How To Avoid Procrastination As A Remote Dev

Andy Charters
.
August 23, 2023
Remote Working

Several years ago, when I started working remotely I had to completely redesign my routine.

There are plenty of benefits to remote life including more free time, no commute, and flexible working hours. However, not everything is perfect.

I found remote work difficult at first, especially in the beginning. When I started, I wasn't focused, and I worked long hours without being very productive.

unfocused

Starting one task, switching to another, then to another still. It took me ten hours to complete tasks that could have been completed in four.

After those initial struggles, I found a process that helped me overcome them.

As a remote software developer that's what this article is about: Staying productive and Focused.

Everyone has a different process. What works for one may not be suitable for another. By trial and error, you can learn what works for you.

What is My Work Process?

As part of the remote work algorithm, I first had to understand my role as the most important variable: myself.

During remote work, I discovered that it wasn't just about my job, it was also about figuring out how my mind and body worked together. Those questions were:

  • What is the best time and amount of sleep for me?

  • What time should I wake up?

  • Which is the best time to work and how much should I work?

  • What time should I eat?

  • How often should I exercise and how much should I do?

Finding the right answers took me some time. To be able to do my work and still have enough free time to enjoy my life, I set up a working routine.

It was difficult to come up with the perfect arrangement. One thing I noticed was that I don't like to wake up early in the morning.

My preferred time to work is in the afternoon or evening. For this reason, I save difficult tasks for the evenings and reserve my mornings for exercise, food shopping, and administrative work.

motivated

Because I work flexible hours and don't have morning meetings, it works. In the event that morning meetings were necessary, I would need to choose a different arrangement.

As another example: I eat five meals throughout the day. My meals are long breaks between my Pomodoro cycles.

An organized to-do list is my favorite

My favorite classic to-do list is the classic to-do list. Since humans first used papyrus sheets to scribble down ideas it has evolved into an invaluable component of today's smartphone and computer.

For my to-do list, I have a board for each day of the week as well as a board for upcoming tasks.

board1

Each task that I complete gets a green OK label. Using this method, I am able to track my progress. I generate next week's schedule over the weekend by archiving my lists and running a script.

Following the creation of those lists, I pull tasks from my future task board into my next week's tasks. Organizing my routine is easier when I know what's coming up next week.

What Does My Workday Look Like?

Every day is divided into cycles that I call Focus on my weekly to-do list. There are no specifics. During the workday, I create a list of what I need to accomplish.

I can see what I need to accomplish during each Focus because I work in sprints or iterations. My work is also broken down into smaller tasks that can be accomplished fairly quickly.

Working eight hours a day or more can lead quickly to burnout according to research regarding working hours. My daily Focuses should take up to six hours per day.

Pomodoro cycles are similar to One Focus cycles, except that One Focus lasts an hour with 10 minutes of rest in between.

I find that to work well, though occasionally I have to work two or three cycles in a row without stopping.

Focuses are a great way to manage time because they are flexible.

It is possible to do two cycles before lunch and four after lunch.

Alternatively, you could perform six cycles after lunch or three after lunch, and three at night. There are many options! Focuses help me to organize my tasks neatly.

My plan is to use the remaining time to do something else if I finish earlier than expected. My time is taken from the next Focus if I do not finish in the allotted time.

An extra Focus is added if a task turns out to be more difficult than I anticipated. I note where I stopped and continue where I left off the next day if I don't finish that day.

All of my activities fit into a Focus: planning, meetings, discussions, etc. Reading other people's conversations and digging through Slack are the only things I always forget to include but I don't mind that.

What is the best way to keep up with everything?

Whenever I can I will delegate tasks to a third party. In order to measure my productivity, I use Toggl Track. Toggl is where I create Toggl projects that are associated with my job or personal projects.

I have a label for each Focus (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and extra).

Basically, I aim to accomplish six Focuses every day. When I'm done I can do what I want.

Today, I am quite good at staying focused since there are defined beginnings and endings, and because I know what I need to do during each Focus.

happy1

I have found what works for me. I hope you have gained some insight into how to organize your workday.

As time passes, things are sure to change but I'm always open to adjusting something if it's no longer working for me. Trying things out is important so that you can figure out what works for you.

