Table of Contents
- Minimize Distractions
- Form Habits
- Invite People to Work with You
- Time-Block and Hyper-Schedule
- Manage Your Time
- Use Deep Work Sessions
- Act Like You’re Not Actually Remote
- Listen to Background Music
- Create a Distraction-Free Sanctuary
- Work When You Are More Productive
- Take Breaks
- Leave Room for Flexibility
- Establish a Designated Workspace
- Foster Virtual Social Connections
- Manage Time
- Follow a Structured Routine
- Use a Dedicated Workspace
- Care for Yourself
- Use a Chat App
- Write To-Do Lists
As the world continues to evolve, working remotely has become the new normal for countless professionals across the globe, and this shift has undeniably impacted the marketing industry. Many marketers are now challenged with finding ways to maintain productivity and stay connected with their teams in a digital workspace. But with the right strategies, remote work can be manageable and highly efficient.
In this article, we’ve gathered insights from 21 seasoned marketers who have successfully navigated the challenges of remote work. They share their valuable advice and battle-tested strategies for working more productively from home or wherever your remote office may be.
PR Specialist, SocialBee
A major part of minimizing distractions involves creating a dedicated workspace that is free from non-work-related items or activities. This could be a specific room in your home or, if space is limited, a designated spot in a quiet area.
However, minimizing distractions extends beyond the physical realm. In the digital world, notifications from social media, emails, or news updates can lead to frequent breaks in concentration. To manage this, consider setting specific times to check emails or social media and use tools that block or limit notifications during work hours. Similarly, it’s vital to communicate your availability to colleagues, clients, or family members, establishing boundaries to prevent constant interruptions.
Additionally, distractions can come in the form of multitasking. While it may seem like doing several tasks simultaneously increases productivity, research suggests that it decreases efficiency and accuracy. Instead, focusing on a single task at a time can lead to better quality work and increased productivity.
Founder and CEO, Animas Marketing
Establishing healthy, consistent habits is an efficient way to streamline your workflow and enhance productivity when working remotely. As humans, we are naturally creatures of habit. When a behavior becomes habitual, we require less mental effort to complete the task, allowing us to focus more on the content of our work.
Forming effective work habits starts with defining your most important tasks (MITs) each day. By consistently focusing on your MITs first thing in your workday, you ensure high-priority tasks are not neglected. Over time, this becomes a habit, helping you improve productivity and reduce procrastination.
One of the most beneficial habits to form is maintaining a regular schedule. This may include your wake-up time, coffee time, work hours, breaks, and leisure time. This helps segregate professional and personal life, a distinction that often blurs in a remote setting. A regular schedule also allows for predictable periods of focused work and rest, aiding in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Healthy habits aren’t just about work, though. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep significantly influence your cognitive functions and overall well-being, impacting your productivity. Furthermore, taking short breaks, practicing mindfulness, or simply stepping outside for fresh air can refresh your mind, promoting creativity and concentration.
Remember that forming habits takes time. It’s about consistency, not perfection. Start small, be patient with yourself, and gradually build up your routine. Once established, these habits can form a strong foundation, helping you stay focused and productive, irrespective of where you work.
Invite People to Work with You
Marketing Executive, MarketingPlatform
Working remotely has become the norm for me at MarketingPlatform, offering freedom and flexibility. However, staying focused and productive has been a struggle. While some colleagues thrive in this setting, I’ve found it challenging. Here are two tips that have worked for me:
Firstly, planning my day with set start and finish times has been crucial. Initially, I couldn’t distinguish between work and personal activities, leading to burnout. Creating strict boundaries and using a calendar for balance have been helpful.
Secondly, having company while working has made a difference. Whether it’s inviting friends who also work remotely or my recently remote-employed wife, their presence keeps me focused and accountable. Additionally, breaks become more enjoyable.
By implementing these strategies, my focus and productivity have improved while working remotely. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different, so it’s essential to find what works best for you.
Time-Block and Hyper-Schedule
CEO, One Nine Design
Having worked remotely for more than six years, implementing time-blocking and hyper-scheduling has significantly improved my productivity and focus. By allocating specific time slots for different projects, I can manage my time and maximize my output more effectively.
