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How to Stay Productive When Working Remotely

stay productive remotely

I can tell you what’s going to happen on Shameless, Dan: They screw up their lives. Again.

We live in an age of constant distraction–especially for those who work at home. TV, videogames, Netflix, and more are all within an arm’s reach.

And that’s not to mention the ultimate time stealer: the smartphone. How many times have you picked up your smartphone for legitimate business and wound up spending $0.99 on the lollipop hammer to smash the last piece between you and sweet Candy Crush victory?

So how can you keep yourself productive without shackling your ankle to a desk? Here are a few ideas:

Don’t count beans where they roast beans

Changing location away from your home is a classic tactic for remote employees. You won’t have as many distractions, since you won’t be surrounded by your personal stuff. And the simple act of being out and around people seems to make people feel more accountable.

But the most popular getaway spot, the coffee shop, may not be the best choice. It’s noisy, it’s crowded, and worst of all, it’s cliche! Do you really want to be the guy at Starbucks who acts like he’s keeping the books but is really just obsessively reloading his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page?

Blake Oliver, senior product marketing manager at FloQast and author of a nifty newsletter, covered this topic extensively in his blog, “11 Places to Work Remotely Other than a Coffee Shop.”

Some of our favorite excerpts from Oliver’s blog:

On using a hotel lobby as a work cite–

If the thought of being a freeloader makes you uneasy, just order a drink or some food at the lobby bar. It’ll cost you about the same as a trip to the coffee shop and you’ll be a whole lot more comfortable.

And on writing at the gym–

As an added bonus, you don’t have to feel bad anymore about never working out. And now you have a real reason to try deducting your gym membership on your taxes!

Take a walk

It’s amazing how much working inside all day can make you forget about the outdoors, even when working from home. Schedule an hour each day to walk the dog, trim the hedges, mow the grass, go for a run, or just wander about the neighborhood. When you return you’ll find yourself relaxed and full of new ideas.

Make a list and stick to it

Projects can add up when working remotely. If your workload seems like it’s too hard to handle, try writing all your projects down on a list. Order them by due date so you can clearly see which tasks have top priority. It’ll help your brain stay organized, and it’ll give you a boost of confidence each time you cross off an item.

PRO TIP: Always use “make to-do list” as the first item on your to-do list. Instant cross off!

Fill your desk with toys and activities

A boring desk is a great way to ensure a boring workday. Fill your desk with puzzles, action figures, Lego sets, stress toys–whatever you need to keep your hands moving during a five-minute break from the monotony.

Give in a little

Look, if that hot new show on Netflix is just demanding to be played, go ahead and play it. It beats sitting at your desk thinking about it and not working. Just be sure to limit yourself to a single episode or an hour or so of screen time, then get back to it.