We’ve all seen those success stories and advertisements of people making a load of cash working remotely from some little hut in a jungle somewhere. We’ve all smirked at them, and went back to playing tetris, angry birds, and candy crush on our office computer.
Yeah, you know I’m talking about you!
But some of us have had remote jobs, without the jungle hut part, and have seen tremendous results.
Startups or global agencies often assemble remote teams that work on projects together, or handle customer service from different time zones. At our company we do the same.
We have a team in Asia, in the Middle East, in South America, and in the U.S.
With such a diverse team how do we manage to get things done?
Here are 5 productivity hacks that we have implemented that will make any remote team successful.
We communicate often and regularly via Skype.
- Skype acts like a messenger and a video platform
- We also share screens a lot.
- Sometimes we work on projects together on one screen
- Sometimes we brainstorm ideas
- Sometimes we divide assignments among the group. Whatever the occasion may be it is super important to communicate often and regularly.
If you want to be fancy, or need more functionality, you could use Slack or other similar programs.
The more you communicate with your team the better everyone will feel about their jobs as well.
If you are working remotely and you rarely talk to your boss you don’t have that reassurance that you are accomplishing the right things and doing well at your job.
2) Set Weekly Goals
When you work in a remote team things could get vague.
You might be given a general assignment in the beginning of the month and forget to discuss the steps required.
You might have different expectation than your manager, sitting the world away from you. It’s important to be clear about the goal, as well as to set little goals along the way.
Famous motivational speakers like Lisa Nichols have mentioned that they create 12 micro goals on the way to their big goals and celebrate each and every one (Lisa’s amazing video about micro goals).
Setting micro goals can help relieve the pressure and stress of working remote.
Here is an example:
At eClincher , I am in charge of inbound marketing and blogging, and I have a long list of tasks. Here is how I broke it down per week:
- Write 5 blog posts on our blog
- Write 2 guest posts on other blogs
- 2 Tutorial Videos / Vlogs
- Follow blogging leads
3) Keep track of Hours and Progress
If you are working remotely transparency is key.
Since your the team doesn’t see each other on a regular basis it’s hard to know what each one is doing.
That’s why I recommend to start documenting every day how many hours you’ve worked and what you’ve accomplished that day.
If you focus on each day and try to accomplish a few good things you will be amazed at how much more productive your whole week will be.
Also, the managers of the team will have such a better picture of what everyone is doing, and that will help the whole team be more productive.
4) Have a Schedule
I think the tendency for remote work is to try and multitask. And let’s face it sometimes you want to step away and make lunch, or do the laundry (if you’re working from home), or whatever other activity it may be. And you do this because you say to yourself “it’s ok, I will just work later today, I will do more hours in the evening”.
So instead of your job occupied one part of your day, it starts taking over your every waking moment. Workaholism is not a long term solution for most people. So I would recommend to pick a shift and stick with it. If you want to do some extra hours later you can, just not at the expense of your entire life.
5) Time Blocking
Last but not least, let’s talk about all of those youtube videos you watch every day, or all of the hours you spend on BoredPanda.
Procrastination kills productivity.
Especially when you are working remote, and that view is so nice outside, and your cousin came in to tell you a story… and … sorry, let’s get back to the post.
There is an incredible solution to your procrastination and it is called POMODORO – like the tomato sauce. It’s a routine that was created by Francesco Cirillo, which involved a series of hyper focused 25 work sessions.
- Do one task for 25 minutes,
- then take a break for 5 minutes to stretch, breathe, whatever.
- After 4 pomodoro periods take a 15-20 minutes break.
So if you are like me and get distracted easily then I urge you to try this technique.
Good news is that there are a bunch of apps that help you do the pomodoro, check out the pomodoro apps list here
So go out there and crush it folks. When you apply all of our tips you will feel like this guy:
Ben Kazinik (@eclincherrocks) is an inbound marketer for eClincher, the world’s most powerful social media management platform. He enjoys hiking, cooking, soccer, and visiting his family around the world. Email me at – email@example.com