Time blocking has been particularly useful in establishing a clear structure and routine for my workday. I set aside dedicated periods for focused work, meetings, breaks, and personal tasks.
This approach helps me reduce distractions and increase efficiency, as I can fully dedicate myself to each activity without getting overwhelmed.
Additionally, I have taken my scheduling to the next level by practicing hyper-scheduling. This approach involves assigning specific tasks to precise time intervals, leaving no room for procrastination or wasted time.
If you want to work remotely and be successful at it, it is key to be organized and understand that you’re your own work inspector.
I recommend timeboxing, a simple technique that can help you get things done even when working remotely. You simply attack your tasks one by one and prioritized, but instead of going at them blindly, you dedicate a slice of time to each task.
This works at making you more efficient because psychologically you feel relieved.
First, you already know the endpoint, so it’s easy to take action in the moment, knowing the end is near.
Second, there’s a sense of adventure in time-capped work. How much can you get done in the allotted time frame?
This also gives meaning to work and helps you work better in a remote setting and in general.
I recommend timeboxing to everyone who struggles with low work motivation.
Manage Your Time
CEO & Founder, Attrock
Remote work calls for better time management. You’ve more flexibility, which is a boon, but could soon turn into a bane if you don’t manage your day well.
The key is to start using time-tracking software to ensure you’re sticking to your deadlines. I regularly use it to understand if I’m wrapping up my day without eating into my personal time. This prevents burnout and keeps my productivity levels high.
I also recommend using the Pomodoro timer—it ensures that I work only for fixed durations and take ample breaks that keep my mind fresh. Finally, remote work can get lonely, so I recommend connecting with colleagues for virtual watercooler sessions to freshen up.
Using a combination of all three is a great way to get a productivity boost.
Use Deep Work Sessions
Outreach Manager, Hunter.io
Schedule deep work sessions in your calendar. Focus on only a few tasks in a day. Focusing on 2 – 3 tasks is optimal for my productivity. How this works. Break down a more significant task into smaller chunks that will lead you to complete the big task.
In deep work sessions, I like to listen to brain.fm, turn off all the notifications, reduce opened tabs, and most importantly, keep my phone away from the office. Have a couple of deep work sessions daily and you’ll be amazed how much you can achieve.
Act Like You're Not Actually Remote
Owner, Brooks Manley Marketing
My biggest piece of advice is to act like you’re not actually working remotely. Sure, you should still take advantage of the benefits, but give yourself some ground rules and guardrails to ensure you stay productive without the built-in accountability of being in an office.
Set working hours for yourself, limit your breaks to pitter-patter around the house, block distracting websites, and keep your phone away from your workspace. If you find yourself struggling, ask for accountability from a coworker or friend.
If you work from your house, be sure to get outside once or twice for a walk – it can be really easy to not leave your computer for a whole day. Getting outside will help with morale and overall health.
Listen to Background Music
Working remotely can be a challenge since it relies heavily on self-motivation, discipline, and dedication to stay productive and engaged. I encourage my staff to set a work schedule and stick to it.
Creating specific time periods for checking emails and working on tasks, and also for taking breaks helps stay focused. Or even just simply finding the triggers, like a specific song, can also help maintain a productive focus when you work from home.
I often suggest my team create a playlist for themself that they can listen to , and that they know motivates them and helps them focus during those working hours. For some, this might be an hours-long classical music collection, for others it’s the late 60’s hits.
There are plenty of studies out there that prove that music enhances our mood and sets a specific pace inside the workplace – wherever that might be- that works to regulate mental performance and enhance work performance.
Create a Distraction-Free Sanctuary
Chief of Content, andcards
In the ever-evolving landscape of remote work, unlocking true productivity requires a holistic approach. Start by curating a distraction-free sanctuary, personalized with greenery and ambient music to foster focus. Embrace the power of deep work by scheduling blocks of uninterrupted time, leveraging tools like the Pomodoro Technique.
