I start my day by checking Todoist to see what the day’s tasks are. Then I check email to see if anything urgent has come in overnight that needs to be added to the day (which is rare).
I try to get smaller tasks done first. I know that’s considered unwise, and you should finish the most important tasks first, but if I leave a bunch of tasks incomplete, I’ll start stressing about getting them done that day.
I’m usually done with breakfast, the gym, and these smaller tasks by 11-11:30 a.m., and then I work on the bigger tasks — research, writing, editing, creating strategy… the things that are not admin related and require deep work. I take a half-hour lunch break when I get hungry, and then I work until 6:30-7 p.m. when I call it a day.
This is a typical day, but the beauty of working remotely is that it isn’t set in stone. If deadlines allow, I can meet a friend for lunch or coffee, go to the gym later in the day if I woke up late. I love the flexibility of it.
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I usually start work in the morning, when I check my tasks for the day. Depending on the urgency, I divide the tasks into two – work on the first ones, take a break, and come back later to finish the rest. I work in two sprints, but not always.
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Social distancing routine: I typically wake up around 8 am, have breakfast and coffee, read for 15 minutes, then play some morning catch-up.
Since most of my team is based in England or Romania, they're wrapping up their workdays as mine is just beginning. That means my mornings are typically filled with two to three meetings or brief catch-up calls.
Around noon, I'll have lunch with my wife, watch a show (or do something besides work), and get back to work in the early afternoon. I'll sprinkle in breaks throughout the afternoon and typically finish my day around 6:30 or 7 pm.
Normal routine: Wake up around the same time, head to Brave Haus, work there until about 3 pm, head home, and work another hour or two until dinner.
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I check in with the team in the morning, make coffee, and then get on with my projects!
I make sure to take a real lunch break (luckily, France is good for that) to recharge and avoid the afternoon crash.
I also like to take a walk in the evening, because too much time in front of the computer can take a toll on the body. Not having a commute means I can get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, which makes a big difference in terms of productivity and mood.
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I’m an early(ish) riser. I have two 2-year-old kids. They wake up at 6 am sharp. So I stop using alarms. Generally, a short time spent with them follows with dropping them off to daycare then I sit on my desk between 8-8:30 am.
That gives me roughly half an hour before my team stand-up (half of our team is in Europe). We don’t do stand-ups on Fridays, so Fridays are generally very quiet on our communication channels.
I personally work longer hours on Mon-Thu and try to keep Friday as my “thinking” day, where I try to stay away from attending to work-related stuff. I experiment and play with things a lot on Fridays.
As a team, we try to keep Mondays for a planning and week kick-off day, so there are generally few meetings between team members to discuss stuff for the week.
We have a rule not to have any team-wide meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We call it “quiet” days. People can completely disappear the whole day after stand-up if they want.
Most people are offline these days, and the expected reply time is about 1-2 hours.
Thursdays are generally our big day, where we close a week cycle sprint and plan the next one. So we have sub-team based meetings (separate engineer and design team recap and have meetings to plan the next sprint).
This allows Fridays to be more standalone (everybody can personally digest what’s coming in that sprint and do research, and experimental work). By Monday morning, everybody knows the plan, and we generally have a light kick-off meeting repeating what’s planned for that sprint.
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The truth is, it varies. When I'm at home, it always starts with fresh coffee and responding to the most urgent emails. I find I get started almost as soon as I wake up, and then I get around to showering and getting dressed at around 10.30, and then continuing with work.
If I'm going to be at home all day and can afford a bit of distraction, then I'll go for a walk or a swim on Hampstead Heath at lunchtime, or go to a cafe for lunch and to work for a couple of hours.
There's a dog pond on Hampstead Heath close to where I live, so sometimes I go there to dog stalk.
It's amazing what a cuddle with a furry friend can do for your day!
Otherwise, I go stir crazy and bounce off the walls (one of the most prevalent challenges for remote / home workers). If I'm traveling and in a different time zone, then it does depend more on my clients' needs. I NEVER have the TV on when I work, but I often listen to music or a podcast.
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The beauty of my work life is that almost no two days look the same. I also live a minimalist life, so first, let me tell you how I have simplified my life:
The simplicity I have created in my life allows me to spend most of my time creating rather than consuming.
I wake up at 6:30-7:00, boil some water, and some eggs. While the eggs are getting ready, I take a shower and put on my clothes. Once I’m done, the water for coffee is ready, and I have my breakfast. I then either have a 30-minute yoga session (with an online teacher) or sit quietly and read.
Then I get up, clean the dishes, and while I’m doing that, I also prepare breakfast for my family. Then I set the breakfast table and leave home. I find my café or hotel of the day and start working.
Usually, my day consists of a variety of tasks. If I’m working with a corporation as a consultant on that day, my 9 to 5 is dedicated to supporting them and them only. If it’s a day off from corporate consulting, I could be writing, editing videos, managing the work at Remote Forever, writing emails, answering queries, or even creating new content.
I take a break for lunch and go for a walk. I sometimes watch a TV series while I eat or just browse social media.
After my 9-5 with a client is over (or my otherwise workday is finished), I spend about an hour wrapping up my day and preparing for the following day. I then choose to either work out at a gym or go for a long walk. Sometimes this is 45 minutes, and sometimes it can be up to 2 hours.
When I’m back at home, I simply warm up dinner (I cook once a week on Sundays and prepare all the meals for the week so I do not need to think or wonder what to eat every day.) and catch up with my family or friends.
I often have long chats or even video calls with my siblings, parents, other relatives, or close friends who all live in different parts of the world. That is how I stay close and connected with people I care about. I then wind down with some reading in bed.
Of course, this is the normal daily routine. Sometimes as I know many entrepreneurs reading this can relate to, there is work that pops up out of the blue and has a short deadline, which means I would need to work longer hours to make the deadline. This, however, has become less and less after I hired a Virtual Assistant (VA).
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Funnily enough, I wake up around the same time as I would for a day commuting into the office. I normally walk my dog on WFH days in the morning and then get to work.
I always check my emails and Slack first to see if anything important came up, then I check Asana to see what deadlines I have that day. Throughout the day, I check Slack to ensure I haven’t missed anything.
I check Slack more frequently when I’m WFH than when I’m in the office. When I work in the office, people can come to my desk if they have an important question. Slack, in a way, is my office when I’m WFH. So I make an effort to be more active when I’m remote.
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