Since last year, I’ve been exposed to the concept of remote working. As I read more about it, I became more interested and started living my life in that way.
Most of the exposure came from reading Buffer’s Open blog. I also subscribe to Remotive.io, a weekly newsletter with free tips and resources on remote working, productivity and communications by Rodolphe Dutel of Buffer.
Why Remote Working
The main reason why I like the idea of working remotely is the flexibility with location and time. As long as I have my laptop and wifi connection, I can do my work almost anywhere conducive and at any time.
When I’m not restricted to a desk or working hours, I feel that I am more productive and creative. For example, I started writing this post at my friends’ place in London while they were still asleep.
Hence, I would always bring my laptop with me whenever I travel unless I intend not to work. I brought it with me during my 18-day trip to Copenhagen, London, Stamford and Brugge last December so that I could practice coding.
Also, I can schedule my day in a way that maximises my productivity and happiness. When my productivity is low, I can go for my triathlon training or spend time with family and friends to recharge myself.
It’s not just about working alone. The concept of remote working has changed my perspective of how work could be done as a team. Most importantly, I do not need to be physically with my teammates for work to be done.
I thought that it would be interesting to share how a day of remote working is like for me so I decided to write this blog post. It might not be like a typical day of a remote worker as I’m working for myself and not with a team. Also, not every day is exactly the same as this day.
At the end of the post, I would share a comprehensive list of tools and resources for getting things done while working remotely and for finding remote jobs.
A Day Of Remote Working
I documented one of my remote working days a while back and the following is what I did throughout the day :)
8:40am: As I had no meetings scheduled for the day, I went to a Starbucks near the train station to set up my camp. I got a cup of soy milk cafe latte and started to write a draft for a blog post.
11:55am: I felt that my productivity was falling so I packed up and left. I went to get lunch for a friend before heading over to her place.
1:00pm: Over lunch, I had a lovely chat my friend about accounting and auditing as she is in the Financial Services field now and I’m studying Accounting and Finance. It was nice catching up with her after having not met her for some time :)
2:14pm: I called my girlfriend who is back in Singapore using FaceTime. We have developed the practice of calling each other almost daily around this time — my lunch time and her pre-bed time :)
2:50pm: I had my lunch coma so I decided to take a power nap.
3:15pm: After re-energising myself, I worked on the draft for Issue 2 of my side project, Be Nice Weekly Newsletter on customer service/support/experience.
5:02pm: It sounds crazy, but I normally have about 5 meals a day. So I had my second lunch/pre-dinner while scrolling through TweetDeck and reading articles.
5:34pm: I went to the gym since I missed my morning workout to catch the train. It is convenient that there’s free access to the gym for residents.
7:47pm: After a good workout session, I came back for dinner while listening to Tim Ferriss’s interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
9:17pm: I have a pre-sleep routine which I usually start around this time. I would email my girlfriend about my day after she has gone to bed (another practice of ours for our long distance relationship) and update my iDoneThis calendar for the day.
10:40pm: Last thing for the day — meditation with Calm app! Then bed time! Zzzz
I hope this has given you an insight to how a day of remote working could be like! Again, this is only from my perspective and it would be different from other remote workers.
Tools and Resources
You made it through my day of remote working! High 5!
As promised, here’s the comprehensive list of tools and resources for remote workers.
Tools to Get Things Done
Having a to-do list is usually the first step to getting things done. Andrew from Zapier has done an awesome job reviewing 40 of the most popular to-do apps. You can probably find one on the list that suits you.
If you aren’t productive at home, use Workfrom to find yourself a conducive environment to work in.
AdBlock blocks out the annoying ads so that you can minimise any distractions while you are working or researching.
This extension removes your Facebook newsfeed so that you will not waste time scrolling through Facebook (and it gives you an inspirational quote!).
Use music to help you focus and boost your creativity.
Organise articles and blogs you want to read by saving them to your Pocket or adding them to your Feedly so that you do not get distracted while you are working.
With Evernote, you can take and view notes on your laptop or on your smartphone when you are on the go.
No time to sit down and read a book? Let Audible read audio books to you.
Use Buffer, a social media management tool, to schedule your social media posts and save yourself time on social media.
Tools for Collaboration
With Google Docs and Hackpad, you can collaborate with your teammates in real-time or asynchronously.
Manage your team projects with Trello or Asana. You can use them as your personal project management tool too.
Forget about email! Use Slack or HipChat to communicate within your team through your laptop or smartphone.
Some times, it’s easier to discuss when you are meeting your teammates face-to-face. Some times, it’s simply nicer to be looking at someone than text on your screen. Use Sqwiggle or Skype or Google Hangouts for that.
Working remotely often requires us to work across timezones. Having Every Time Zone or World Time Buddy saves you the trouble of calculating the hours.
When working remotely, output is more important than the hours you are present in the “office”. Using iDoneThis, you can update your team about what you have done for the day. You can use it to track your daily output too.
As a remote team, your teammates cannot pop over to your desk and see what’s on your screen. Use CloudApp to save screenshots to the cloud and share them with your team.
Nomad List, created by Pieter Levels, finds you the best places to live and work remotely as a digital nomad or remote startup according to a list of metrics like cost of living and internet speed.
Wide Team is a blog and podcast on remote software development teams. It covers all aspects of remote collaboration, including how to get started, interviews with active practitioners, tool reviews, and much more.
Here are 7 online communities for remote workers and digital nomads.
#nomads is a digital nomad slack community with almost 3000 digital nomads. It has channels for cities around the world so that you can connect with those near you. It’s probably the most active digital nomad chat out there.
Millennial Nomads, started by Nathaniel Eliason, is a slack chat community of college students and recent grads working together to achieve total location independence.
#remotive on Twitter
#remotive is a new ongoing Twitter chat that I’ve started recently. There’s no fixed format at the moment. Come and chat with other remote workers and digital nomads on Twitter with the hashtag.
Nomad Forum is a question and answer site for digital nomads and remote workers to exchange information on working remotely from different places around the world.
This is a subreddit focusing on remote working, telecommuting and working from home.
This is a subreddit focusing on digital nomads and living a nomadic lifestyle.
Nomadler is a pretty new Hacker News type of forum for remote workers and digital nomads.
Remote Job Boards
Are you pumped up to work remotely now? Here are 10 job boards that only list remote jobs.
We Work Remotely is a highly recommended remote job board, created by 37signals.
Remotive Jobs is a curated collection of remote startup jobs by Rodolphe of Buffer.
Remote|OK indexes all the remote jobs out there.
Nomad Jobs is an extension to Nomad List. It lists only 100% remote jobs at distributed startups that are digital nomad friendly.
Working Nomads curates remote digital jobs in the areas of development, design, customer success, sys admin, management, and marketing.
If you are into social media, marketing, content and community work, CloudPeeps connect you with amazing remote work opportunities.
Jobscribe is a daily email with remote jobs at tech startups.
PowerToFly is a remote job matching site dedicated for women.
WFH.io is a job board focusing on work-from-home jobs in the technology space.
JobRack lists remote jobs in the fields of customer support, data analytics, design, development, engineering, and marketing.
SkipTheDrive is a search engine for telecommuting jobs.
If I missed out any good resources, tweet me at @alfred_lua! Thanks :)