How to Make Working Online Work for You

There’s perhaps nothing more liberating than having the ability to analyze reports in your pajamas, reply to emails from a hammock, or even input data from your favorite local coffee shop. Having the ability to work anywhere provides a greater degree of flexibility and work-life balance for those with busy schedules. Thus, it only makes sense that 43% of the American workforce currently works remote for at least part of the week and that number is projected to continue to grow.

Whether you can already work online or you’re looking to start doing so, working remotely can be difficult. While you have the ability to stay home and work on your own schedule, there exists the potential for more distractions than working from an office. These include children, phone calls, TV, and anything that can distract us on a regular basis. How do you make working online work for you? How do you remain focused while working from home?  The following tips may be just what you need to manage your work more effectively.

Limit Distractions and be Strict with your Time

If you have other people at your home, you need to be able to limit the distractions that you have around you. That means even though you can be flexible with your hours, you have to be strict with them. If you say you are going to work from 11am to 3pm, make sure that you let everyone in the home know that you are unable to do anything at this time. During that time, you should turn off any smartphones, keep away from social media, and stay in a quiet area of the home, or put on earphones or headphones. Make sure that the distractions are turned down and your focus is turned up so that you can get your work done in a timely manner.

Additionally, it’s important to face the reality that home may not always be the best place to work for some. If distractions are overly abundant at your place of residence, you may want to consider looking into nearby coffee shops or co-working spaces that offer environments to enhance productivity.

Find Self-Motivation

Working online is often the most difficult for social people. Many enjoy work for one reason, the people. Going to work can be like visiting with friends. While all of them aren’t perfect, it still brings the camaraderie of having people in the office that are doing the same thing, tackling the same problems, etc. Without the extrinsic motivation of others, working remote will require self-motivation to get things done, but the important thing to remember is that you’re never truly alone.

Most companies have some form of internal communication system so that you can keep up with co-workers and ask for support when needed. Even if you’re working on your own, there are entire Slack communities devoted to bringing entrepreneurs and self-starters together. No matter what you are working on, there are always others out there you can turn to for support.

Nevertheless, your support group is not going to do your work for you. It’s essential for you to find the environment where you feel most motivated to work. For some, this environment is a silent room. Yet for others, some background noise is necessary. Experiment with different locations such as your home, the local public library, a nearby coffee shop, etc. and take note of your motivation in each location.

Environment is likely not the only factor either. If you don’t have goals to shoot for, your motivation may never be very high. Apps like 7geese can help you set goals and continually track your performance against them so you’re always on task. If you’re working in the right environment and you’re tracking performance over time, then you’re well on your way to remote working success.

Plan and Be Organized

If you are going to be successful, you need to be organized. Just as you are when you are in an office, have everything you need in place so that it is accessible and you know where it is. Ensure that you know where your work supplies are as well. Also, attack each day with a plan. It is recommended that you have a planner or a large calendar on the desk, so that you can mark deadlines.  It’s the only way to get things done when they need to be.  The goal is to treat working remotely just like you would when working in an office.

Additional Considerations For Starting Your Own Business

Part of making working online work for you is having the ability to do so in the first place. You could try to negotiate a remote working policy with your employer or find a new job that has remote benefits. But, for many individuals the most attractive option is to start working for yourself. Starting your own online business is an exciting adventure, but it does come with additional difficulties. One of the biggest hurdles self-employed individuals have to overcome are the financial difficulties.

When you’re running your own business, you’re in charge of the finances. You have to account for taxes and you have to make sure you’re operating with net income that can support you. Religiously keep track of all of your income and expenses so that you know how much you’re making and how much you’re spending. There are many online bookkeeping systems available for you to use, but even Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel will get the job done. Additionally, always set aside 25-30% of each paycheck you receive for taxes. Doing so will ensure you never fall short when tax time rolls around. Consciously making an effort to do these two things will help you keep your newly founded online business afloat.

Working online can be extremely rewarding, but is also extremely difficult.  It’s up to you to make it work successfully!

About the Author

Michael Benson is a bankruptcy attorney in St. Louis. As a certified attorney, public accountant, and Series 7 investor, Michael spends his time online and offline helping individuals work their way to financial stability/freedom.


Categories: Earn Money Online

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September 28, 2017 How to Make Working Online Work for You