How to Stay Productive While Working Remotely

I've been working remotely for most of my working life so far. So many see remote working as a dream or a goal to achieve, but it has just as many pros and cons as having to work in just one location. Whether you work in a job that requires you to travel, or you work for yourself in your own business as a freelancer, there is one skill you must master in order to remote work effectively, and that is self-discipline.

Self-discipline means that even though you have freedom over your location, you still need habits and structure to enable you to put in the effort and hours to get the job done. Like most things, you get out what you put in, and quality of time and effort always beats quantity. You can learn to be self-disciplined with practice, like most things:


1. Know Your Productive Time

Some remote workers need to be available at certain times, to liaise with customers and/or fellow team members, so there is no escape around some working hours. Other remote workers can be more flexible with their time, so it's important to know what kind of person you are - Are you a morning person, an afternoon person or a night owl? Or are you a hybrid, which means you get a burst of energy in the morning, and in the early evening, or another mix of times? Once you know this, you know when you can get work done.

2. Have the Tools You Need

No matter where you are there are certain tools you need to get work done.  For some, this can just mean a functioning laptop, portable hard drive and a good WIFI connection. Other freelancers need photographic equipment. Some need tablets. You may also need adapters, USB sticks, power cables, and other bits and pieces. I've also found headphones or earplugs helpful tools for blocking out sounds and making it easier to focus. If you expect to be productive, know the tools you need to get your work done.

3. Have A Working Space

When I am traveling and working remotely there are certain spaces which are more conducive to getting work done. I cannot work on my laptop in bed.  Somehow my brain cannot see the bed as a work space. So I try to find a desk. It's great if you have one in your accommodation. But if you don't it's a good idea to find a work space.

Co-working spaces are popping up everywhere as the digital nomad revolution grows. These tend to be funky working spaces, where you rent a desk, are provided good WIFI, and sometimes unlimited coffee and tea. Co-working spaces also are great environments to meet others working remotely. They also tend to be in more affordable cities and locations. If you cannot find a co-working space, then find a café with WIFI and a quiet area where you can get work done.

DO NOT sit on a beach. The glare and sand doesn't make you productive.  And when you post "that" photo, people WILL roll their eyes.

By Fiona McEachran from

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