting in the habit of making this "next morning" note also helps me to cut myself off at a decent hour - I can rest easier knowing that I'm going to figure it all out the next day 😅

Before I started doing this, I would spend my first hour handling client emails. But, I've noticed that this is the part of the job that can stress me out, and, if there's something I don't want to deal with in my inbox, I will procrastinate for a while before doing anything.

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Periklis Gkolias Author

Thank you😀 Morning mails is the worst and most unproductive thing you can do indeed.