In 2012, I had recently finished grad school and was looking for a new job. I was tired of moving and wanted to stay in the same place, but I knew that I might not find the exact position that I wanted where I was living. Therefore, I started a blog and began researching and looking for work that I could do remotely.
I love the flexibility of remote work and wouldn't change it for anything!
I was also doing a certificate program part-time and knew that I needed a job that could be done flexibly on my own schedule. After a few months of searching, I found a position as a social media manager in the Personal Development space.
Since then, I have worked in many remote teams, primarily in content related roles.
Currently, I have a few main projects, and all of them are done remotely.
First, I am in charge of content for a non-profit called M2B ministries. My role is to oversee the podcast, website, newsletter, and to help create new courses and products for our customers.
Second, I write a weekly article for a remote company called Zidisha. Zidisha is in the microfinance space and provides peer to peer lending for entrepreneurs around the world.
My third main project is my blog, BetsyRamserJaime.com which is about helping remote workers thrive. I've learned so much over the past six years about working remotely from building community and overcoming loneliness to sticking to a routine, avoiding distractions, and much more. I enjoy sharing my remote work experience and encouraging others.
Lastly, I love connecting with people from all over the world so I also teach a few Business English classes each week.
I am a very structured person when it comes to my routine. When I first started working remotely, I didn't have much of a method and I often felt flustered.
I've come to realize that I really thrive with structure and a daily routine.
I typically start working at 6 am and usually do some editing work from 6-7 am. After that, I usually teach a few classes from 7-10 am or so.
Next, I work on a content related project for an hour or two and then break for lunch. Lunch is usually an hour, and I try to take a short walk for some exercise and to get out of the house.
In the afternoon, I make a second cup of coffee, and I continue with my content work (podcast editing, writing blog posts, articles, or newsletters). I usually reserve the late afternoon for less strenuous work like meetings, calls, email, and so forth.
To stay on schedule, I use a paper planner, and I schedule out each hour of my day the day before. That way, when I sit down at 6 am, I know exactly what to work on. I also try to keep my phone on airplane mode for 80 percent of the day, and I only check email 1-2 times a day, which has allowed me to be so much more productive!
Yes! I have a home office, which I love! On my desk, I always have my MacBook Pro, my paper planner, a notebook, and a cup of coffee and a cup of water.
For me, it's really important to have a dedicated workspace.
I used to find myself puttering all over the house with my laptop, an hour working in bed and a few hours on the couch. This might work for some people but for me, I've found that having a specific office space works best for me.
This way, my brain knows that if I'm in the office, it's time to work. From time to time I also enjoy working from a coffee shop.
I like to keep things pretty simple so I only use a few tools.
In terms of organizing tasks and ideas, I think that my paper planner is still my #1 way of staying productive but I also really like Evernote and Trello. Since I work with so many different teams, I find that Evernote is great for keeping each of my separate projects organized.
For my blog, I love using Trello to organize my editorial calendar and brainstorm new ideas.
First, I think that getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself is essential. If you're sleep deprived, not eating well, never exercising, then it will be really difficult to do good work.
Next, I am adamant about tracking my time. It might sound crazy but I track my time seven days a week in 15-minute intervals using a Google spreadsheet. By doing this, I can end the day or week knowing exactly how I spent my time. This also prevents me from wasting too much time watching YouTube videos and participating in other online activities. because no one wants to have to write that in a time log.
I've also found that listening to classical music or soundtracks is helpful. This activity is great for staying on task and inflow for longer periods of time.
Lastly, I think a big part of it goes back to keeping a schedule or routine. If you tend to do the same functions each day at a particular time, it's much easier to stay on task and know what to do because it's already an ingrained habit.
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I find that the biggest advantages are not having a commute and having freedom and autonomy over how I spend my days. I can alter my hours quite easily depending on what works best for me and my husband.
I hear so many of my students or clients complain about commute times, wasted time in meetings, and hours spent sifting through emails. I'm really appreciative that I can keep each of these to a minimum by having control over my work and day.
As a huge introvert, I was surprised by how lonely I felt when I first started working remotely. It definitely took time to build both online and offline friends as well as making the additional time to prioritize that.
It also takes a lot of discipline to work remotely and I think that can be a big adjustment for many people, especially if you're used to a typical 9-5 work environment. This concept is a big reason why I started writing about remote work on my blog. It was to help others who found themselves struggling with the transition to remote work.
When I first started working from home I didn't have much of a routine. I woke up late and was often overwhelmed because I didn't know what to work on. Initially, the idea of not having a plan can seem really appealing. However, for me, it just doesn't work.
I've come to realize that clear structures and routines allow me to thrive and do my best work as a remote worker.
I think engaging in some trial and error is necessary. Each person is different, so it's important to find what works for you.
If your current routine isn't working, switch it up!
Read 11 answers from other remote workers
At RemoteHabits we're always trying to improve our interviews, what question should we have asked Betsy Ramser Jaime?
Betsy Ramser Jaime is a content creator living in Florida. With 6+ years of remote work experience, she loves helping other remote workers create their ideal remote work life. You can find her at www.BetsyRamserJaime.com
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