I take an extremely methodical approach to most things I do in life and my daily routine is no exception.
My usual morning starts at 5am. While I don't often drift from this wake-up time, I do give myself a pass if the night before was a late one or if I woke up many times during night.
I've learnt that sleep is an asset you can never "catch up on", and I consider it extremely important in setting up the day for success - whatever success ends up being that day.
After waking up, I spend 20 minutes meditating. This hasn't always been the case but I've found it remarkably efficient at forcing you to slow down and see things as they are and not what you perceive them to be in the moment. Depending on the work and challenges I've got going, I write some morning pages to get my monkey mind trapped in ink. This has been super effective for working through a range issues and it's so simple!
Once I've got myself in the right headspace for the day, I will have some breakfast and duck out to my favourite coffee shop.
Depending on my mood, I will either spend an hour or so working on some open source project or reading. I've found it quite beneficial to switch this up as I don't consistently feel like either but do enjoy both.
The actual work day does tend to start a bit earlier than others at HQ despite being in the same timezone. Thanks to our asynchronous communication style, this means mornings are generally periods of long, uninterrupted work for me.
This does vary if I'm on call or working with teams in other time zones, where the morning is our only overlap.
I'll work until I feel hungry, which generally happens at 11 or 11:30 - I'll then make sure I get outside and grab a bite to eat. If I've made myself some lunch at home, I'll go out to enjoy it either in our yard or at one of the great local viewpoints. Sometimes I'll even get a sneaky skate in before returning to work.
Sometime between 4 and 5, I'll hit that mental wall and will call it a day. I'm very wary of working a lot of hours.
When I first went remote, my wife was an awesome alarm clock to remind me to get out and finish up the day. These days, I don't need the poking, since I am far more in tune with when I need to take a break.
Jacob is a Site Reliability Engineer who believes in asynchronous communication and bullet journaling - learn how he maximizes his daily "deep work" time.
Read full interview from Interview with Jacob, a site reliability engineer.
It took me a long time to establish my current routine.
The hours of my first remote job were very erratic and rarely included working periods inside the traditional 9-to-5 mold.
My bad habits were further reinforced by a coworker who would work the same erratic, late-night hours. Over the course of three years, I had completely forgotten the concept of a routine.
When I began my current remote job, the prospect of having to wake up consistently at 8 am again terrified me. I quickly realized that I would need to establish a lot of habits to get myself into a decent routine.
The first habit I began was doing some activity immediately after waking like exercising, cooking, or even mowing the lawn.
I found starting my day with a small accomplishment goes a long way in making it a productive day.
Moreover, I am very deliberate about taking time to make and eat lunch - which has the side effect of learning new recipes. A couple times a week, I'll plan social activities with friends or family around 6 pm, thus clearly demarcating the end of a work day.
When working from home, it becomes all too easy for me to blur working hours into evening hours.
For Mark, avoiding distractions and sticking to regular hours are perhaps the hardest parts of being a freelancer - learn his secrets to achieving a good workflow.
Read full interview from Interview with Mark, a programmer building bespoke business applications.
Well thanks to the beauty of freelancing I set my own hours and since I've been a night owl for as long as I can remember, I wake up at around mid day, work till 6-8pm depending on workload for the day. Then I decompress by playing some games or watching TV and then I go to sleep and rinse and repeat!
There's flexibility around your routine, that's the magic of freelancing, but the three non-negotiable factors are sleep well, eat well and exercise.
This last one has proven invaluable to me as I've been able to come up with new ideas for things I'm working on or solving existing problems while working out and I get to stay healthy!
John works remotely while using the latest web development technologies, learn how he works by reading his interview.
Read full interview from Interview with John, a full-stack web developer who works remotely.
I tend to get up fairly early, read through my emails to figure out what I'm going to do in the day and then head off to the gym. When I come back I'm energised and ready to get properly started at work. I tend to eat at my desk (not ideal) but I love that this gives me most of the day to focus on my work. Most of my coworkers are not awake until my afternoon or even early evening so I don't have any meetings until then.
Mike got started with remote work after getting an offer from his dream organisation. Learn how he works remotely while working on open source projects and publishing books.
Read full interview from Interview with Mike, a software engineer who works remotely at GitHub.
I personally believe a good morning routine is essential to be productive. I have a rule before I start my day that I go for a decent walk with my dog and like to read something positive or inspirational before I open any emails, communication, or social media accounts.
When I begin work, the first thing I do is go through the essential tasks for my current customers - Which includes updating customers with the progress of projects.
