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Working from a remote location can be most empowering and productive if you can handle all the dangers lurking out there while doing it. This is a list of items I follow while working from outside the office.
- No TV. There is nothing else to this rule really, when you are working you are not to start a TV anywhere near where you are. The TV set is an evil device full of distractions and it will do everything it can to stop you from doing your work. If you are a person who can work and each TV without losing productivity I however do salute you.
- Take breaks. But breaks from work, not breaks to watch a movie a break should be kept to a few minutes even if you are not in the working place.
- Organize your time. Even though you do not have to you should setup which hours you are about to work. Since you most of the times have co-workers it is most optimal that they both know when they can reach you and you know when you can reach them.
- Use instant messages (IM) but read them when you have time for them. IM is a great tool for all remote workers but it can be just as intrusive and steal your flow. Often it can be better to turn off all types of notifications in your IM clients and instead setup five minutes each hour to check if there is any messages. If there are you have time to take care of them and then get back to work when they have been cleared.
- Minimize you mailbox intrusion. Turn off New Mail Notifications. Each time they pop up on your screen it pulls you away from what you are doing and steal time. Just as with IM, chose a few times each day when you go through them and handle what is there.
- Draw. To explain your ideas and work for someone you do not meet you need to make sure that everyone share understanding of what is needed and being done. A simple image drawn in paint is most of the times better then the lengths of specifications.
- Eat. Food is perhaps the most important part of the working day since without it you will be nothing but an empty shell once the energy levels get low. Just because you don’t have other people to share your meal does not mean that you can skip it.
- Make a clear distinction between work and personal chores and do not let them mix. If the both get mixed to much you might find yourself to not be able to calm down in your own home since it is connected to work chores.