Make Working From Home Easy With These 3 Tips

A recent transition to working from home can be stressful

Due to the recent coronavirus, you may found yourself stuck at home. Working remotely may be new to you and this transition can lead to an unclear work schedule. Even if you have a clear set of goals that need to be accomplished, working from home can be distracting.


If you have kids or pets, share your apartment with a roommate, or have loud neighbors, it can be difficult to be productive at home. However, there are many professionals who have been working remotely for years that have shown that it can be done with the proper systems in place. If one person is able to do it, that means you can too!

Create a space that is only used for your work

The best way to get focused and ready to do your job is to create a space in your home that’s solely dedicated to working. Ideally, this space will have a desk, chair, power outlet, and a glass of water. It should not be in your living room or bedroom, as these two rooms have many distractions (like your comfy bed).


You want your home workspace to be designed for you to only have a laptop, the charging cable, and a spot for a cup of coffee. If you can set it up in your basement or attic, or if you can create an office room, this would be the best choice. If your only option is your bedroom, make sure your back is turned to your bed while at work.


When you sit down in your chair, you’re ready for work. If you need to block out the rest of the people in the house I suggest using a pair of headphones. If you need to be attentive to children, then you can have the headphones on but have no music playing. The headphones are used to prime your mind to do work and to let others know that you’re busy.


Additionally, you want to save time for checking social media and your emails for after all of your tasks are done. Make sure you turn off all your notifications before going to your workspace. You want to avoid as many interruptions as possible, as it takes roughly 23 minutes to refocus your attention.


Don’t bring your phone along with you when going to your home workspace, try to keep it in a separate room and on vibrate. The only screen that should be with you is the one included with your laptop.

Leverage pen and paper for task management

Don’t underestimate the power that a piece of paper has when tracking your progress. Instead of using a task management app or your calendar, write up two to three critical tasks that need to be completed during the day. You can organize these tasks in order of priority or by how fast you believe you can complete them. However you decide to organize your tasks, make sure you don’t add new tasks to this piece of paper.


One of the reasons you have to turn off all notifications on your phone and laptop is because clients and team members will send you urgent tasks that are only urgent at the moment. These tasks, if truly urgent, can come to your attention through a video chat or phone call if necessary but, never through text or email. Most things that are urgent tend not to be urgent after a couple of hours.


Always defer tasks given to you until after the priority items on your paper to-do list are complete. Also, schedule specific times throughout the day to view texts and email. It should be twice a day, once in the morning before your work begins and in the afternoon after lunch.

Limit the number of meetings you attend

One of the benefits of working remotely is you immediately realize how many meetings are actually necessary for you to do your job. A weekly meeting is all that is necessary for you to know what to do. Sometimes a weekly meeting isn’t necessary, sometimes all you need is a quick text exchange to agree on action items.


In the event that you must attend a remote meeting, always make sure there is a clear agenda, a set start time and end time, and that the meeting ends with clear action items. If these criteria are not met, do not schedule the meeting. It will take away from the work that needs to get done.


Your work-from-home situation will be unique and some of these tips will not be applicable. What you have to remember is that there are remote workers in your industry and with your exact job title, that can provide specific advice. These tidbits are for the general newcomer to remote work.


The transition is always hard for the first two to three weeks, but it can be smooth if you create a system to help you focus and contribute to your team and clients.

Image Credit: Unsplash


4 Reasons Why You Are Not Traveling

Knowing Your Barriers For Acting Is Half Of The Battle

There are many reasons that can stop you from traveling the world. Once you know what they are, you can convince yourself that it is possible.


You’re dependent on getting your vacation days approved

If you don’t want to dream about traveling anymore, you have to start removing the limitations in your life. The first one to start removing is your employer. I’m not advocating that you submit your letter of resignation tomorrow, but you should start by setting up an automated deposit to your savings account. If you have a financial plan that you’re committed to, that will decrease the dependency you have on your employer.


