Remote Life: 5 Authentic Techniques for Success

5 May 2016 | Blog, Remote Work

Having worked remotely for almost a decade now—first with my freelance company, and now with our greater team at Authentic Form & Function—I’ve seen the concept of remote work transition from niche to the next big thing.

No matter the type of remote work any of us are doing, I’m quick to remember a few core tenants to make the experience a success.

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Set Daily Routines

To start, it’s important to identify what brings happiness and fulfillment to your life on a daily basis. How? Create a new todo list or open your notebook (right now! this article can wait) and start jotting down bullet points.

On the left, what is draining; on the right, what is fulfilling and energizing. Keep these things in mind:-

– Don’t worry if your lists paint a so-so picture. We’ve all been there; many people are there right now. At this point it’s important to have written out these truths on paper.

– When building a new daily routine (with purpose), you have to stand tall with what feels right. Going with your gut is the move. Close your eyes and think about your day with more-this and less-that. How does that feel?

– As any of us start to work down our lists, we realize where more time needs to go, and where less time needs to be spent. Or, what needs to go away entirely. For many people, that’s the hardest part.

Our lives are always changing: seasons come and go; work ebbs and flows; people are in and out of focus. This won’t be perfect, and it won’t solve all things you perceive as problems. But if done with intent and purpose, it will be the epicenter for you shaping the life you lead.

Want to dig deeper on this topic? Read my full article for more.

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Take Nutrition Seriously

Nutrition used to be just a word. I’d live on a variety of sugars, refined or otherwise, carb-loaded meals, and a lot of beer. The interesting thing is that I didn’t really understand—or, I wasn’t aware—that I never felt that well. Many people are the same.

What I’ve found is that nutrition (like exercise) is a “why” pillar of life. Meaning, no one’s going to do it for you, and your own personal “why” for making a change is up to you. Since experimenting in and around the Paleo movement, a few personal pillars of nutritional practice have emerged:

– Breakfast sets the tone for the day. Immediately sending a bunch of sugar into your body (cereal, bread, orange juice, sugary coffees) will spike your blood sugar level, leading to a crash early on.

– Limit snacky stuff to real food between meals. “Real food” means a piece of fruit or a few pieces of jerky, not half a bag of chips, a donut, or a stack of wheat crackers.

– Stop microwaving meals or picking up a greasy to go order every day! Aim for real food: a balance of veggies and meat, as little grain filler as possible, and a lot of salad.

– As a remote worker, I start and end my day with water, and the difference is drastic as compared to days—especially those on the go—when water consumption is limited.

Don’t be that person looking back, ten years later, realizing you’re 20-30 pounds heavier and less energized than ever because you dropped the ball on eating habits.

Find out more about nutrition in my full article on this topic.

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Make Exercise a Priority

When we push ourselves to the physical brink, our bodies settle into an active recovery phase. We might feel sore, but we also feel satisfied, relieved, and even-minded.

The modern remote worker has a unique challenge both mentally and physically. We have “the world at our fingertips” and yet, it’s up to us to go explore that world. Keep these ideas in mind:

– Make exercise personal to you: for where you want to be and for what you want to change. Stick to that motto, and forget what you think everyone else expects you to do.

– We’re so influenced by advertisements for quick fixes and lackluster food choices that it would seem there’s no alternative to sitting all day long, eating poorly, and watching TV from 6-11pm each evening. But, there is!

– Remote workers have no excuses to not move our bodies. Most of us made a conscious decision to leave the commute and the cubicle to make more of a work/life balance. How are you spending your time?

In the same way you make decisions for how to treat your body with a particular way of eating, figure out what it’s all for. Is it for yourself? Maybe that beau you want to end up with? A baby on the way soon? Hold on to that purpose and get out there!

For more on this topic, read my full article about finding the right exercise for you.

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Build New Relationships

With passive “networking” through blogs and apps like LinkedIn, our culture has tried its best to remove the personal touch. It takes a lot more than a social “like” to connect with others in business, though, and taking that relationship approach offline is the first step.

In my experience, building relationships requires a few things to be successful, and one of them is an initial lack of expectation. Beyond the mindset, it comes down to a few things:

– Put forth effort to engage in conversation. Ask questions, be a listener, and learn about those around you. People notice when you care.

– You’ll more often hear no (or nothing at all) rather than a yes. Ongoing connections and conversations can be quite rare at times. And yet, during other times, they can fall from the sky like rain.

– This is big: avoid cherry picking events! When we do, we’re putting all stock into a singular event in time, hoping it brings us this or that. But why? Is that logical or fruitful? No.

My own networking approach is one that involves recurring, diversified exploration. I’m never putting all my stock into a single event—especially in my own professional field—because the best way to expand our minds (and network reach) is to see what’s going on all around us.

Stick it out; find your inner grit. I’m confident building relationships from networking endeavors—but yet, rare at times—are attainable for anyone willing to put forth the effort.

See my full article about networking to learn about my specific networking mix.

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Travel With Smarts

Being a remote worker brings with it quite a lot of responsibility. Both to your employer, but also to yourself. And yet when you get those responsibilities aligned and under control, suddenly a whole host of otherwise unavailable opportunities become options.

Before taking off to any new destination, I always keep in mind a few major topics to check off the mental list before packing that trusty carry-on:

– Have a local transportation plan. Relying on buses or other public transport may not the best move to get around a new place, so save the hassle and pop for a rental car. If a service like Uber or Lyft are available, that could work, too.

– Research Internet availability. Triple-check with your accommodations that the speeds are strong enough for the work you do. Bad Internet can crush emotions on a trip.

– When it comes to accommodations, remember that cheap doesn’t mean you’re getting a deal. It might mean they’re getting a deal.

– Compile a list of website bookmarks that assist in every situation to make travel plans as easy as possible. From Kayak to that cheap airfare website you like.

– Be money smart. Sack up and signup for an account with a service like Hotels.com and reap the free night rewards. Use coupons to park for less at the airport.

– Google search “introduction to travel hacking” and dive in. Saving money and earning rewards on things you’re already buying is a huge perk to the remote lifestyle.

Working hard and playing hard; finding that delicate balance and firming up a personal ethos surrounding growth, fulfillment, happiness, and opportunity. It’s a big part of what our remote lifestyles are all about.

Explore many more details in my full article which notes travel links and tips.

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