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inspiring change

How to Work Effectively When It's Remote

For those of you looking to make the transition to remote or have been and struggle with how to do it effectively.

I wanted to write this article because I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I work on the road. How do I keep myself organized? WHERE do I work? Am I as productive as I could be? What are my struggles? These are all valid questions, and when I started to dive into the answers, I realized that the skills I hone on the road have been with me for quite some time.

Let’s take when I wrote this article as an example. I wrote it on a Wednesday morning at 4:30am. Why? My 4am client thought we were on different days that week, and my 4:45am client got stuck at work and texted me at 1:00am (this is why I always keep my phone on silent!). At 4:05 I had two choices; I could go back to sleep before my 5:45am, or I could utilize this time.

This probably sounds like a ridiculous term of events, but in reality, any trainer reading this has been there before. The only difference is that I am sitting in my car instead of being at the gym. And for fairness, I am in a different time zone so those early clients are actually two hours ahead of me.

Being in fitness means your schedule is changing CONSTANTLY. Since I was a manager the majority of the time I worked at a gym, I always planned for derailment which you can read about here. I had to be ready to adjust my schedule at a whim and then figure out how to get the rest of my stuff done.

But I always had a big picture in my head of what I was working towards. What were my quarterly and year end goals? How were they progressing? And what else did I need to make happen for those to come into fruition?

Working remotely (or on the road) isn’t any different, except that I am on my own. Or for yourself, you are on your own in your living room, or office, of wherever you plan on working remotely. That means I use the same tools I did before, and I have to hold myself to a high standard. In regards to some of the hacks that I use:

Tip #1 - Log Your Time

I log everything on my Google Calendar. I mean EVERYTHING. I add our time at the gym, groceries, meetings, calls, and I also log all of my hours I spend on my website, writing, meeting with business coaching clients, virtual clients, and the time I spend with the companies I consult for. This way I have a clear vision of what my schedule looks like day to day and where I can add another meeting or session since well, those things come up. I also can review how long certain projects take, such as writing an article or creating my newsletter. It allows me to review each week and know what else that I can take on and what I can plan for when things pop up that are out of the ordinary (such as when my husband wants to visit a brewery we pass on the road). In all seriousness, it helps me to easily add a new client or business venture in because I know exactly how much time I have open.

Tip #2 - Set Boundaries

Okay I do get help from my husband for this one. We break up our days when we are driving with going to the gym, groceries, and laundry. Sometimes we will spend an afternoon at a rec center so that I can sit at a table when I have work that I need a strong wi-fi signal (I have a jetpack and hot spot data I use when we are moving around). But I make sure to carve out time each day for myself so that I am not just constantly reaching for my computer. That’s another thing when you make your own schedule; if you don’t put up parameters, you could wind up working more than if you were in an office. That’s not productive, and honestly, it creates bad habits and makes it harder to unplug and could lead to burnout. And in this day and age, people are learning that you don't have to work 40 hours a week in order to be successful. If you work at a job that things need to get done, well, get them done and then live your life. Only you can set these boundaries.

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities ." – Stephen R. Covey

Tip #3 - Work on YOU!

Work on your other stuff. Inevitably when you work remotely, you will notice that you have lags of time in your day. You probably had this when you worked in person as well, but usually you wind up filling that time with talking with co-workers or surfing the internet. When I stepped away from having an office and a structured schedule, I thought a lot about other things that I wanted to spend my time doing. I was always the person at work that wanted to get find the best way to do things and take on more. With a flexible schedule, that meant I didn’t have to “wait” until work hours were over to invest time in things that interested me. When I have some time between appointments, I use that time to write or meditate. Sometimes I will listen to podcasts of things I want to learn about when I am working out. Maybe I will catch up reading a few of the newsletters that I subscribe to. But either way, I work on things to help me develop into the person that I want to become. I have also learned when I am most productive, and utilize those hours when I want to be in deep work (such as my writing or reading).

Bottom Line

I look at each day as my time. What do I want to create and accomplish each day? What am I working towards? And essentially I have always thought about those things, even when I worked for other companies. I was just thinking about how I could reach THEIR goals, not mine. We live in a time of reaction. We react to our phones, our emails, our jobs, even our friends and family. Being able to move past that and take back some of the control is essential if you plan on working remotely and being successful at it.

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