If you're reading this, chances are you've dared to step outside the traditional office cubicle, embracing a remote career's boundless freedom and challenges.
And whether you're sipping coffee in a bustling cafe in Budapest, basking in the tranquility of the Caucasian mountains in Georgia, or maybe just contemplating where your next remote destination will be, one thing's for sure - every day is an adventure when working remotely.
In this article, I’ll share my top 20 remote work tips and lessons I've learned from my remote journey. Whether you're just starting your remote work journey or you're a seasoned digital nomad, I hope these insights will help you navigate the highs and lows of a remote career, turning challenges into opportunities, and every location into an office.
20 Tips For Working Remotely
Let's start by saying that there's no hiding from the fact that a remote career is super exciting. But let's face it, it comes with its own unique set of challenges.
Adjusting to this unconventional work style is not just about swapping business attire for flip-flops. It's about transforming each day into a rewarding, productive experience that brings you, your clients, or your team value.
During my travels, I've learned a few things along the way. So, here are my personal 20 best tips for working remotely as efficiently and stress-free as possible:
1. Embrace a healthy routine
When I began my journey as a digital nomad, I quickly learned that stability can be found in a well-structured routine.
Whether you're in a Bali beach house or a Tenerife apartment, adhering to a schedule keeps you grounded and prevents work from spilling into your personal time.
Work-life balance is crucial, even (especially!) when your office is on the other side of the world. Keep to a schedule and don’t forget to clock out.
2. Own your workspace
Even while living a nomadic life or often traveling for work, having a personal workspace is crucial.
It might be a desk facing a Swiss mountain or a small table at a Greek café. Wherever it is, make it yours. Buy a little plant from a local shop or pick the lightest and most comfortable seat in your next coworking.
Let it be your creative haven where ideas flow freely.
3. Master the art of time management
Time zones can be a tricky business when you're working remotely.
They're like my personal virtual assistants; I use them to keep track of anything I need to do and by when. They then remind everything, so I don't have to.
4. Invest in solid tech
Technology is your lifeline when working remotely.
Trust me, having your laptop crash while preparing a presentation in a small town in Turkey isn't fun.
5. Communicate like a Pro
Communication is key in any team, but it becomes even more vital when you're halfway across the world from your colleagues or your clients.
It's not just about sending emails or messages; it's about making your presence felt, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and being a part of the team's successes and failures.
Your voice needs to be heard in the virtual world. Be clear, be frequent, be kind, and let your presence be felt.
6. Recharge with regular breaks
Never underestimate the power of a good break.
Whether it's a walk down the streets of Istanbul or a quick yoga session on a Cape Verdean beach, these breaks give your mind a much-needed reset. And trust me, your work will be better for it.
So don’t chain yourself to a desk. Stand, stretch, breathe. Your next big idea might just come during that coffee break.
7. Set Boundaries and respect your time
When you work remotely, everyday risks to feel like a vacation. And it can be hard to establish work boundaries.
But remember, you're a professional, even in the most exotic locations. Make it clear to yourself and others when you're "at work".
Teach your household or your coworkers to respect your work time. It's true, you're in a beautiful place but remember, you're also at work.
8. Identify your productivity peaks
Every one of us is different. Some of us are night owls, others early birds.
I found out that I am the most productive during late mornings. So, I schedule my most critical tasks for that time, no matter if I’m in Thailand or Albania. Find your own productive hours and make the best use of them.
Discover your high-energy periods and align your most important tasks to those times. Work smarter, not longer.
9. Take care of your body and your mind
Working remotely doesn't mean ignoring your health.
I learned this the hard way from a terrible back pain I had in Madeira after doing days of hiking in a row.
Eat nutritious local cuisine, go to that beachfront gym, and explore your surroundings on foot, but don't exaggerate.
Your health is your greatest asset; treat it with care.
10. Cultivate virtual social connections
When you're a remote worker, your team becomes your virtual family. Make an effort to connect with them, share your experiences, and listen to theirs.
Those connections are vital, not just for work, but for your well-being too.
Socializing isn’t just for the office. Join in on virtual hangouts, team-building activities, and those fun Slack chats full of memes.
Otherwise, you can always rely on the Freaking Nomads community and join our Facebook group, engage with others on our Instagram page, or just hit reply to our latest newsletter in your inbox - we will do our best to reply to you.
