You know, for a long time I had always assumed I would spend the majority of my life behind a desk in Dublin. I had more or less come to terms with the idea that in order to do great work, you needed to be present in a office on a daily basis.
Now, to some degree this idea holds water. You really do need to spend at least some of your working life in a office because it teaches you to understand how companies work and how to play ball with others. You cannot believe the amount of lessons about people you are able to soak up watching an office dynamic play out. You see power plays, grudges, struggle, forgiveness, petty arguments, rock stars rise, hero's turn villain's and so much more.
However, once you've mastered the skill of communication(pro tip: empathy empathy empathy) you're able to change the game slightly as a software developer. For the purpose of this article, I'll be pulling from my own experience as a software developer so I can't comment on other professions.
Small warning: to tackle remote working successfully you really need to get comfortable with an aggressive approach to your work. You will always need to be on the offensive, there is 0 room for sitting back and relaxing because this will lead to entropy in your work ethic, which is the core foundation for remote work.
Warnings out of the way, lets cover some of the basic rules of working remotely which will not only set you up to crush your working life but also enable you to live a far more fulfilling life than you would in an office.
- Default Aggressive
- Set the damn schedule
- Fuck an established space
- Make time
- Get a fucking life
While I understand everyone has their own ideals on how to make this shit work, these are my core rules for being successful when it comes to working remotely on a daily basis, lets go through them one at a time.
You're not in a office, People dont see you, fuck some of your team might not even know you exist.
This is a pretty easy trap to fall into: "Wow this is awesome, its a quiet day". Do not fall into this trap.
If you're working off site, the burden falls to you to keep in touch, stay on top of deadlines aggressively, create deadlines, communicate the balls off your status and generally turn into a absolute pain in the ass on slack.
While this would generally be counter productive since your work colleges would hate your fucking guts after a few weeks, when your remote this helps in two ways:
- It creates accountability and demonstrates it. People like those that say what they're going to do, and then fucking deliver.
- It reminds everyone else who is in an office that yes, you are in fact working your ass off.
If working hard isn't your thing, don't work remotely. We're just not there yet.
Set the damn schedule
Pretty self evident. Make a daily TODO list. I suggest using the bullet journal method
2810MON * Create customer feedback page * Publish App Beta To testflight ! Attend Standup - 10AM
And for the love of fucking god, keep it to three items or less. More and you'll never get it done.
Fuck an established workspace
Work in your apartment. Work on your bed. Work in Mcdonalds. Work in a coffee shop. Work anywhere you fucking like. The trick here is that you're actually working.
Having a laptop means you can work from any place with signal. Take advantage of this and use it as fuel to always be ready to work.
A lot of people will disagree with me on this, saying an established work space is very important to create a mental separation. I say those people can get fucked. If you need a set space to work, you're clearly not working hard enough. The best developers I ever met would work in any given space they could find, including the side of street in the pouring rain under their coat during a major production release(true story).
Just open the fucking laptop.
I don't really give a shit when you start or stop work. Let the tasks decide how much time to give it and have a cut off period.
Again the important part is to actually open the laptop to begin with.
Get a fucking life
You dont go to a office 9-5, 5 days a week anymore. That part of your social life is gone now, and it leaves a pretty massive fucking void once its gone.
The beauty of this however is it forces you to create a social life outside your work, which in my own opinion is far more fulfilling.
When you don't have the day to day of seeing people within a work setting, you've two choices left;
- Build up current relationships
- Create new relationships
Pro tip: 2 is much harder but a great way to experience life. People are fucking strange but also kinda amazing, get out and experience it.
I set aside 4 evenings a week to be social. These social events can be anything at all, just as long as there are other people involved, and honestly? The more out there the event is, the better.
Ever been to a rave? No? Go. Ever been to a cooking class? No? Go. Ever been to a stand up comedy event? No? Go.
The added benefit of this style of living is that despite you loosing a massive social outlet, you gian the opportunity to create a much bigger one!
Working remotely is a fairly new concept, and there are no real established best practices yet so you'll have to play with your own form here and figure out what works for your life. Chances are if you're reading this, I don't know who you are or what you're about so I can't recommend a silver bullet.
What I can say is the above rule set have helped me create something of a small miracle in my own life for which I am very thankful.