This is Technical.ly’s How I Work series: Remote Edition, in which we ask some of Philly’s full-time remote workers about their routines and tips for people who might be new to working from home. If you’d like to be a part of this series, email us: email@example.com.
Last winter, The Lunch Club 215 cofounders Liz Borchert and Sarah Skobeloff had an idea to bring Philly’s remote workers together for a face-to-face lunch meetup at a local restaurant once a month. The first meetup was held at Fishtown’s Front Street Cafe. Since then, it’s expanded to include coworking hangouts and other group activities, such as drinks-and-draw events.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are making the adjustment to working from home. Borchert, an independent branding designer who says she works with small businesses and startups on “shaping their visual identities through design,” told us some of her tips on how she stays focused while working remotely full-time and updated us on The Lunch Club 215’s new virtual hangouts.
What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any job-related work?
I just started a new morning routine beginning in January (and have stuck to it religiously) consisting of a light workout, meditation and tea, and no screen time before this is done — this is the hardest part! It has seriously helped with stress and anxiety, though. Working for yourself can be a lot!
Where do you work? What does your desk look like?
I have a decent-sized office room in my house. It’s organized with all of the design tools I need for a productive day, such as my second monitor, iPad for drawing, laptop, mouse (very crucial for a designer!), printer and design tools (such as paper samples, a cutting mat, reference books). Essentially, I’ve created my own “home studio” that I enjoy working from with all the tools I need to get my job done.
What’s your KPI for every day? How do you know it’s been a productive day?
My calendar has all of my tasks laid out for me for the day so I know what I’m doing down to the minute (even running small errands or personal breaks). I also set my clients up in Asana earlier this year, and I’ve noticed a huge jump in productivity from both ends.
When life gets busy, how do you make sure you make time for your personal priorities?
I’m pretty religious about my calendar. Working as a freelancer, it’s tempting to take on as much as you can that you will work all hours of the night, but can really creep into your mental health if you’re not careful. I make sure to set my schedule up at least a week or two in advance, and am just transparent with clients how fast I can get to things. I carve out windows in my day for professional work, personal work and personal time — and really try to do my best to stick to it.
What’s a time-saving life hack you practice?
I have all of my notifications turned off for everything that isn’t mandatory during the day. Working from home by yourself so much, it is tempting to use social media as an outlet for human interaction, but those few precious minutes can really turn into a time suck quickly if they are not monitored.
What’s your preferred workday soundtrack?
Ambient house music if my work requires concentration, or a light podcast if I’m working on more mindless tasks.
Any additional tips you can share for the first-time remote workers out there?
Act like you would if you were still going into an office. Wake up at a normal time, get dressed (it doesn’t have to be formal, but definitely change your clothes), and start working around the same time every day. Establishing routine will help both your productivity and your headspace.
What’s the status of The Lunch Club 215 now that we’re all homebound?
We’re trying out some new remote meetups! We just had our first drink and draw tonight with some artists from the community — and are turning our postponed Friday lunch into an open virtual hangout.
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TONIGHT! Join us online for a virtual Drink & Draw with @margoshmargo and other members of the TLC community ?? . Then this FRIDAY join us for a virtual lunch, which will be held at the same time that our event with @libertykitchenphl was supposed to be. Make sure to order a hoagie from them beforehand so we can all pretend like we’re really there! ? . Sign up via the link in our bio, we’ll email you more details later ?
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