07 Nov Do you work remotely too? 6 tips for your wellbeing
Being a “digital nomad” is trendy these days. So is being a “remoter.” Working from home (or occasionally from a coworking space if you value your mental health) is here to stay. What’s the difference, you ask? As I see it, a digital nomad works remotely while constantly moving without a fixed base. On the other hand, a remoter may have a permanent base but does their work remotely. I’m not sure which category my work falls into, nor which one I want it to fall into. I’m not really one for labels.
Lisbon, for example, ranks at the top of destinations for remote work. It’s a spectacular place for it, even after a pandemic. However, there are some misconceptions that I’m going to debunk for you here and now. The first is that Portugal isn’t cheap, or at least not anymore. It might have been in the past. Nowadays, the reality is that accommodation can be just as expensive as in Barcelona. Only if you’re very lucky, have many contacts, or go to a place far from civilization, can you find something more affordable.
But, getting to the point, working remotely has significant advantages and also significant risks. We’ve already discussed the first one: isolation. But there are others, such as poorly managed loneliness, lack of organization, lack of moral support and socialization, absence of “purpose,” lack of perspective, uncontrolled schedules, blurred boundaries between personal and professional life… and the list goes on. I’ve been working remotely for five years now, experiencing the good and the bad of this “freedom” firsthand, and I can understand what you’re going through.
I would like to share with you some important points that have helped me a lot and have increased my wellbeing while working remotely (as a freelancer as well). They are the result of experience, conversations with friends who have lived it for years, trial and error, and self-observation. I hope they help you:
- Take out your schedule book and set clear timings (and stick to them). They don’t have to be the same every day. Before finishing each workday, mark the important points/tasks for the next day. I assure you, it makes a clear difference to do so.
- Differentiate your professional life from your personal life both in schedules and in focus and attention. Don’t neglect the latter, whether you have children or a partner or not. Take care of your hobbies, your friends, your leisure time. Set themes for your leisure time every day. Here’s how I do it: surfing on Mondays, dancing on Tuesdays, reading on Wednesdays, music on Thursdays, art on Fridays.
- Change your clothes, don’t work in your “pyjamas”. I’m not joking, it’s a different mental state.
- Cultivate “dolce far niente,” dedicate periods of time where you do nothing.
- Avoid the dreaded guilt when you’re not working. This is for the “freelancers.” It’s a very important point. You need to understand and accept that there will be moments, days, weeks when you won’t have work. Dedicate time to look for it, of course, but also, and this is essential, make use of the free time you have because you might not have it later. And dear friend, money comes and goes, but time doesn’t come back.
- Find a space to work and network. The best, in my opinion, is a coworking space or similar where there are people in your same sector/condition, such as “incubator” places if you have a start-up or you are an entrepreneur, coworking spaces for creatives/artists if you are one of them. As I mentioned in the previous post, I find it helpful to do this a couple of days a week. You meet new people, change the scenery, and stimulate your mind to generate new dynamics and ideas.
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