When COVID-19 hit, all of us saw a glimpse of true work-life balance after companies transitioned to remote work. Ever since then, many businesses have seen the cost advantages of having fully remote company operations. In fact, Forbes reported that as of 2023, 12.7% of Americans work at home full-time, while 28.2% adopted a hybrid work set-up.
However, for many remote workers, staying focused can be a bit tricky, especially when a soft bed is just a few steps away. So, we’ve compiled a list of 10 work hacks for remote workers to help you get more things done and save time.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro is probably one of the most popular work hacks out there and for good reason! This time management method is done by setting a timer for 25 minutes to 30 minutes, within which you zone in on your tasks with zero distractions. When the timer is up, you then take a 5 to 10-minute break and do whatever you want. Then, you repeat the cycle at least four times (or more, if you still have the energy!)
The idea is to break down a big or daunting task into small time increments to make it more bearable. Just maybe don’t start watching a Netflix series in between those breaks. God knows how hard it is to resist that “one more episode” voice in your head!
2. Use A Project Management App
They say when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This is especially true when you’ve got a work deadline to beat, a gazillion tasks to do, and a dog to walk outside because he’s been a good boi.
Luckily, there are a lot of apps that can help streamline your tasks and offer features that every entrepreneur needs. Apps with schedule calendars, marketing automation tools, communication channels for team members, expense trackers, invoicing, email management, and more.
Some examples of task management apps are Monday.com (we use this one for Women’s Business Daily!), Asana, Notion, and Trello. Depending on your needs, you can almost always find an app that can help boost your productivity.
3. Dress Up Like You’re Going Somewhere
When you’re working at home, sometimes it’s hard to delineate time that should be spent working and time that should be spent imagining a 19th-century fictional man walking towards you in a foggy field.
So, a funny little productivity hack you can do is actually to dress up like you’re going to the office. This way, you subconsciously tell your mind and body that it’s time to buckle up and take the next few hours seriously.
The idea is not to feel too comfortable while working to the point of making you feel sleepy or distracted. Plus, it’s fun to dress up and let the neighbors see you take out trash in six-inch heels.
4. Stay Away From Your Phone
Let’s be honest for a second. About 50% of the reasons you’re not getting anything done is probably because of those funny little videos you watch on Tiktok or Instagram reels. There’s no wasted time when you’re having fun, of course. But when those notifications get in the way of your job, it’s time to take a step back.
Store your phone away in a place that’s hard to reach or can’t be easily seen. Put your phone in silent mode for a while and keep it someplace far enough that you‘d need to stand up to get it. Anyway, the sooner you finish all your tasks, the sooner you can get right back to doom-scrolling the day away.
5. Schedule Your Working Hours
When working on a flexible schedule remotely, one can’t help but feel the spirit of procrastination enter the body. This is especially true when it’s nice and sunny outside and all you want to do is drink lemonade on a lawn chair.
However, because you’re “adulting,” it’s best to schedule that lemonade sesh after you’ve accomplished your tasks for the day. Come up with a working hours schedule, and start working on the urgent tasks first. This way, you’re holding yourself accountable. And, at the same time, you’re giving yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day.
6. Go Out For A Walk
It’s tempting to just lay in bed all day when you’re working remotely, but it’s actually staunching your creativity. Studies have shown that going out for a walk or moving your body for about 20 minutes every day helps with cognitive functions, creativity, and mood stabilization.
So, if you feel that dull buzz in your brain after a long period of staring at the computer, stand up for a stretch, and go on a short walk. A short walk is one of those work hacks that you’ll be thankful for. Because you’ll also get to close a ring on your iPhone Fitness app. (No one can deny how good this feels!)
7. Don’t Sacrifice A Fun Life For Work Life
Listen, you’ve survived a pandemic. And you’ve probably learned one of the most valuable lessons to learn from that experience – that a career doesn’t matter when you’re a sad Debbie Downer.
Yes, productive work is fulfilling. Achieving something in your career is validating. But if you’re sacrificing your personal time and happiness for it, it’s time to recalibrate. The thing about remote work is that the element of community has been removed (no more co-workers to gossip within the pantry), which makes remote workers susceptible to depression and anxiety.
Human beings are meant to be social, no matter how many times you got “INFP” or “INFJ” on the Myers-Briggs test. So, go out and talk to people! Meet up with your friends. Set up a cute little date for the weekend. Do something fun every day that relieves the stress, reduces the predictability, and lessens the feelings of isolation brought by working from home.
On a final note, working remotely for the long term has proven to be equally great and burdensome because of the melding together of home and work life. But the good news is that once you find methods that keep you productive without affecting your personal life, you’ll never want to return to an office set-up again. So, find work hacks that work for you.
Emily Sprinkle, also known as Emma Loggins, is a designer, marketer, blogger, and speaker. She is the Editor-In-Chief for Women's Business Daily where she pulls from her experience as the CEO and Director of Strategy for Excite Creative Studios, where she specializes in web development, UI/UX design, social media marketing, and overall strategy for her clients.
Emily has also written for CNN, Autotrader, The Guardian, and is also the Editor-In-Chief for the geek lifestyle site FanBolt.com