Foster camaraderie and collaboration through virtual watercooler chats, encouraging spontaneous idea exchange. Prioritize self-care with regular breaks, exercise, and mindfulness practices to recharge your mental faculties.
Finally, tap into the potential of automation and AI-powered tools to streamline repetitive tasks, freeing up valuable time for high-impact work. By embracing these strategies, you’ll unlock a new level of productivity and thrive in the remote work revolution.
Work When You Are More Productive
I have been working remotely for more than six years, and from my experience, I can say that to be more productive, it is essential to organize your work to objectives and have a complete vision of the project you are working on.
Working by following a single task slows down productivity extensively. Also, having the freedom of working hours is another crucial point for productivity; some people produce much more in the evening, while others are more productive in the morning.
So, organize your work to goals and work when you have maximum energy to devote to your work.
Community Manager, My Perfect Resume
One of the most considerable difficulties of working remotely is maintaining high productivity and focus levels during the whole workday.
Staying entirely concentrated, however, requires frequent breaks. When we work from the office, we take many of them without realizing it. A chat with a colleague, a quick coffee trip to the kitchen, a lunch break–all these situations let our brains rest.
Many people get so absorbed in their tasks that they find it challenging to interrupt their workflow. As a result, they forget to disconnect. If that’s your case, set the alarm or use a popular Pomodoro technique. Whatever works best for you.
So make sure to incorporate pauses into your daily routine. Stretch, scroll social media, or even stare outside the window. You would be surprised how even five minutes-long intervals will sharpen your thinking.
Have Clarity of Goals but Have a Room for Flexibility
Chief Marketing Officer, MySingaporeDriver
Having clarity of goals but having room for flexibility revolves around setting clear objectives and allowing some space for adjustment. Understanding this concept and balancing these seemingly contradictory ideas can significantly enhance productivity and job satisfaction in a remote setting.
Firstly, having clarity of goals is fundamental. Goals provide direction and purpose, leading you to use your time and resources effectively. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to achieve clarity. They should give you a clear picture of what success looks like and the steps needed to get there. Using project management tools or simple to-do lists can be beneficial in laying out your tasks and tracking your progress.
At the same time, the dynamic nature of work, especially in a remote setting, necessitates room for flexibility. Despite the most meticulous planning, unexpected situations or new priorities may arise. It’s essential to understand that being adaptable does not mean straying away from your goals but adjusting your approach to meet them. It could mean reallocating resources, changing timelines, or revising the goals if the situation demands it.
Additionally, flexibility is about responding to unexpected changes and harnessing opportunities that may unexpectedly crop up. Being rigid with your plans can sometimes cause you to miss out on these advantages.
In essence, while the clarity of goals provides you with a roadmap to productivity, having flexibility allows you to navigate the often unpredictable journey of remote work. Maintaining this balance will enable you to manage your workload better, meet your targets, and respond effectively to unexpected situations or opportunities.
Establish a Designated Workspace
Marketing Manager, Apiko
To boost productivity in a remote setting, it is crucial to establish a designated workspace. Creating a dedicated area in your home solely for work can have a significant impact on your focus and efficiency.
This designated workspace helps to separate your personal life from your professional responsibilities, allowing you to mentally transition into work mode and minimize distractions.
Choose a quiet and well-lit area where you can set up a comfortable desk and ergonomic chair. Organize your work materials and supplies within arm’s reach to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
By having a specific space dedicated to work, you can create a psychological boundary that helps maintain a productive mindset.
Additionally, this workspace signals to others in your household that you are engaged in work, reducing interruptions and distractions. Overall, establishing a designated workspace promotes a structured work environment, improves concentration, and ultimately enhances productivity in a remote setting.
Foster Virtual Social Connections
Fostering virtual social connections in a remote setting is vital for efficient work. It promotes collaboration and teamwork, enhancing communication within the team. Social connections boost motivation and engagement, preventing feelings of isolation and disengagement.
They enable knowledge sharing and learning among team members, leading to innovation. Social connections support mental well-being and resilience, combating stress and burnout.
They stimulate creativity and idea generation, sparking innovative thinking. Overall, virtual social connections create a supportive and engaging work environment, increasing efficiency and productivity in remote teams.
