7 light hearted things to do to make your remote workday more enjoyable, and help you to get better focus in your remote work.
1. Go out from your home office for lunch
This doesn’t mean that you should go to an unhealthy or an expensive restaurant, it just means that you’d get up from your remote working chair and walk – walk being the main thing – to a nearby restaurant or a cafe. Going to another place from your home helps you to take your mind off the things that you’re working at for a short moment, which is great. You might find that dining alone is lonely, and sometimes it is. Consider calling up a friend, a client, or a colleague to go for a lunch date
2. Take short walks during the day
It gets your blood pumping even a bit, which is a great thing. As a remote worker it’s hard to get extra motivation for getting up and doing some cardio. These small walks help you to keep that up, and it’s much more fun after work to do something if you’ve actually moved a bit during the day. On your walks, go through parks. If the short walk goes through something else than a busy city block, and you might actually see something green, which is even better. We all know the feeling when after a great flow period you are in your own world and can’t seem to focus on anything.
3. Even if it sounds weird, try out meditation
In Eastern cultures, for a large number of people it’s a daily practice, but still after decades of scientific research that shows great benefits in meditation, for some it’s considered to be some kind of voodoo.
A great book if you want to try understanding meditation from a Western perspective is 10% Happier, by Dan Harris. It’s a story of a white-collar worker who slowly gets the idea of meditation, and he says that it simply makes him ten percent happier. I’m a relatively new practitioner myself, but I can see the benefits.
After a long day of work, your head gets into a weird zone, where all you’re thinking about is what you left behind. Sometimes this is hard to shake off, and meditation for just ten minutes does the trick perfectly. Some people use alcohol for that, which kind of does the same thing but with different “benefits.”
4. Listen to music while working
The world around you as a remote working is full of annoying sudden noises, and listening to something that calms you down or sparks you up might be a great thing. Studies show that listening to your favourite music might distract you from work, but in my personal research I know that my genre of choice, which is alternative rock, helps me keep in the zone.
Try with different kinds of music before completely disbanding the idea. For those of you who (still) work in an office, listening to music is a great way to block out all the noise from the office; just let your teammates know to not disturb you with those earplugs on, and you’ll get much more done.
“The Impact of Listening to Music on Cognitive Performance,” a study by Arielle S. Dolegui, showed that listening to music on low volume might increase performance, while at higher levels it seems to impair it. Also, the type of music doesn’t matter that much: “Interestingly, while the findings of this study revealed that it is the intensity of the music rather than the type of music that matters the most when it comes to cognitive performance, it is still noteworthy to point out that scores were significantly higher when participants completed the tests in the silence condition.
Through this process, it can be implied that it is easier to process information in the presence of a minimal level of distraction. It can be implied that students should not listen to any music or allow any auditory disturbance while studying to obtain maximum performance level. Students should strive to study and learn in an environment such as the library or a private study room that is as quiet as possible, especially when the material requires higher cognitive processing.”
5. If you’re in the zone, keep going
I hate it when I finally get into my best working flow and something acute comes up to confuse me. Do your best to avoid stopping work when you’re finally in the zone, because getting back there again when you’re finished with whatever else will be tricky.
6. Don’t bang your head against the wall too long
We all face issues that are just too hard to figure out on one sitting. If you’re hitting your head against it, and you know your team can’t help you, a great idea might be to get up and take a walk. If you still can’t figure it out, do the other task next to it. This will give your mind some passive time to ponder it, and you might come up with an answer. However, remember to get back to the task straight away, or it might end up as something you never get done.
7. Take vacations
Sometimes work can overwhelm you, and especially when you’re working from home, you will need some time off now and then. As a remote worker, you can plan your vacations in a way that almost no one else can. Think about this. You have five days of vacation to use. This adds up to nine days with two weekends. Usually the single largest expense when taking vacations is the flights. As a remote worker, you can expand your vacation to either direction if you wish to do so and get even more out of your work.