Long-term travel doesn’t necessitate that you quit your job but, in most cases that is what you will need to do. Some employers will allow you to take a six-month break or sabbatical, but that tends to only happen with mid-level to senior-level managers. There is a risk involved in leaving your job to go travel the world but, if they truly see your value they will keep an open spot for you in the future. If they don’t want to hire you when you come back, they are losing out on a better version of who you are.


You’re scared of not being with your friends and family

When you travel for a long time, you will also sacrifice time spent with friends and family. You won’t be there for the birthdays, barbecues, and weekend Netflix binging sessions at your cousin’s house. Yet, what you will gain from your experience traveling will match, and sometimes transcend moments spent with your loved ones.


You’ll be able to come back with a bunch of cool stories to share with your friends and family. Even better, you may even inspire some of them to start their own adventures.


You’re worried that taking a pause on your career will set you back

You don’t need to put a pause on your career while traveling. Becoming a digital nomad can be an option you can explore if you prepare in advance by finding remote work. There are a ton of digital nomads in the world who find their jobs by researching Youtube to discover what’s available and then using LinkedIn, Craigslist, Monster, AngelList, and other job platforms to find work. It will take time but, if a hypothetical hiring manager’s opinion of your resume gap is your biggest concern, don’t worry.


You can also use your travels to augment your resume. Highlighting what skills you learned during your experiences — negotiating, time management, and budgeting — can help you stand out during your next interview.


You’re afraid of traveling because it seems dangerous

The most dangerous places in the world tend to only be dangerous because the news needs to grab your attention. Most scams in any country can be researched prior to your trip (Youtubers love doing “Top 10 Scams” videos).


Traveling helps you gain a better sense of awareness for your surroundings, the point is to leave home even if you’re scared. Locals in other countries treat travelers kindly for the most part, but it is also imperative that you research local customs and etiquette before arriving at your destination.


Finding all the reasons for not traveling can be a somewhat insurmountable task. There are definitely more reasons that you can use to convince yourself not to leave. However, traveling is accessible to all of us if we are only willing to take the first step. The first step is usually just saying, “it’s possible.” Then simply use the internet to start researching and preparing. This is when you begin making the dream practical and achievable.


The Cons Of Being A Digital Nomad

Look Beyond The Posts

If you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad, know that it is certainly possible. The hard part isn’t becoming a digital nomad, the hard part is sustaining the lifestyle. If you find yourself comparing your current life to that of Instagram influencers who post about the #workandtravel lifestyle, know that they are struggling too. If they aren’t struggling, it is because they have struggled to the point of understanding what there is to anticipate and how to prepare for it.


If you want to become a digital nomad, let’s first start by discussing the difference between a digital nomad and a remote worker. A remote worker is someone who works for one company. They are someone who has a stable income and they work from one fixed location (usually their home office). A digital nomad is a type of remote worker that travels while (usually) working for several clients. Their income isn’t stable and they have to juggle several hustles to maintain their picturesque lifestyle.


A Digital Nomad’s Unique Challenges

The first challenge you should deliberately try to solve is that of your finances. Your journey as a digital nomad will not be feasible without a proper financial plan set in place. This plan must consist of a budget for your trip, however long you plan on making it, and a budget for your life after your trip. In the event of an early failure, you want to make sure you have an emergency-savings account ready. This will be for a flight back home, a month’s worth of basic necessities and for your accommodation while you lick your wounds. Save two to three months of your current income before even thinking about purchasing your first plane ticket.


Next, you will want to tackle the issue of overwork. As a digital nomad, you will end up working for work’s sake. It is important to create a set routine, at least for your work schedule. This routine will be designated for working only and for checking your email. Outside of these hours, you want to close your laptop, put it in your room and then leave.


Don’t have your email app on your phone and have all notifications from social media off while exploring the country you’re in. The digital nomad lifestyle can quickly seem like a regular nine-to-five, only with sandy beaches, if you don’t take the time to stop working and actually go out for a swim.


When faced with boredom, you’re going to want to find a muse. I prefer using writing for tackling boredom, as it inevitably comes every day. The pictures and videos you see of digital nomads online only capture seconds, if not minutes, of their actually daily life. Most of it is finding a balance between not working too much and not dying from boredom. If you focus on creating something — a podcast, vlog, or a blog — you find a way to tackle your boredom. You may even use your muse to help fund your travels, if you take the time to grow it.


