March 17, 2020
Posted by: DevDigital
With all the craziness going on, I wanted to offer as much of my knowledge as I could for working remote/ from home. Obviously, these are just things that I found work for me, and they may not be the best options for you. Also, these are in no specific order. I think all of the points are just as important as the others. At my prior jobs, I worked completely remote/from home, and these are some tips I pulled from some documents those companies gave me, and in my research of how to best work from home/remote.
#1 Avoid Multi-Tasking
IMPORTANT: DO NOT MULTITASK.
“People think that multitasking is useful but according to findings by a neuroscientist from MIT, multitasking makes it more likely that you’ll make mistakes, it ruins productivity, and it impedes creative thinking. Multitasking makes your brain expend extra energy as it shifts from task to task."
Honestly, I just work one task at a time and one project at a time. I do this so it’s all fresh in my head and I don’t have to bounce around from Company A to Company B… considering they have nothing in common and can make me forget something!
#2 Stay Focused On Goals, Not Activities
When I sit down for the day, I usually know what needs to be done that day, or generally what needs done for a certain project, and I make that my goal for the day. I try not to think of all of the small pieces that go into, and just focus on the large picture.
#3 Set a schedule and stick to it.
Pretty self explanatory on this one, as everyone for the most part works a 9-5ish schedule. Just try your best to stick with it, as habits will make working from home easier…. Or harder depending on what those habits end up being.
#4 Identify your weaknesses.
This is a focus on being able to identify what will deter you from working while at home.
For instance, I know my biggest thing is getting up and chatting with people. I love to talk, but I know once I get up… it’ll be 30 minutes before I am back at it. So I tend to try and save those chats for times when I am eating or just taking a break.
#5 Separate your professional and personal lives and create a dedicated work space
I know this can be a hard one if you do not have a dedicated office or single room where only work is done. What I would do at my old places was I would find a spot (not in my bedroom or living room), and deemed that my work space. I used my dining room table most of the time and would always work there. This caused me to get comfortable there, and get into my groove, rather than moving around every hour or so.
#6 Responsiveness / Prioritize your communication.
This is a huge one! I make sure to not put off any emails or calls that need to be made as it is easy to forget and go make lunch then come back and jump back into tasks. If I am working on a project that I know needs something sent to the client or the team has a question for the client I make sure that this is the first thing I do for that project. When I first started working remotely I found it really easy to put off communication and just wait till the end to do them and forget. Now I do them as they come up.
#7 Tackle the “Small” Stuff Later (Small being the least important for that day)
I know all projects/clients should be treated as the same. But, we all have those projects that just aren’t as big, or the client is super relaxed and you don’t have to worry about getting them something, the list goes on and on. I move those to the end of the day if I can. Why? This allows me to give my full attention to the projects that have short deadlines or projects that need something done ASAP. They may not be the largest client I have, but I know that if I don’t get said thing done now, then it might bleed over into tomorrow.
Example: ABC Company is my largest client, but some days I know there doesn’t need to be 3 hours spent digging in and 1 hour on the phone. So I push said client to the end of the day, and focus on clients that are way smaller in size but their very “needy” in the sense they like to have emails early and if I wait till the end of the day then they think all hell is breaking loose and their project is going to go up in flames. So to not deal with that I make sure to get those updates sent out first!
The Four-Square Method
This is a method that I actually use pretty much every day now! I don't write it out anymore, but I did when I first started working remote as it helped me get my days thought out. It's super straight forward, I literally took a graph in google sheets and would fill out a 2x2 graph. As my day went on I would update it to make sure everything was there. I would usually only fill out the first three quadrants in the morning then as things came up that I knew would just need done tomorrow I would toss those in the 4th.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you get through this time where a good majority of work will be done remotely. At DevDigital, we can accomplish our work at any location. If you're using this time away for your office to plan your web development strategies, reach out to us here, and we can help!