I know the feeling … You’re sitting at your desk and decide, for a second, to look out the window. You see people walking past with who look utterly, hopelessly, relaxed. And you think, what if I could be like them?
Ah, the tease of summer is upon us. But what if you could be out there where those happy people are?
Want to know how I do it?
By working remotely.
Remote working is the key to enjoying all the fruits of summertime, while still maintaining your status as a productive, working human being.
I was once a 9-5er. Then I turned my part-time “side hustle” into a full-time business that I now run from anywhere in the world. And since making that switch, I can undoubtedly say that the freedom of working remotely is worth it. Not easy, but worth it.
So how exactly does working remotely give you so much flexibility to enjoy summer when you’re still, well, working?
Working remotely on your own schedule …
Whether I’m working from the road or my own kitchen table, remote working affords me the luxury of creating my own schedule. I’m no longer limited to the 9-5 life, so why not have some fun with it?
We all know that no one is fully productive for eight straight hours at the same time each day. So I tend to break up my workflow.
When I’m fortunate enough to work in a warmer locale, I weirdly love getting up with the sun and starting my work day around 6 or 6:30 a.m. (weirdly, because that definitely doesn’t happen in the city). I work for a few hours, take a breakfast break, work for a few more hours and then, around noon, I stop. Because then it’s time to play. After I’ve had my time in the sun, I’ll return to work after dinner, usually from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
And there you have it — a “full” eight-hour day on my terms.
When I’m not in the tropics, my schedule tends to fall a little more into the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. realm (due to in-person client meetings and whatnot), but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little siesta around 3 p.m. every now and then, and continue working later that night.
… With your own workload
Yes, you can work as little or as much as you want.
Of course, remote workers are motivated by how much cash they need to sustain their lifestyle. But if you’ve carefully managed your cash flow, you can change things up a bit. Especially when it’s summertime.
… From your own location
Want to join those relaxed-looking, iced drinks-sipping people out on the street? You can. Want to book a last-minute flight deal to a tropical location? You can (just make sure there is good WiFi). Want to work from your couch with Netflix on in the background? You can (well, umm, it’s certainly possible but probably not recommended. I’ll touch on distractions in a bit).
The beauty of working remotely is whether it’s summertime or the dead of winter, you can choose to work from wherever you desire. Your local coffee shop’s patio, your local juicery, or your local couch. The choice is yours.
Your freedom awaits in these three simple steps
Simple? If only it was that easy. I can appreciate that getting to the point of working remotely is not so simple. And it’s usually achieved on a case-by-case basis.
Sorry, no “secret” cookie-cutter approach to share here. (But if you’re really itching to start from the ground up with this concept, I’d recommend reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss).
For the sake of this article, let’s say you’re already at a point where you know what skill you can offer online to clients as a service. This is applicable even if you’re still working a 9-5 job and are building a business on the side.
How do you make remote working a feasible option so that you spend less time people-watching from your office, and more time frolicking outside in the sun?
1. Get the right tools.
There are innumerable tools available for you to operate your business remotely, and quite frankly, it can be overwhelming. Here is a short list of the tools I’ve found to be the most helpful in keeping me on-task and productive:
For virtual assistance: Fancy Hands.
2. Know thyself.
I’ll bet that thyself has peaks of productivity and dips of idleness. And that thyself might also typically desire a nap around 3 p.m. everyday.
If you’re like me, you might be surprised that you can actually be a morning person. Be sure to also plan to take breaks every 60 to 90 minutes.
Remote work gives you options you might not otherwise have. For example, if you know your energy dips around 3 p.m. everyday, you can’t necessarily take a nap if you’re in an office. But as a remote worker, you have that flexibility. Use it to your advantage if you need to.
3. Stay disciplined.
I’ll also bet that thyself is easily distracted. You’re not alone. We all have shorter attention spans than goldfish, so we’re in this together.
The downside of experiencing the freedom of summer is all the many lovely distractions that surround you. If you want to enjoy your time outside guilt-free, you’re gonna have to work (or “werk”). And work hard.
You likely already know this, but you might not be working as efficiently as you think. Sometimes you might record your time and see something like this…
- 3:05 – 3:08 Checked emails
- 3:08 – 3:12 Facebook
- 3:12 – 3:15 Replied to an email
- 3:15 – 3:17 Sent text
- 3:17 – 3:20 Replied to another email
- 3:20 – 3:30 Googled “best patios in Toronto.” Started making weekend plans.
If that’s the case, you need to add some more focus to your routine in order to get the most out of working remotely. If you can pinpoint your distractions (like social media, the news, messaging, lyrical music) and remove them from your vicinity while you work, you’ll be better off for it. If you need even more structure, download an app like SelfControl to really discipline yourself.
And if all else fails, there’s nothing like betting money so that you just go effing do it.
While working remotely is how I enjoy my summer to the fullest, it’s not for everyone. Discipline and hustle aren’t just words tossed around for fun.
But if the thought of spending your summer in a corporate office setting makes you want to pull your eyeballs out, then perhaps it’s time for you to take the next steps.
What tips do you have for working remotely? Please share in the comments!
Also published on Medium.