We’ve all been there.
You’ve made plans to go out with friends or even have a casual hour surfing in the evening, but by the time you finish working you’re not going anywhere. You’re tired, you’re stressed, and you may not exercise as much (or eat as well) as you want to because you just don’t have the time in the week.
Whilst it might feel overwhelming, I’ll let you in on a secret; EVERY remote worker (hell, even every office worker) has had the same feeling. Thankfully, this also means that there have been a lot of experiments on how to stay healthy when you largely just sit at a computer all day.
At Process Street, we run an entirely remote ship, and so I can understand how difficult it may seem. However, with these hints, you’ll never feel like your work life is draining your health again.
1. Exercise Before Work
If you’re anything like me, you’ve made many-a-vow to start exercising after work, only to fall flat when it comes to the execution. I get it; it’s completely understandable. Nobody wants to work for 8 hours every day and then have to start off a new exercise routine when they’re knackered from a long day at the keyboard.
… So why not exercise before work instead?
Whether you do a quick cardio workout or even hit the beach early, exercising before starting up the computer for the day is a great way to kickstart both your brain and motivation for the day. Essentially, because you have already achieved something difficult (by working up a sweat), you get your blood pumping and even burn a little fat whilst you’re at it – a win-win in almost anyone’s book.
2. Feed (and Water) the Mind and Body
Now, this isn’t meant to sound patronizing, but you need to make sure that you’re eating enough. It sounds stupid to say it out loud, but it’s incredibly tempting to skip breakfast when you can just set up and get going with your work for the day. After all, the sooner you start, the sooner you finish, right?
Well, no. That’s not how humans work. If you skip your meals, yes, you may get 5 more minutes on your laptop in the morning, but you’ll probably lose your focus and motivation much sooner. All in all, you probably won’t get nearly as much done as you would if you had just eaten a banana whilst grabbing your morning coffee.
The same goes for water – although it’s tempting to try and lough ahead, you’ll only be hurting your concentration and getting dehydrated if you don’t keep a constant supply flowing. Yes, you’ll probably end up going to the toilet more, but that’s no excuse to practically torture your poor brain.
3. Prioritize Your Day
Although the health benefits of prioritizing your workload are not immediately apparent, think of it this way. Have you ever thought to yourself “I really don’t want to do this big task, so I’ll clear up all the little stuff first”, only to find that your brain is largely mush by the time you get around to the bigger problem? Congratulations, because you’ve just fallen victim to prioritization.
First, you need to figure out what your most productive time of day is (when you work best). You could do a simple trial-and-error experiment to see how long a particular task takes you at various times over the course of the day, or perhaps you already know your best work periods from experience. Once you know this, you need to plan your day around them; get the most important (and typically the biggest) tasks done during your productive zone, with as few distractions as possible. If you have to take care of some employee onboarding or any other time-sensitive task, the deadline and urgency must also be considered.
For example, my most productive time of day happens to coincide with a usual 9-5 setup, although I’m particularly prominent before lunch. Because of this, I’ll typically wake up sometime around 7, have a half hour jog, grab a shower, something to eat, load up on coffee, spend some time with my wife, then hit the bricks at 9 sharp. Obviously this can vary depending on the day (if a good idea takes hold, I may well end up getting out of bed earlier so that I can put my thoughts to paper asap before I lose the momentum), but if you can get your routine up and running, as I have with my writing process, it can truly work wonders.
4. Switch Up Your Workplace
Due to the fact that we run an entirely remote team back at Process Street, we’ve rapidly picked up that your mental (and physical) health can greatly depend on your productivity; the more you get done, the less stressed you find yourself and the fewer hours you have to put in. The biggest factor to productivity when you’re working remotely? Your workplace.
Whether you’re on a beach in Thailand or the sunny coast of Australia, you need to find the workplace you’re most comfortable in. Some of our team love to be outside in the sun, listening to the waves, whilst others have their own office setup at home; whatever works for you, find it and stick to it. Not only will you reduce your mental strain by being more at home (pun unintended) when you work but you’ll find yourself more easily able to focus and get even more done.
Not everybody gets the chance to work wherever they want, and the challenges to doing so are not always apparent, but by remembering these 4 key practices you can help ensure that you both have time to hit the waves and aren’t too stressed to do so!