So you’re planning to work remotely as a web developer this year? Whether you want to become a freelance web developer or work from home for your employer, maintaining your productivity is essential.
Because the truth is:
Working remotely isn’t always as easy as we think. With a bunch of distractions lurking just around the corner, it might be difficult to maintain your focus.
And I speak from experience. I’ve been working from home as a self-employed web developer for a few years now. It’s not always easy to gather my thoughts and stay away from the plethora of temptations.
You know what I’m talking about: Netflix, cleaning my apartment, or going out when the sun is shining.
And the worst distraction of them all?
But while it may be challenging to maintain your focus when working remotely or from home, there are a few simple tricks you can use to stay productive.
In today’s guest post, Heather Redding is going to walk us through six smart hacks to maximize productivity as a remote web developer.
While reviewing this article, I found a bunch of ideas for making my life easier, too. These hacks are so easy and quick to put to work!
So, which one of Heather’s tips are you going to implement first?
Take it away, Heather!
Related articles you may want to read, too:
- How to Become a Web Developer: Beginner’s Guide to Careers, Salaries, and Skills
- The Best Way to Learn Web Development From Scratch
- 10 Smart Techniques to Learn to Code Faster
One of the best perks of the profession as an independent web developer is the opportunity to work remotely.
Facing productivity killers is something you can’t avoid completely. But there are a few simple yet effective hacks you can use to minimize their effect.
Working from home or the workspace of your choice can mean less stress, higher productivity, and savings in both time and money.
However, there can also be significant drawbacks to working remotely that aren’t evident at first glance.
Distractions can be a huge concern, and so can feelings of social isolation, depression, or lack of motivation.
Keeping your focus throughout the day can be hard enough without outside influences pulling you away from your work.
With a growing number of people working remotely for quite a while now, there are plenty of proven ways you can avoid these drawbacks.
To help you maximize your productivity when working remotely, let’s look at a few quick but powerful techniques you can use right away.
1: Prioritize your work schedule
First and foremost, you need to have a work schedule. With a clear start and end time, it’s easier to implement every other suggestion I give you in this article.
Your family and friends need to understand that working at home means working first.
If you need to handle a package delivery at the door, it’s perfectly OK to take care of it. But stay determined that you are at work and return to work immediately.
Don’t tolerate disruptions from neighbors, friends, or family that aren’t actual emergencies.
Turn off your phone or turn on the airplane mode. Leave the TV off.
Moreover, part of the work schedule needs to include break time. Make sure you take breaks to keep your mind sharp and exercise your body.
Stretching and clearing your head – so you can return to work with a fresh eye – are important aspects to maintaining a high level of productivity, too.
2: Minimize distractions
The most obvious distractions are pets and children. If you’re a single parent, you may need to find someone to watch your children. Also, you can try to schedule the bulk of your work for night or nap times.
With pets, make sure to take care of them early and during breaks. That way, they don’t need any caregiving during work periods.
A less-obvious distraction is the little dings, beeps, and graphical balloons that pop up in the corner of your screen, telling you to pay attention to something besides work.
It’s a good idea to turn off notifications for non-work-related apps and software. Mute apps such as Facebook, phone messaging, and subscriptions to YouTube, Instagram, etc.
If you have sick relatives and need to keep close communication with them, you can set a policy to check these notifications every hour or two. Make sure you communicate that policy to friends, coworkers, and relatives.
Some team collaboration software allows you to set your status to “away” or “do not disturb”.
If you’re between team meetings or not needed continuously, you can set your status to “away” for an hour or two at a time. This will help you prevent interruptions from coworkers.
3: Plan your workday
The day before you start your week, sit down, and organize your week according to your goals.
If you work Monday through Friday, take some time on Sunday to set up your schedule. Plan Monday in more detail.
You might try setting goals according to morning, post-break, post-lunch, and afternoon periods.
Use whatever time periods work best for your working style. Just remember to set clear, measurable goals to accomplish by given deadlines to provide structure to your day.
The last task at the end of each day – before you finish today’s work – is to plan out the next day. This will reduce stress and get you moving in the morning. Also, you will have a clear idea of what you’re doing first, next, and throughout the day.
4: Practice web discipline
A must if you want to improve productivity is to eliminate wasted time on web pages that don’t relate to your work.
Information overload from multiple headlines, advertisements, and popups can sidetrack your purpose for opening the site in the first place. There are no easy answers to this. Ad blockers to disable flashing and animations will help.
If you’re using the Firefox browser, it’s got a reader mode that reduces the webpage to text elements, making it far easier to read the main article. Other browsers have plugins that can do the same thing.
Beyond that, you need to be disciplined, use professional detachment, and do your work. Sometimes there aren’t any special tricks, just the pure awareness that you have a job to do.
You can also bookmark articles that tempt you to have a look for later. Or you can use the Pocket app to gather them up for reading.
Once you’ve finished the day’s work, you can take your time to read all your saved articles.
If you click that link, you’re not working. That’s the single most important thing to keep in mind when you’re paid to work remotely.
5: Check your equipment
Your computers and office equipment are your lifeline. For web developers, it’s crucial to make sure your computer has the power to run applications you need to work with modern development languages.
Mac computers are prevalent among web developers, but Linux and Windows machines are also very potent.
Either way, for exclusively front end work, 16 GB of RAM will get you by.
But if you’re doing back-end development with SQL databases and heavy PHP coding, 32 GB of RAM will make your workflow much smoother.
It’s crucial to make sure your system is running as fast as it can go. The speed of your system and network has a massive effect on the amount of work you can do in a day.
Laptops are best for remote workers. If you prefer to get out to a coffee shop, sit in the park during the day, or use a shared workspace, you need a portable machine.
A dock at home will serve as well as a PC. Moreover, to improve productivity, you should have the largest screen you can get your hands on.
Careful shopping can produce great deals at computer stores and on Facebook Marketplace.
Also, if you’re strapped for cash, check out Craigslist. Use it to round up used equipment that’s a year or two old for big savings over new hardware.
6: Create a real workspace
Last but not least, you must have a dedicated space to work in.
Sitting cross-legged on the couch with a latte makes for great ad copy and sounds like a marvelous way to work remotely.
However, the reality is this is how you watch TV and relax. If you try working this way, you’ll slip into that same mental state, and your productivity will suffer.
Make a place to work. Whether it’s at the kitchen table, a separate student desk in the hallway, or commuting to a shared workspace, having a separate working space allows you to “flip the switch” in your mind and put you in the mood for work.
Make sure your workspace comfortable, well lit, and free from easy disturbances.
Summing it up: Smart hacks to maximize productivity as a remote web developer
Following these guidelines and treating your remote workplace like a regular employer’s workplace will put you in a professional mindset. With just a few simple hacks, you can feel more focused and become more productive right away.
Remote work can be rewarding, but only if you treat it like the business or job it actually is.
Keep in mind that this is how you will make money coding and pay your bills – and relax. Get productive, creative, and enjoy the rewards of working remotely.
Now it’s your turn! Have you got tips for working remotely?
Help your fellow remote developers by sharing your favorite remote productivity hacks below!
Here are a few helpful freelancing guides you should read next:
- How to Create an Upwork Profile: 14 Smart Steps to Get Hired Faster
- How to Build A Professional Freelance Portfolio Website: Step-by-Step Guide
About the author
Heather Redding is a content manager for rent, hailing from Aurora. She loves to geek out writing about wearables, IoT, and other hot tech trends. When she finds the time to detach from her keyboard, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.