This week on Praxis Monday, we were joined by Praxis advisor Amanda Kingsmith. Amanda is a world traveler, yoga instructor, coach, and the host of two podcasts — including the World Wanderers Podcast, about her travels around the globe. In this workshop, Amanda talked about:
- how she balances travel and work
- how to maintain focus and motivation without a dedicated office space
- how to build your own schedule (and stick to it)
- how to cultivate discipline and structure
- how to build a great reputation with your remote team
- the most important rules to follow to succeed while working remotely.
There are lots of challenges when you start working remotely.
Each one of these can slow down your working process. How do you set your own timelines? How do you communicate with your team and ensure that expectations are clear? How do you sit down and get cracking when there’s no office environment to hold you accountable?
If you’re going remote, you have to figure out how to overcome each of these challenges. But even though it seems daunting at first, the secret to success lies in building great habits.
Once you have a set of communication expectations, a standard schedule you can follow, and a system for handling your work, these problems become a lot less pressing.
In this workshop, Amanda talked about the dos and don’ts of remote work.
First, here are the “don’t”s:
And now, here are Amanda Kingsmith’s 10 Rules for Remote Work Success:
1. Use a Calendar
Use your calendar to track every obligation. Your obligations are non-negotiables, and you can’t afford to miss them.
Google Calendar is recommended (although another app works too). Whatever system you choose, make sure you have all of your recurring and one-off obligations recorded — meetings, due dates, and weekly events.
Make it your habit to check your calendar at the start of every day, so you’re always aware of what you need to do next.
2. Use a task list manager (your brain doesn’t count)
Think of your brain like a computer. Just like a computer’s operating system, it has limited RAM. If you put too many tasks in your brain, it’s like having too many tabs open in your browser — it will get overloaded and crash.
Your brain is not a failsafe storage place for information. You have to have an external place to document your to-do lists. A paper list, Trello, Asana — choose whichever tool works best for you, but make it your habit to log everything you have to get done.
3. Sunday Power Hour
The way you start your week is really important. Do you start it feeling ahead or feeling behind?
Take an hour on Sunday evening to sit down and organize your week. Map out the things you have to get done, make sure you’re aware of your obligations and your schedule.
This will set you up to start your Monday feeling strong!
4. Schedule your following day the night before
Always end your work day by going over your schedule for the next day. Make sure you know what the coming day looks like: check your inbox, your task list, and your calendar.
5. Schedule out your tasks
People either underestimate or overestimate how much time they have in a day, and they tend to undershoot or overshoot their tasks. It’s crucial to learn to correctly predict how much you can get done.
If you know how much project time you have in a day, then you can clearly predict how much you’ll be able to get done.
Here’s how you do it:
- Map out all the external obligations on your calendar (meetings, etc.). The space in between your meetings is where you’re going to get your tasks done.
- Allow buffer time around your meetings for prep or follow-up work. (For example, leave 15 minutes after a meeting to get some water, check emails, take notes, etc. before you dive into your next tasks).
- Fit your projects into the remaining spaces. Budget time for different tasks. For example, you might dedicate an hour to write a blog post, or 90 minutes to work on a project outline.
- Be as accurate as possible in predicting how much time a task should take, and then stick to those time commitments! If you have an hour blocked to write a blog post, then try to finish it within that hour.
6. Take Breaks
Your brain gets overwhelmed when you don’t take breaks, and if you’re overwhelmed then you don’t get anything done.
Make sure you block time into your day to get up, stretch, take a walk, give your mind a break. You’ll be more effective if you give yourself time to rest.
7. Create a Routine and Stick to it
Any form of routine is helpful. Depending on your work schedule, having an exact routine every day might be hard. But the more routine you can set, the better.
Even small habits help: things like a morning routine, or scheduling the next next day after work (and then shutting down your computer), reading before bed, or going for a walk over lunch. Choose a couple habits to build into your routine and stick with them.
8. Uphold your Standards
It’s really important to set standards for yourself. What are your commitments in how you approach your work? What are your standards for output, or quality? What are your personal standards for communication?
Whatever your standards are — whether it’s responding to emails within 24 hours or never taking more than a week to finish a project — make it your #1 priority to stick to them.
9. Set Deadlines & Never Miss Them
Have deadlines for your work, and hit them 100% of the time.
Even more importantly, underpromise and overdeliver! Give yourself plenty of buffer time and then deliver ahead of schedule.
This is one of the fastest ways of building trust, reliability, and a great reputation.
10. Identify Distractions and Eliminate Them
What things throw you off your schedule? What things get you out of your workflow? If phone notifications distract you, turn your phone off while you’re working, or put it on the other side of the room. If emergency meetings come up that get in the way of projects, how can you block your project time so it doesn’t get interrupted?
Want to be a remote work rockstar? It takes discipline and hard work, but with these tips from Amanda’s playbook, you’ll be able to build a workflow that you can take anywhere, no matter where you travel!
Check out our favorite clip from the call: