7 Ways to Be More Productive When Working Remotely

Working out of the office can force all your good habits out the window. Here are seven proven ways to be more productive when working remotely.

Unless you’re used to being in a new city every week, working remotely can throw all of your good, productive habits out the window. Simply being away from your normal environment is enough to squelch productivity and leave you feeling frazzled, stressed and out of sorts.

Here are seven proven ways to be more effective (and more productive!) when working remotely.

1. Schedule your day

When you work remotely, you’re more likely to attend business dinners, meetings, events and social gatherings related to your new work site and temporary team.

Plan your day to account for interruptions and outings, making sure to allow more time for your daily tasks than you normally would at home.

2. Ask for what you need

Do you require a large desk, a desktop scanner or a quiet workspace in order to be productive?

Don’t assume that the hotel staff or worksite manager can read your mind. Take a good, hard look at your home base workspace and figure out how you can create your productivity must-haves off site.

3. Use Sitedrop

Sitedrop is an app that lets you collaborate via Dropbox in real time. It’s perfect for working remotely because it lets a team of your choice access, share, upload, and comment on a project right from within Dropbox.

4. Scan your receipts

At the end of day working remotely, be sure to scan all of your receipts and beam them to your Shoeboxed account.

You’re likely to collect more receipts than usual working off site, especially since many of your expenses will qualify as travel business deductions if you’re staying overnight away from home.

Scanning at the end of each day will keep you organized and prevent receipt overwhelm at the end of your trip.

5. Work on the plane

Even if you rarely work remotely, take your cue from tried and true business travelers – work on the plane!

As soon as electronic devices are allowed, pop open your laptop or tablet and get to work. If you’re on a plane without WiFi capability, prepare your tasks beforehand by asking yourself “What work can I get done without Internet access?”

6. Anticipate non-work time

Just as you should always pack less clothing than you think you’ll need, you should always assume you’ll get less done when working remotely.

Whether you’re at a business convention or working from a satellite office, all of the new distractions and people will make it nearly impossible to be as productive as you are back home. Accept this and plan for it so you don’t finish your trip feeling like a productivity failure.

7.  Prep for your return

If you followed steps #1 and #4 above, you should be ready to return to your home office with everything in order.

If things got a little crazy (as tends to happen when working remotely), make sure to spend the night before your return getting organized. Look at what goals you accomplished, and what new tasks must be added to your to-do list based on what happened while working remotely. Double check that all receipts are scanned, and plan to give yourself a day off before returning to the office if need be.

How do you stay productive while working remotely?

 

Top 5 Apps for a Productive Summer

Increasing your productivity will allow you to spend less time in the office and more time soaking up the sun. Here are five of our favorite productivity apps for summer.

Summer is the best time to increase your productivity while running your small business.

Why?

Because it’s the time of year that everyone is either a) taking a  vacation, or b) wishes they were taking a  vacation. Increasing and improving your productivity will allow you and your team to spend less time in the office and more time soaking up the sun.

Here are our top 5 apps to make this your most productive summer ever:

1. Twibble

Twibble is a social sharing application that can shave hours off your social media time each week.

Connect the Twibble app with any RSS feed, and your Twitter account will automatically publish fresh content every time the RSS is updated. This can work with your own blog and content, but you can also submit the RSS feed of top blogs and websites your customers love.

Many social media experts recommend an 80/20 ratio when it comes to sharing content (80% other’s content, 20% your own content), making Twibble the perfect social productivity solution.

2. POP

Your web designer and your clients are going to LOVE the new POP app, which lets designers create an interactive web mockup in just minutes. Designers can create the old fashioned way using pen and paper, then add web-based functionality using POP.

This means epic amounts of time saved during the design process, allowing you to update your website faster than ever before, and/or create websites for clients faster than ever before.

3. MakeMe

MakeMe is an app that makes productivity into a fun game, complete with peer pressure! The app lets you and your team gently (or not so gently) encourage each other to get more done.

This app is fantastic for procrastinators or those on your team who’ve fallen victim to Lazy Summer-itis.

4. Fancy Hands

What are you supposed to do during the summer when half of your team is on vacation?

Don’t spend the entire summer chained to your desk. Use a service like Fancy Hands to outsource the work that needs to be done while everyone’s lounging in the sun.

You can call or email Fancy Hands with all sorts of tasks and jobs that need to be finished asap, and a lot of the time their virtual assistant team will have things taken care of in just a few hours.

5. Trello

Trello is an intuitive, interactive task manager that not only tells you what needs to be done – it helps you decide what to work on next. The app can be used alone or with your team, and can help you organize everything from individual projects to your business’s five-year plan.

Summer is the best time of year to get a head start on the upcoming fall season, but don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit lazy.

With these apps to take away some of your workload and reduce the amount of time spent chained to your desk, you’ll be able to get back to the beach in no time flat.

Shave 5 Hours Off Your Work Week with These 7 Productivity Tips

While these 7 productivity tips may not shave your work week down to a mere 4 hours (a la Timothy Ferriss), they will help you significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete everyday tasks.

The key to achieving powerful productivity is to work smarter, not harder.

While these 7 productivity tips may not shave your work week down to a mere 4 hours (a la Tim Ferriss), they will help you significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete everyday tasks.

1. Prioritize your goals

You probably have a monster to-do list, but let’s be honest – you’re not going to get it all done today. You might not even finish it this week.

Choose one or two items that you’d like to finish today, and forget about the rest of the list. By focusing on just a few key items, you’re more likely to finish them fast without getting overwhelmed. You can then move on to the next important item on your list, but only if you have time.

2. Stop answering emails

Are you email communications like a series of thank you cards that never end?

“Got the report, will get edits to you ASAP.”

“Ok, thanks!”

“You’re welcome!”

Those last two responses, while polite, are wasted time. Send five or 10 emails like that each day and you’ve already wasted 30 minutes of your day.

If you’re a notorious “thanker,” send a single email to your colleagues letting them know that from now on, you’ll only respond if absolutely necessary, and that if they don’t hear from you, they can assume their message went through and everything is good on your end.

3. Turn off sound notifications

Ding! Facebook notification.

Ring! New email messages.

Chirp! Someone favorited your tweet.

It’s difficult enough to concentrate on work under the best of circumstances, but it’s practically impossible when you’re constantly distracted by interruptions.

Turn your phone on silent, and turn the sound off on your computer. Set aside specific times to check email, check social accounts, and make phone calls. If it’s not your set “Facebook time,” then hands off and no checking allowed!

4. Take frequent breaks

Taking a break every two hours is good for your brain and increases productivity. Go for a walk, grab a snack, or make a personal call. Stepping away from your work will give your brain a chance to hit the refresh button, and you’ll come back rejuvenated with new ideas.

5. Stick to a pre-set end time

Choose a set time to end your work day and stick to it. This time may fluctuate from week to week, and even day to day, but whatever time you choose, commit to it and see it through.

If you don’t, you’re sure to spend hours working late each day, because there will always be just “one more thing” you’ll want to get done.

6. Set aside daily “scanning time”

If you let receipts and papers build up over weeks and months, you’ll be faced with some serious scanning time and an outdated Shoeboxed account. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to scan any receipts that have accumulated. This will also save you tons of time (and money) during tax season.

7. Get less done

Remember that when you die, your inbox won’t be empty! Do you really need to get as much done as you think you do? Where is this pressure to get more done coming from – your boss, your colleagues, or yourself?

When you ask the overachiever in you to step aside, you cultivate a work-life balance that will only improve your overall productivity when running your business.

What would you do with an extra 5 hours of free time each week? What are your favorite productivity tips?