To increase productivity through remote work, it’s crucial to prioritize effective time management. Encourage employees to establish a consistent daily routine, setting dedicated work hours and minimizing distractions.
Encourage the use of productivity tools and techniques such as time-tracking apps, task management systems, and the Pomodoro Technique to enhance focus and efficiency. Promote regular breaks and encourage employees to engage in physical activity or mindfulness exercises to refresh their minds.
Additionally, fostering a positive work environment is vital. Encourage open communication, provide opportunities for virtual social interactions, and recognize and reward achievements to maintain motivation and engagement.
Finally, regularly evaluate and optimize remote work processes to identify areas for improvement and ensure ongoing productivity growth.
Follow a Structured Routine
A routine helps establish a clear start and end to the workday, signaling the brain to shift into work mode. It sets expectations and creates a dedicated time and space for focused work, minimizing distractions and increasing productivity.
When team members have predictable work schedules, it becomes easier to schedule meetings, sync up on projects, and collaborate effectively. A routine allows for better coordination and ensures everyone is available and aligned during designated work hours.
A structured routine allows individuals to plan their day effectively. They can allocate time for important tasks, prioritize activities, and ensure deadlines are met. It helps avoid procrastination and promotes a sense of accomplishment by completing tasks in a timely manner.
Use a Dedicated Workspace
Founder & Marketing Strategist, TheWPX
Good lighting significantly impacts your mood, energy levels, eye health, and overall productivity. The best lighting setup for your remote workspace should include a combination of natural, ambient, and task lighting, balanced appropriately for your comfort and productivity.
Natural light can boost your mood, increase alertness, and even improve your sleep. Place your workspace near a window to maximize exposure to natural light. Remember to position your computer in such a way that the sunlight doesn’t create a glare on your screen, as this can lead to eyestrain.
Ambient light providing general illumination. It should be soft and diffused, filling the room evenly to avoid creating shadows or contrast, which can strain the eyes. Dimmers are a great way to adjust the level of ambient light according to your preference or the time of day. Ceiling-mounted fixtures, wall sconces, or floor lamps with shades are great sources of ambient light.
Task Light: Task lighting is concentrated light that helps you perform specific tasks like reading, writing, or typing, with less strain to your eyes. An adjustable desk lamp with LED lights is a great task lighting solution. It allows you to direct light exactly where you need it, such as your keyboard or a document you’re reading. Opt for a lamp with adjustable brightness and color temperature so you can customize it to your needs.
Care for Yourself
Founder, Back To Front Show
Remote work can blur the lines between work and personal life, making it crucial to prioritize self-care. Encourage employees to take breaks, engage in physical activity, practice mindfulness, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Encourage them to disconnect from work after hours and to establish boundaries to prevent burnout. By prioritizing well-being, employees can recharge their energy, maintain focus, and bring their best selves to their remote work, ultimately leading to increased productivity and overall satisfaction.
Use a Chat App
In a remote setting, the most important thing that an organization should foster is clear communication channels. It helps in facilitating quick and efficient information sharing.
Instead of having to write long lengthy email chains, have a process through which your employees can communicate faster with each other. This allows for effective task delegation and progress tracking.
Lastly, set clear and reasonable expectations and do not try to micromanage your employees. Trust them and also set boundaries between work time and personal time even in a remote setting.
Write To-Do Lists
Marketing Specialist, Tecuy Media
My advice would be using a well-crafted to-do list is a powerful tool to enhance productivity in remote work settings. Here’s how to leverage it for optimal results:
- Prioritize wisely: Start by identifying the most important tasks and place them at the top of your list. This ensures you focus on high-impact activities.
- Break it down: Divide complex projects into smaller, manageable tasks. Breaking them down allows for better organization and easier tracking of progress.
- Set deadlines: Assign realistic deadlines to each task. This helps you stay accountable and ensures timely completion.
- Utilize time blocking: Allocate specific time blocks for different tasks or categories of work. This helps create structure and aids in better time management.
By harnessing the power of a well-structured to-do list, you can maintain focus, stay organized, and successfully tackle your workload while working remotely.