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Next writing prompt - Ness Labs creative hour - Making the most out of Remote Work

Making the most of remote work

What are the benefits of remote work for you personally

The main benefit is that I can work with my current energy levels in a high level of freedom. I can start really early, do a first round of productive, thinking. Then do my exercises and continue with a next chunk of working. Sometimes time is rushing to the lunch and I get a lot done. When I feel like I’m tired, I now formed a habit of taking a power nap. Just 10-20 minutes with high relaxation. I can then work much better and longer on topics. Another huge benefit is the lower energy consumption by distraction and also by commute. In direct comparison I can now say how much energy is just taken, when I need to get to the office instead of starting directly on my home remote setup. With having that setup highly equipped and streamlined I can dive into working really fast. Highly focussed and with drive on progress.

Have you experienced any drawbacks

A main drawback is the controlled switching off. Even though I’m not really sure how much switching off is actually necessary, especially because I’m combining my passion with what I’m working. Sometimes I need to really force myself to go to bed because I know that otherwise my next day won’t be on high energy. The same is for building a habit around regular exercises.

I drink a lot more coffee. But actually I’m not yet sure if I need to change that.

I have much more accountability for myself and can’t rely on others holding me accountable. It sometimes is very appealing to follow a certain knowledge path. Also when that leads away from the original goal to reach.

The level of appreciation and feedback is lowered. At the same time I’m not sure if that is related to remote work or due to changing positions where direct team work on a topic was not longer my main focus.

How can you mitigate these challenges

I mitigate these challenges by having a clear rhythm for my physical exercises. And I have strong goals that help me, like my goal to reach at least 2000 minutes of exercising time per month. Regarding stopping work and also spending time on my other life, I recently started to learn and integrate more of Ikigai an valuing also the small moments in life. And I know about roughly my hours needed for good sleep. If I overdo it on one day I take it a little more relaxed the next day. I usually have an orientation around the 5AM club and this also drives my main behavior. But I got a little more flexible with it.

Regarding coffee I do observe myself and how I’m reacting to it. I’ll further check, if I actually need to change my behavior.

To stay on track I already work with projects and timelines. They provide an orientation and help with observing deviations. I think I need to learn even more to work with PARI.

Regarding level of appreciation I recently learn about Ikigai and valuing the small things too. And also to detach myself from external rewards, where I’m dependent on others. Only when this means to get direct feedback from a customer, then I should further invest. But for other feedback I can either ask directly or just remove my thoughts of expecting that.

Do you feel less creative when working remotely?

I feel much more creative because most of the distractions are gone. I have creativity tools around my, like recently ChatGPT, my Second Brain. If I need input from my colleagues I can reach out to them and plan for a conversation. And I can also meet them in person (partially) in the office. I also added further conversations with friends and colleagues from previous jobs and this further opens my creativity. My investment in learning how to learn and especially valuing and leveraging the diffuse mode of learning was another angle to foster creativity. I would say that I’m today by far more creative than I have been 10 years ago. And that mainly through my new understanding of creativity, having a flexible mindset and leveraging tools and approaches that support creativity.

What are some practical strategies to make remote working for you?

I applied the following practical strategies to make remote working for me.

I mainly use a strict rhythm starting by the 5Am Club approach of getting up early and combining Learning, Wisdom and Sports. I invested in exercising capabilities with low setup efforts using my Peloton, nearly every day. I organized my home office setup with a second screen, mircophone, good light, a Loupedeck, my Remarkable, external keyboard and touch pad. All makes it super fluent to work. I automated many of my lower level tasks. What also would work for onsite work. But combined with my Loupedeck automation this is already stronger in my remote setup.

I invest a little more in my Task Management, using Todoist. In combination with working with my Second Brain, that I grow in Obsidian, this is a strong tech stack to do productive work. Learning about building a Second Brain and applying its organizing principles and information processing approach helps me a lot to work with compounding knowledge and have an easier exchange with people around the globe. I still need to become stronger in my weekly planning and weekly review. This is not yet in my habits so that I fully leverage its strengths.

To stay in close connection with what is going on in my team, we invested in building a structure of information management that works for teams and is orienting on Building a Second Brain. We did harmonize the way we store information, the way we document projects and tasks and our way of communication as a team. This makes it very efficient to follow conversations and allow for faster switching times between topics.


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