I have a strong belief in scheduling emails or tasks to hit clients at the times that I know they are in their office (not at 3 am). It helps keep work on track and also put it on a higher priority list for clients when the timing is right.
I also time block, so I can focus on different projects and avoid distraction. This is very important as I work in different sectors where the work can take a different mindset to be at my most productive.
Also, it is important that you have a clear understanding of when you are available and unavailable. I usually take lunch early as I start work early.
Most days, I go for another walk late in the afternoon then do a little more work until about 7 pm. A good routine is very important for any of us to be at our most productive.
Rosemary, a digital content marketing manager shares the freelance lessons she has learned over the years—see her tips & exceptional entrepreneurial wisdom.
Read full interview from Interview with Rosemary, a digital content marketing manager reveals must-see freelance tips.
My day starts off with a team sync via a Slack standup. I use Station to manage my workflow so I have all apps (Slack, Jira, Zeplin, Google Apps, etc) all located in one application. So I simply go through all of the unread messages, sync up my code, and tackle the next item.
It's very streamlined, so my ramp up time each morning takes less than 5 minutes and I'm back at software development.
Learn how Adam started working remotely from a cold-email on Hacker News, to how he's using a local co-working space to grow his business.
Read full interview from Interview with Adam, a UX engineer building his own consulting company.
I like to be very methodical in anything I do and as I am deeply passionate about optimizing things. I try to always be aware of how I spend my time.
As far as optimizations go, I try to optimize my happiness first and foremost, which includes looking after my body with exercise, following a mostly whole foods pescetarian diet and fostering great relationships.
I also am very focused on cultivating good habits, one of these habits is waking up and going to sleep at approximately the same time. Waking up in the morning, not using the phone in bed, exercising for 1 hour every morning either by running, playing tennis or going to the gym.
I also am working towards a habit of eating two salads every day and tracking all the food I eat. I greatly automate all parts of that so tracking the food I eat takes seconds as I have a big collection of recipes I choose from saved in Paprika that I later transfer to MyFitnessPal once I eat the meal.
I also work on one task at a time and track all the time on my computer and with iOS 12 on phone too. I then analyze this data and make adjustments to my routine and life based on it and use tools like Focus to block out any apps or websites that I find myself spending too much time on.
I also have a unique workflow where I have Focus app activating automatically for 90 minutes every two hours. I can only work on the things I need to work on during this time. At the end of it, I track the time in Timing and can take a small break. Make some tea, exercise or quickly look at any news or messages waiting for me.
Nikita is an entrepreneur working on his startup while optimizing his productivity—learn how he organizes his life and work to maximize happiness
Read full interview from Interview with Nikita, an entrepreneur building a website to learn anything.
I’m married and have two grade-school kids, so my routine is largely aligned to the school schedule.
My wife and I wake up daily at 5 a.m. and use that time to bake (she owns a bakery, Emoticakes) and write (I love to write in the pre-dawn hours downstairs on an iPad Pro).
When the kids wake up at 6, we shift into getting breakfast and getting ready for school. The house is empty at 7:30, so that’s when my work day begins. I take breaks for fitness or to relocate to a coffee shop to work sometimes, but most of the day I’m in my dedicated home office with our family’s pet rabbit, Snowball.
Everyone gets home sometime between 3 and 5, and we invariably have evening activities to juggle. I’m done working around 5, then, since we typically have dinner shortly thereafter.
The weekends are free of work for me, though we continue to wake up early and still have that same morning routine. It’s so hard to sleep in now that we have such a strongly-ingrained weekday routine!
Scott is a designer and developer that's been working remotely since 1998, read his interview to learn how he's been successful
Read full interview from Interview with Scott about working remotely for 20 years.
I typically work Monday through Friday and the work hours are flexible. At GitLab, we work asynchronously so you can design your workday to fit your schedule.
I like to take several walks with our dogs throughout the day to get out of the RV and remind myself of my blessings and to enjoy the view!
Sarah is a digital marketing manager who travels the United States with her partner and two dogs while working remotely in her RV.
Read full interview from Interview with Sarah about working remotely from an RV.
I do have to mention that even though being a freelancer has a lot of advantages, in order to have a healthy work routine, there is need for a strong work ethic and a balanced timetable.
I often tend to work until very late and get stuck in a chaotic timetable (maybe also because I’m doing a creative job).
Alexandra is a freelance fashion designer who works remotely while traveling and building her own brand.
Read full interview from Interview with Alexandra, a freelance fashion designer building her own brand.
Keep your remote working skills sharp—get notified when we post the next remote work interview! RemoteHabits will help you achieve your remote work goals!