Hello, world!! My name is Summer and I am the Internal Operations Manager for Intentional Spark. What does that even mean?!
Well, I wear a lot of hats and I make the magic happen. Our team is growing like crazy, constantly evolving and we pride ourselves on taking the time to seek out different techniques to work at our most productive self remotely.
What does it mean to work remotely?
Do you wear real pants and watch tv all day long?
How do you stay focused and get your work done?
These are all real-life questions that I have personally been asked more than once by friends and family members when they discover that I work from home remotely.
Great news!! I am here to answer the above questions AND provide you with fantastic tools to better your productivity, organization and be a kick-ass human even if you don’t work remotely.
But first, let’s define the word pro·duc·tiv·i·ty:
- Wikipedia defines productivity as the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
- Urban Dictionary offers up this gem as a “top definition” – The ability to make cake balls while you could be doing something else, especially when they’re for people. The world will not judge if you make cake balls. The world cannot judge cake balls or the art of making them. #cake
While we do occasionally put on pants and almost never watch TV during the work day (I swear!!!), it can be difficult to be productive when you’re alone in your home.
The key is to set up some ground rules for yourself in order to instill some discipline and structure.
Feel free to steal my stress-tested tips and hacks below 🙂
Summer’s Official Tips & Hacks For The Remote Employee
- Get up in the morning!! Take your shower and get out of your jammies!! (Yoga pants are real pants, right?)
- Set-up your best self before you begin working: review your schedule, tasks, to-do’s
- Make a to-do and to-done list – check off those tasks!
- Enforce your schedule: remote workers tend to overwork – find your balance
- Get out – Coffee shops are awesome to work from!!
- Hop on video. Don’t be afraid of that face time with your team for business meetings, check-ins, and fun! Do this weekly!!!!!!!!!!
- Take breaks and eat!!
- Send memes and GIFs ALWAYS
- Build your perfect workspace
- Create your “to-don’t list” (home-related chores, such as dishes or laundry)
- Find yourself: what motivates you? Make time for movement and discover your most efficient self around times that you are most productive – seriously.
- Plan ahead and structure your workday
- Allow time for AM and PM admin to plan and wrap up your day
While having a structure and staying disciplined is important, the remote employee’s life is made so much easier these days with all of the technology we have access to!
Just imagine not having video conferencing! Would you even be able to work remotely if we didn’t have cell phones?!?!
Everyone has their favorite versions, but these are my must-have apps and tools to make sure you can be a rockstar remote worker.
Handy Apps and Tools
I’m so excited to share my favorite apps and tools with you!! Some of these have saved my work life – no joke.
Next Monday try out some new apps to see what works best for you to support your daily needs.
Take five minutes and reach out to friends and co-workers to discover what work hacks they currently use to kick work in the ass!
Here are some of my favorite apps and tools that I use with my team or for myself to streamline and simplify my work bubble on a daily basis. I could write an entire blog on this subject alone (and just might!), so I will only share my favorite five with you today:
- Slack offers both public and private channels to communicate with designated team members for projects, campaigns and to send fun GIFs via what we call “the watercooler” to break up our day with funnies and team check-ins.
Slack is by far my favorite tool that I use for interoffice communication with my entire team or one-on-one. Slack is uber user-friendly, there is a free app for your phone, boosts my productivity through immediate communication and allows me to engage in candid moments with my remote family.
- Asana was designed to help teams track their work through improved team collaborations and is named after a Sanskrit word meaning yoga pose.
Asana allows you to build out a workspace for projects, track your tasks for the entire team assigned to the project and allows you to set up tasks as recurring to save a ton of time = productivity!
- BeFocoused is one of my most favoritest of favorite apps EVER!!
BF keeps me in line with time management and pushes me to stay on task. If you have issues with checking your phone, social media or emails – this is the app for you!!
Mirrored after the Pomodoro Technique this app separates work into 25 minutes intervals, with 5 minutes to take a mini break; however, you can set the times that work best for your daily productivity levels (I have mixed it up and the 25/5 time block works best for me).
- Acuity simplifies the process of meeting management, is extremely user-friendly and easy to update when your schedule changes. Their customer service support is top notch and the entire team works remotely!
- Friend Favs – I listened to my own advice above and reached out to my friends to discover their “best of” tools and hacks to maximize the ultimate productivity during their workday:
- Food and drink!! Coffee, tea, snacks, meals, and H2O! Plan this out to cut back on daily prep time
- Music… Oh, man give me your best Spotify playlist!!
- Meditation, taking breaks when you need to, not being afraid to take a day off
- Rewarding your staff and making sure communication is solid gold
- Setting goals and intentions
The flip side to the apps and tools to help with your time and organization are productivity killers. We are all guilty of checking our Instagram, Facebook, texts, and emails while working and that is why BeFocused is a fabulous tool to make you work for your productivity indulgences!
Try working for 25 minutes and then check in with your friends and social life on the 5-minute break.
Don’t check your email as often, set your away messages, make that playlist you’ve been talking about for months and prep your snacks and meals for the day. Easy hacks to help that cut out time and increase your best self! Yay!! To know me is to understand my level of love of organization. Some call it OCD, but I call it necessary.
Part of being organized is to set-up your best self up by planning, managing and coordinating your day/ week.
I found this great article by Pop Sugar that is a super quick read. It includes some great ideas for a remote worker about overall productivity and sets you up to be organized.
Even if you don’t work remotely, these tips and reminders translate perfectly to everyone in the work world.
Exercise: Take 5 minutes and write down how you best organize yourself with work and also with life.
What tools do you use?
Ongoing to-do lists?
A daily planner?
Whatever works for you, keep that up and then add 2 new-to-you tools to assist with your organization.
Tasks, goals, lists are always helpful, but how do you keep yourself on track with your time management?
Pro tip: use a new tool each week and see how it works for you. That could be as simple as building out your calendar or setting aside 5 minutes in the morning to plan your day.
So, what next?…
✅ Slay… all day
✅ Take a look at your current work environment to see what changes can be made
✅ Check out my fav five apps
✅ Update your calendar or create one! You would be surprised to find out how many people don’t even use a calendar. I like to update mine generally once a month to flux with my schedule, tasks, and team
✅ Build your workspace
✅ Find what motivates you
✅ Set up weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your team on video to get that face time and communication brewing, along with your coffee or tea 😼
✅ Keep slaying
✅ If you manage remote workers – this read is for you via Axero