Liz Shinn
UX/UI Designer
July 22, 2019

Interview with Liz, a UI/UX designer and cowork advocate

Liz is a traveling UI/UX designer—see her strategy for thriving as a digital nomad and her efforts to promote coworking.

How did you get started with remote work?

It was a bit of a happy accident! I started to work at a company where my team met a few times of the week outside of the office to cowork in cafes.

We would grab lunch all together as a team, and it created such a relaxed and collaborative environment. I had never worked remotely before, and I loved the balance it struck between office life and remote life.

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What are you working on?

I’m currently employed as a full-time UX/UI designer for Elemica, a supply chain management company. Right now, I’m most passionate about continuing to build out a coworking platform for women who work remotely.

It’s called Ladies Work Remote, and we meet up on a weekly basis to cowork in local coffee shops.

My mission is to make sure that remote working women have a place to meet with like-minded professionals in their city.

One of the drawbacks of remote life is that you are often isolated from coworkers, especially when you move to a new city. We currently have two chapters in Atlanta and in DC, and we are looking to expand!

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What's your typical work routine?

Lately, I’ve been traveling all over the world and crossing several time zones (another benefit of working remote – travel flexibility!).

It’s important to have an established work routine when everything else is constantly changing.

I typically work from a cafe for a few hours out of the day and then take any calls or meetings I have back at my accommodation where I know the internet will be stable and it will be quiet enough.

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Do you have a dedicated space to work?

I like having a home base at my apartment in Atlanta, but I crave variety in my work environment. For this reason, I'm always seeking new and interesting places to post up with my laptop for a couple of hours.

I'm currently a member at a wonderful coworking space in Bali called Dojo for the next month. Coworking spaces provide the stability of a dedicated space to work, attend talks, and meet fellow remote workers.

I'm traveling with Wifi Tribe – a coliving travel company catering to digital nomads – and I will often meet up with fellow WiFi Tribers in cafes.

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How do you stay on task?

At the beginning of the workday, I'll take an old-fashioned pen and paper to write out a high-level to-do list. It's such a satisfying feeling to check off tasks in those little checkboxes as you go through your day.

I have a small ritual with my headphones as well that's developed over time. As soon as I put on my noise-canceling headphones, I've trained myself that I have now entered productivity mode.

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What do you like about remote work?

I’ve dreamed of traveling for longer periods and for further distances for a long time. Working from an office with limited PTO days made that difficult.

When I realized that I could both keep my job and see the world, I was sold on the concept of remote work.

From a more local mindset, I started to really get to know my home town (Atlanta) as soon as I started working from home. I’ve discovered new niches of the city in search of the best coffee spots.

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What do you not like about remote work?

My chief complaint is that it is isolating. Some may prefer the quietude or the lack of coworker chatter, but I felt the absence of the bustle of other people the most when I moved to a new city.

Professional contacts are also important for transitioning job roles and making strides in your career. The reason I started Ladies Work Remote was to create that professional network that you don’t get when you work from your house.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

I have several Trello boards going at one time, and I use Asana to keep track of my freelance work projects. I’m also an avid user of team chat software Slack and Flowdock. They are both integral to being able to communicate effectively with a fully remote team.

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Do you have any advice for remote workers?

Make sure to not work in your bedroom, or the space that you typically relax. Creating a ritual for yourself to enter into a work mindset can also be helpful – for example, take off those pajamas since it's 2 PM!

Maintaining a separation between parts of your home that are dedicated for "work" will help to keep you from feeling like you're constantly working.

Read 36 answers from other remote workers


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Biography

Liz Shinn

Liz is a UX/UI designer who focuses on creating community as well as crafting delightful user experiences. She is from Atlanta, but is currently traveling the world on a regular basis thanks to a job that only requires an internet connection.

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