Lastly, the most difficult challenge you will face is loneliness. I’m lucky that I have a partner who is willing to work and travel with me, some digital nomads aren’t as lucky. If you want to become a digital nomad you have to know that you’re going to get lonely, a lot. Even if you meet people and make meaningful connections, those connections will be short. You won’t be able to stay in one place for too long, due to visa restrictions. This will make it so that you have to always meet new people.


If this is an issue for you, video calls with your friends and family may help, but only to a certain point. Anticipate lots of loneliness and start your journey with the goal of self-discovery as a focus. If you do this, the loneliness and boredom that comes from this lifestyle will be welcomed and it will provide you with opportunities to learn more about yourself.


Why I Don’t Regret The Decision Of Becoming A Digital Nomad

I don’t regret taking the chance to become a digital nomad because I have learned so much. I have learned how to be more responsible with my money. I have learned how to manage my time better and how to commit myself to write every day. Also, I have seen so much that I would not have seen if I stayed in a comfortable job. Even if failure were to occur, I now know how easy it is to try this again.


If you want to become a digital nomad, know that failing is okay. No amount of preparation prior to your adventure is going to prepare you for the challenges you’ll face. I am certain that your unique story is going to have challenges that aren’t mentioned here. Embrace them.


The challenges you encounter will make for great stories. Take the chance and just know that there are cons to this lifestyle. Do your research, prepare as best you can, and then just give it a try. It’s worth it.


How To Get Remote Work As A Writer (An Opportunity To Make Money While Traveling Or At Home)

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

There is an opportunity right now for anyone who wants to work from home. This opportunity is also for anyone who wants to travel the world and get paid at the same time. Before I begin explaining how this can be done, I want to start off with what this post is not about.


This post is not about:

  • Creating a popular travel vlog,
  • Creating an e-commerce site,
  • Being a remote coder,
  • Doing graphic design as a side hustle,
  • Or becoming an influencer

This post is about how to use a universal skill, the ability to write, to make a living. And yet, just because everyone can write, that doesn’t mean everyone is good at writing. I would also add that anyone can become a decent enough writer to get paid, given enough practice and time.


The First Step In Becoming A DECENT Writer: Defeating Writer’s Block

One of the most prolific writers in the world, Seth Godin, doesn’t believe in writer’s block. He explains that what writer’s block really is, is a fear the writer has of not being perfect. If you want to be a professional writer, you are going to eventually write bad work. This is why most writers, whether you’re a content writer or copywriter, have editors. It is the editor’s job to fix any bad work you make, it is your job to write. It is as simple as that.


Writer’s block is the most accessible excuse to use when you don’t want to fully commit to the craft of writing. What I have done to get rid of my own writer’s block is to write every single day. This is a practice that Seth Godin suggests to anyone struggling, whether they are an amateur or a seasoned veteran.


The famous author Ernest Hemingway purposefully stopped writing mid-sentence so that during the next day, he knows how to continue. I could badger you with a whole slew of techniques and practices on how to tackle writer’s block but, to keep things short and sweet: writer’s block goes away by writing. Don’t be afraid to write badly. Just plow through and write each sentence knowing fully well that you can always go back and edit them or have someone edit your work for you.


If you are considering how to start gaining experience, know that you can write about anything. The best way to start is by creating a blog. The easiest topics to write about tend to be your obsessions, so that’s where I suggest you begin. Once you get a handle on what your topic is, the next step will be figuring out whether or not you want to write for the sake of entertainment, to educate your audience, or to sell something.

Do You Want To Write Content Or Create Copy: Content Writers VS Copywriters

Content writers and copywriters serve two different needs. Content writers write for publications to drive traffic to a website and gather readers. Copywriters sell products or services in order to convert people — to have them spend their money. The best way to know which type of writer you want to be (and you can be both) is by trying each role out.


