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Building Better Habits for Remote Working

Remaining productive, healthy, and on-point in a remote driven world

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Confronted with independent, hands-off work and production environments (mostly), staying on task can prove more challenging than we’d like. And I don’t say this to imply laziness. Distractions just happen. In a home environment, even more so. Got kids, family, pets, or other responsibilities? Those can easily interrupt you while you’re trying to manage a work-oriented task.

Bridging the gap between productivity and home comes with building healthy work habits. And, even better, these habits aren’t restricted to only jobs. Consistent decisions can positively impact our lives in numerous ways, so it’s great to build strong habits in general.

Challenges of remote working

Building good habits starts with recognizing the challenges and problems which interfere with creating them. In this case, identifying factors related to remote working. Said problems, though, vary from person to person. All home environments are different, so each “challenge” is also different.

Family responsibilities, for example, can mean a person working at home is interrupted by those familial obligations. Or, if you live in a shared space like an apartment, noise factors from outside (or even inside) can interrupt your concentration. Then, personal habits need consideration. Do you check your phone and social media every few minutes? Do you find yourself distracted by noise or other factors? Or, is concentrating a challenge depending on the task at hand?

It’s okay to experience these. The important thing is to identify what’s causing you the most disturbances in order to address it.

Creating great habits for remote working and organization

For starters, know that building solid habits for remote working are, again, applicable to your daily life too. Consistency and discipline go a long way, and when you build one habit, you can create more. Also, it’s worth emphasizing patience. Forming a true habit, something that feels instinctual can take upwards of nine months. So, don’t feel pressured into learning fast or doing it perfectly. You’ll need time, so give it to yourself.

Some of these habits and tips, by the way, have a bonus positive effect in that they help our mental health too. Good habits equate to positive thinking which helps us lead happier, healthier lives. So, let’s start with a critical one:

Habit #1: Organize the Workspace

Because you work from home, you’re responsible for setting up a designated workspace. Ideally, you want this in an area that’s free of noise and distractions. But, realistically, not everyone has access to that kind of environment.

However, no matter where you sit (or stand) for work, organizing your workspace is a great habit to work towards. Like with any area in your life, a decluttered space sets a positive precedent for your mental focus. You are visually less distracted and have your work materials on hand which are also easily accessible (or should be).

Habit #2: Create Boundaries

Your work is important, and it has to be done. If you live with family, friends, and/or roommates, it’s important to clarify you need a level of quiet for x amount of hours. Understandably, this can create some unwanted friction. However, a mutual, respectful understanding should be made: you have professional responsibilities which literally pay your bills. But, keeping your expectations reasonable is important too.

And, that pays dividends outside of work, too. Find yourself trying to appeal or capitulate to others more often than not? Boundaries are important, and yours need to be respected.

Habit #3: Breaks, Posture, and Physical Activity

Remote working has the unfortunate side effect of keeping us sedentary. Heck, even before that, office and traditional jobs typically kept us sitting for long periods of time. But, by simply taking small breaks and stretching you can take immediate, small positive steps towards improved remote working.

Posture is a big one, too. We won’t fault you for a slouch, it’s easy to fall into. You’re not usually thinking about your back if you’re in front of a screen. Over time, this is bad for our back. When you stand, take a minute to fully straighten your posture. If you can, practice good posture while sitting, too.

We talked about that in our article on mental health improvement (which you can check out for more at-home health tips).

Habit #4: Recognize What Works

Or, what doesn’t work.

Everyone has a different strategy for remaining productive. How you best internalize is the difference between better work at home and something that’s ineffective.

Modify your habits as you need them. Be patient, too. Forming true habits takes months, so if you feel discouraged because it doesn’t immediately stick, that’s okay.

Hopefully, this surplus of tips will help you on the path of better remote working habits and happier mental health.

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