Handling Flexibility

Many remote companies are giving their employees a high level of flexibility regarding their schedule and location to work. It’s really a huge benefit to both employers and employees.

However, there are downsides to having such freedom, which we’re talking about in episode 25 of Process coming up on Friday. One way I manage the absolute freedom of working remote is trying to keep a semi-normal schedule from approximately 8am - 5pm.

How do you handle the freedom and flexibility of working remotely with your schedule? Your location? Where have you struggled?

The taste of freedom is so alluring. I can skip out and binge on Netflix or just go for a cup of coffee at the cafe with no intention of doing any real work. My struggles come with the guilt that sometimes accompanies it. I’m trying to keep a fairly normal schedule so I know which mode I should be in. I’ll have time blocks for administrative work, a block for deep work, another block for family time, etc.

My main method for flexibility is to install systems. If I can automate as much as possible, that frees up more time for me to spend with my family. I also look for ways to improve my current workflows. I recently re-arranged my invoice archiving/scanning workflow and it reduced a lot of friction for me. I’ll do anything to reduce friction whenever I can. The less time I can spend on menial tasks, the more time I have for the work that I truly love or the more time I can have with my family.

Does anybody have any other challenges you’re facing as a remote worker?

I have worked alone at home for over 20 years, discipline and routine is what makes this possible., as well as the rise of truly portable computing. I currently live in Cyprus with my 70+ clients mostly in the UK but some in the US and Europe. I commute back to the UK regularly, where my partner has a flat as she is currently looking after her elderly mother.

I make sure I am up at 6:30 at the latest, and out of the house and in the coffee shop by 9am. This gives me a “commute” I have a five minute walk along the seafront, once I arrive in the main town which clears my head.

Coffee shop work is the routine tasks, planning, the admin, and the easier coding stuff. I usually spend a couple of hours on this then head home. The afternoon is the heavier coding and dev work. Then an evening wind up routine checking tasks not done.

I am lucky, I live opposite the beach, so working at home with the views and clean air is pretty good, although without trips out it is easy to go 'stir crazy"

What I struggle with? The heat at the moment, it’s in the high 30’s so it is tempting to sleep in the afternoon. I go to coffee shops, 1. because it gives me some social interaction, and 2. its cheaper to pay for coffee and use their air conditioning than to run my own :wink: I suppose I am lucky in that I am not an overly sociable person mostly happy with my own company or with my partner.

What I would say is give yourself a realistic set of tasks to try and do on any day. it does not matter when you do them as long as you do, I sometimes start a job at 10pm (it’s cooler)

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I like how you have your day split like this. Did you do this intentionally because you do better work on the “deep work” stuff in the afternoon, or was there another reason?

That’s an important differentiation I’m needing to make. I’m so used to clocking hours (min 40hrs in my corporate job, and had to track time to the minute as a freelancer), so having a remote job with the working hours in the day flexible (landing around 40hrs a week) is a change. The mindset I need to get in “is the work I need to do done” instead of “did i hit my hours”.

Hi Justin

No, like most things I fell into it… When we moved to Cyprus I had to sell my beloved iMacs as the cost of getting them here quickly was prohibitive. I decided on trying to go iPad only with a macMini as a server type device. It just did not work.

Code dev on an iPad is a miserable experience. So initially I took the iPad to the coffee shop and then worked in the Mac mini at home for the code work. I have since treated myself to a MacBook Pro so that distinction is largely gone now, but the routine remains. :grinning:

I do usually work better on complex things in the afternoon, but being self employed I really do not have the luxury of being picky, if it needs doing do it, no matter what.

On the realistic set of tasks thing, to give you an example I had a lot to do this weekend, yesterday was so hot I did very little but have made it up today and had a really productive day, I have even had time to answer this post!

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