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How To Avoid Procrastination As A Remote Dev

February 16, 2024

Several years ago, when I started working remotely I had to completely redesign my routine.

There are plenty of benefits to remote life including more free time, no commute, and flexible working hours. However, not everything is perfect.

I found remote work difficult at first, especially in the beginning. When I started, I wasn't focused, and I worked long hours without being very productive.

unfocused

Starting one task, switching to another, then to another still. It took me ten hours to complete tasks that could have been completed in four.

After those initial struggles, I found a process that helped me overcome them.

As a remote software developer that's what this article is about: Staying productive and Focused.

Everyone has a different process. What works for one may not be suitable for another. By trial and error, you can learn what works for you.

What is My Work Process?

As part of the remote work algorithm, I first had to understand my role as the most important variable: myself.

During remote work, I discovered that it wasn't just about my job, it was also about figuring out how my mind and body worked together. Those questions were:

  • What is the best time and amount of sleep for me?

  • What time should I wake up?

  • Which is the best time to work and how much should I work?

  • What time should I eat?

  • How often should I exercise and how much should I do?

Finding the right answers took me some time. To be able to do my work and still have enough free time to enjoy my life, I set up a working routine.

It was difficult to come up with the perfect arrangement. One thing I noticed was that I don't like to wake up early in the morning.

My preferred time to work is in the afternoon or evening. For this reason, I save difficult tasks for the evenings and reserve my mornings for exercise, food shopping, and administrative work.

motivated

Because I work flexible hours and don't have morning meetings, it works. In the event that morning meetings were necessary, I would need to choose a different arrangement.

As another example: I eat five meals throughout the day. My meals are long breaks between my Pomodoro cycles.

An organized to-do list is my favorite

My favorite classic to-do list is the classic to-do list. Since humans first used papyrus sheets to scribble down ideas it has evolved into an invaluable component of today's smartphone and computer.

For my to-do list, I have a board for each day of the week as well as a board for upcoming tasks.

board1

Each task that I complete gets a green OK label. Using this method, I am able to track my progress. I generate next week's schedule over the weekend by archiving my lists and running a script.

Following the creation of those lists, I pull tasks from my future task board into my next week's tasks. Organizing my routine is easier when I know what's coming up next week.

What Does My Workday Look Like?

Every day is divided into cycles that I call Focus on my weekly to-do list. There are no specifics. During the workday, I create a list of what I need to accomplish.

I can see what I need to accomplish during each Focus because I work in sprints or iterations. My work is also broken down into smaller tasks that can be accomplished fairly quickly.

Working eight hours a day or more can lead quickly to burnout according to research regarding working hours. My daily Focuses should take up to six hours per day.

Pomodoro cycles are similar to One Focus cycles, except that One Focus lasts an hour with 10 minutes of rest in between.

I find that to work well, though occasionally I have to work two or three cycles in a row without stopping.

Focuses are a great way to manage time because they are flexible.

It is possible to do two cycles before lunch and four after lunch.

Alternatively, you could perform six cycles after lunch or three after lunch, and three at night. There are many options! Focuses help me to organize my tasks neatly.

My plan is to use the remaining time to do something else if I finish earlier than expected. My time is taken from the next Focus if I do not finish in the allotted time.

An extra Focus is added if a task turns out to be more difficult than I anticipated. I note where I stopped and continue where I left off the next day if I don't finish that day.

All of my activities fit into a Focus: planning, meetings, discussions, etc. Reading other people's conversations and digging through Slack are the only things I always forget to include but I don't mind that.

What is the best way to keep up with everything?

Whenever I can I will delegate tasks to a third party. In order to measure my productivity, I use Toggl Track. Toggl is where I create Toggl projects that are associated with my job or personal projects.

I have a label for each Focus (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and extra).

Basically, I aim to accomplish six Focuses every day. When I'm done I can do what I want.

Today, I am quite good at staying focused since there are defined beginnings and endings, and because I know what I need to do during each Focus.

happy1

I have found what works for me. I hope you have gained some insight into how to organize your workday.

As time passes, things are sure to change but I'm always open to adjusting something if it's no longer working for me. Trying things out is important so that you can figure out what works for you.

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