11. Discover your ideal work method
The beauty of remote work is that you can customize it to fit your style.
Love working at dawn while the world sleeps? Great! More productive in the late-night quiet? Go for it! Find what works for you.
Trust me, you will see your efficiency skyrocket!
12. Automate to liberate your time
Why would you do anything by yourself? Let technology do the heavy lifting.
They have been lifesavers for me, especially when juggling multiple clients while exploring a whooping 12 countries in 12 months last year.
Automation means you get to focus more on your actual work (or your adventures!) instead of tedious tasks.
So, let technology handle repetitive tasks and embrace this awesome era of AI automation.
13. Prioritize ergonomics
I once spent hours using my laptop touchpad and ended up with a stress injury to my wrist. Ergonomics matter, even when you're on the move.
A portable laptop stand, a comfortable chair, and a properly positioned screen can save you from a world of pain. Literally.
14. Calendarize your work
With all the different time zones I've been in, keeping track of meetings and deadlines could have been a nightmare.
But Google Calendar has been my hero, helping me always stay organized and punctual with my clients and the team, even if we were not in the same place.
Sync your tasks, appointments, and personal time-offs in one place. Then fill in your calendar, and stick to it.
A calendar is your personal assistant, life planner, and sometimes, your savior.
15. Keep distractions at bay
I once missed a deadline because I was too immersed in taking as much time as I could to explore Penang, in Malaysia. Fun? Absolutely. Professional? Not so much.
Keep a healthy balance between work and exploration. Work time is for work, even if there’s a UNESCO site outside your window.
On top of that, also learn to manage noise, social media, or that exciting Netflix TV series. They're fun, but not when you’re on a deadline.
16. Maintain digital order
Keeping your digital space organized is as important as keeping your travel bag packed neatly.
Don't let your email inbox become a digital dumping ground and consider using techniques like the zero-inbox method. This concept is fairly simple but profoundly impactful. It’s all about promptly and systematically addressing every email that hits your inbox promptly and systematically, rather than letting it pile up into an insurmountable mountain.
Similarly, you might want also to make your computer desktop as tidy as your physical one. Some apps can help you manage your desktop icons and files more efficiently, like Fences, which lets you create shaded areas on your desktop that you can customize and resize.
An organized workspace, even a digital one, can do wonders for your productivity, so start tidying everything up!
17. Practice digital safety
Updating software might seem annoying, I know. Especially when you’re eager to explore beautiful sceneries around the world. But it’s essential.
Keep your devices updated, use strong and unique passwords, and always have a backup. A lost file could mean hours of work lost, and that's painful.
Remember, in our world, your digital equipment is your lifeline. Treat it with the respect and care it deserves. The few moments you spend on these seemingly annoying tasks could save you hours of trouble later. So yes, better safe than sorry, my fellow remote workers.
18. Safeguard your work with a VPN
I remember this one time when I was sending some important files from a café in Bangkok, and my data was almost compromised.
Since then, I’ve never been without my trusty VPN. Our favorite is NordVPN, but there are many others in the market. Whichever you choose, it’s an essential tool that I recommend for any remote worker or digital nomad as it can also be used for many things other than just protecting you from hackers, like streaming movies from your home country or saving on flight tickets.
It's one of those tools that you can't live without if you work remotely.
19. Practice positivity and mindfulness
Traveling and working might sound like a dream, but it can be stressful at times.
This is why I always advocate the power of mindfulness and how this helps you stay grounded.
Stay positive, keep an open mind, and never hesitate to contact your team, partner, family, or friends when needed. It’s okay to ask for help, even if it's just a virtual pep talk.
Remote work can be lonely sometimes, I know. So stay cheerful, practice mindfulness, and I assure you that you'll be fine. We're all in this together, after all.
20. Keep learning, keep growing
Being a remote worker has opened up so many learning opportunities for me.
So, my last advice is to keep expanding your skill set, whether it’s a surf course in Sri Lanka, an insightful chat with a fellow remote worker in Koh Lanta, or an online language course.
Learning doesn't stop just because you're on the move.
Yes, every day’s a school day, my friends. Upskill regularly and remember - curiosity is the most important skill when remote working and traveling.
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