Try experimenting with writing articles and blog posts that try to entertain your audience, educate them, and sell them on an idea. You’ll get a feel for what you’re best at based on your audience’s responses. Even if you don’t an audience, the simple act of writing these pieces will give you a sign on what you like to write about.


You can also find inspiration by reading! The best writers are great readers and they read regularly. Make sure that throughout your writing journey, you always take the time to read. Read books, read blog posts, read the newsletters that are in your email inbox. See what you like and dislike, and why. This will also help you figure out what you want to write about and how you want to write.

Here’s a list of resources I’m currently using to help me become a better writer:

How To Get The Gig: Don’t Pitch, Ask Questions

After you have created a large body of work, showcasing your ability to write consistently with your own unique voice, the next step is getting hired. Finding remote work as a writer isn’t as hard as it may seem. It took me three months to find my first job. And in the grand scheme of things, three months isn’t a long period of time.


Note that before you even begin searching online for your remote content writer or copywriter job, know that you’ll be searching for clients — not a boss. It is important to make this shift in thinking if you’ve never worked as a remote worker before. You work for your boss. You work with your client. That is the key difference to consider when sending your CV/resume to businesses that are hiring.


I mention this key difference between bosses and clients because the interview process you’ll experience will be different from a typical in-person interview. In any remote job interview, especially ones for remote writing positions, you’ll stand out more if you don’t sell yourself and your skills. I’ve found that clients tend to hire writers who understand them: their expectations, their needs, their concerns,  and the needs of their customers.


The only way to understand your potential client is if you don’t sell yourself and instead, focus on asking them questions. If you got the interview, the selling part is already over. Some jobs will require that you take a written-skills test or a writing assignment. This may be the hardest part of the interview process. However, if you write regularly you will have a higher chance of successfully passing these tests, as they usually are used to access your ability to write grammatically. They were sold on your skills when they saw your CV/resume. Now what they want to see is that you are professional and that you understand what is expected of you. The best way to do that is to show an earnest curiosity in their business and asking questions helps you with that.


Some example questions I have used include:

  • Have you ever hired someone for this position before? Were they also working remotely?
  • What communication problems have you had in the past with previous writers?
  • Do you use a writing manual?
  • Do you examples of past posts or copy that showcases the brand’s voice? What are the best examples?
  • How often do you need to be on a call with me and what times work best for you?
  • What are your monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for website traffic, sales, etc.?
  • What calendar and task management tools do you use?

Where I Found My Remote Writing Jobs

I found all of my copywriting jobs on both AngelList and Craigslist.

AngelList is another great platform I’ve used to find writing jobs. I prefer to use AngelList over LinkedIn because remote writing jobs posted on LinkedIn require years of experience. AngelList is a platform where start-ups are posting open jobs, so the opportunity to find a gig where you don’t need actual professional experience is much higher! If you want a specific recommendation, I suggest searching for the unpaid internship positions first. Once you’ve done two to three of them successfully, you can then use your past experience to get paid positions and ask your previous clients for referrals.


Using Craigslist surprised me because I wasn’t expecting that much when I first started searching for opportunities. Then I realized that there are a bunch of businesses outside of the United States that need native English speakers to create content and sell for them. As of writing this, that is where the low-hanging fruit is, any country that doesn’t have English as its first language. If you’re looking for specific recommendations, search for writing jobs within Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. I have had great luck with these three countries.


Becoming a remote copywriter or content writer is only difficult if you are searching for an easy way to start. The difficulty tends to go down the more you write and build your body of work. I have been blogging for five years so, even though I didn’t have any professional experience, I still stood out whenever I applied for a position.


Perhaps becoming a remote writer is something you want to do. If so, know that I am not the only resource out there. I learned from resources available on the internet and so can you. I hope this post becomes a starting point for your journey to becoming a remote writer.


“The key to preparation is to strike a balance between knowing what’s out there and being optimistically ignorant.”Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts, Page 50

If you’ve read up to this point, I want to thank you for your time. Please share this article with someone you know who might like it too. If you have any questions, you can send me a tweet or a message on Instagram. I hope this article helped you in some way! Thanks again for your time and attention.


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