I was planning a move from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and began looking for new job opportunities there. After my employer at the time found my active resume on Monster, we had a discussion and they decided to keep me on full time as a remote employee. That was in 2009—I've been working remotely full time ever since.
My wife and I have 3 school aged kids, so my routine mainly revolves around their schedules of going to and from school (although it's a bit more relaxed now for the summer).
Typically I'm up at 5:30 to make coffee for my wife and wake everyone else up. After making breakfast, we'll drop the kids off at school and start my day around 7:30. I'll work until noon, then after eating lunch try and sneak in a 30 minute bicycle ride. I'm back to work afterwards until it's time to start making dinner around 5:00, which my wife and I will alternate throughout the week. After doing the dishes and getting the kids to bed I'll spend a few more hours finishing up my day, typically until around 9:00.
My weekends follow the same general time schedule. Saturday I try and reserve for getting things done around the house. I'll use a few hours on Sunday to catch up on anything I may be behind on, or get a jump start on my new week.
There was a time that I occupied an entire room with a large IKEA desk crowded with monitors, a printer, stacks of papers and trinkets. I slowly realized most of this was just noise (literally) and unnecessary.
Now I have a dedicated work area in the bedroom that's rather minimal with a small writing desk and a chair.
I do most of my work here during the day, but I can also easily unplug my laptop and migrate to somewhere else in the house for a change of scenery without any hassle.
I've also been known to work in exotic locations like the food court at Target while my wife is shopping :)
My 13" Macbook Pro is my workhorse. I like the size as it's small enough to remain portable and still have enough juice to run my multitasking universe.
My iPhone keeps me connected while I'm on the go—I'm constantly tethering my laptop to it while mobile. My 100 Mbs connection keeps me wired at home.
I keep a lot of notes in different locations for different reasons. I use Apple's Notes app for keeping them long term - basically my archive. For short term notes - those I'll collect on a conference call or working on a specific task, I'll keep them in a Text Wrangler document. I usually have quite a few of these open at once.
I use a Trello board for each major project. This makes it easy to share out tasks that require input from other IT or marketing team members, and also allows them to see how I'm progressing through development.
I use Todoist for managing the individual tasks for each portion of a project. Checking off each individual item gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to complete the next on the list.
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The best part of working remotely is the flexibility in my schedule and the amount of time it allows me to spend with my family.
I can start my day earlier or later, or make an appointment during the day for the kids if need be. I can eat nearly every meal with them, help my wife out if she needs something, and not have to worry about after school child care.
It's difficult when your home is also your office, so I've always struggled with drawing the line between work time and home time.
I feel as though I've improved over the years, although the challenge increases if I'm approaching a deadline on a project.
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Harry is a senior level mobile, web and desktop developer leveraging nearly two decades of experience across a variety of industries including executive search, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, engineering, entertainment and parenting. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Mark thinks that avoiding distractions and sticking to regular hours are perhaps the hardest parts of being a freelancer - learn his secrets to achieving a good work flow.
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