Tips for Longterm Remote Working

Getting Hygge with Remote Work

As more jobs are transitioned into virtual roles, the cannabis industry will have a little bit of culture shock when it comes to how it connects with each other and the community of patients and consumers. While many online and national communities exist, many have been reliant upon local connections, and holistic, in-person meetings, networking events and communities.

Living in a prohibition state and managing a chronic-pain disease, I’ve had to be nimble with being able to leverage technology to stay engaged in the cannabis industry and connected to the community.

After 12 years of working from home for my own business, as well as global Fortune 500s, I’ve picked up a few tricks and techniques for getting shit done without feeling like slowly drowning in endless work.

I established Pretty Lethal Designs as a remote business from the start so that we could work with the best talent and serve clients—from anywhere.  And we’ve done just that, with clients across the globe in Australia, Africa, Europe, Canada and even remote islands.

If the walls are starting to close in or you’re feeling like you’re in a hamster wheel of emails—breathe.

Here’s a few ways to create a better flow for your remote working routine, so you can feel more productive and accomplished:

Set Up for Mental Flow

Claim Your At-Home Work Space

Not everyone can claim an office at home—and that’s totally cool. Those of us with chronic illness and disabilities are used to adjusting to circumstances day by day.  From the kitchen counter to the couch, or even bedroom (on extreme pain days, hey, it’s happened), there are many ways you can create an optimal work setting in any condition.

  • Keep necessities like pens, paper, headphones in a small reusable box or container that can be easily moved around with you. Old product tubes, jars and Birchbox boxes are excellent at this!
  • Make sure you have water, tea, snacks or anything you need to keep yourself fueled without having to get up repeatedly. Just like as if you were in an office or production line, think of your work space as your ‘station’.
Create Your Ideal (as possible) Setting

With distractions all around you, from kids to that pile of dishes that keep catching your eye, it’s important to find ways to create your own ‘happy mental bubble’ around you that keeps your mind and soul calm and ready to focus.  This is a hard one, so don’t worry if you have to experiment to find what works best for you.

  • Use headphones to help drown out unwanted background noise (safely!) when possible. It doesn’t have to be music and it doesn’t have to be both ears.
  • Check out playlists in Spotify’s ‘Focus’ category or sites like Focus@Will for ambient sounds, white noise, sounds of nature and more that help you virtually transport to another place.
  • Explore other ways to settle your nerves by stimulating your senses. Light a candle, turn on a lamp, spritz an essential oil, or whatever you need to set the mood and intention for what you’d like to accomplish.

Set Your Boundaries

Know Your Limits & Actually Stick to Them

It’s so easy to cling to our productivity as a distraction. But despite the temporary satisfaction of feeling ‘busy’, burnout will creep up if you’re always in work mode—even when it doesn’t feel like work.

  • Stick to your hours of business, even in your own mind. If you’re giving an extra hour or having an evening meeting, acknowledge the exception you’re making, and recognize this ‘overtime’ as taking time away from your personal life. This will help maintain better balance when you feel like the rules of time mean nothing.
  • Create a routine that breaks up the day. Just as you’d take a minute to go refill your mug or have a smoke with coworkers, you need breaks when at home, too. Stretch out muscles, get some fresh air, have a quick mid-afternoon dance party. Find quick, simple activities that can be done on your own to avoid falling down a rabbit hole of distraction.
Create Transition to Keep Work Contained

When you’re off to work as usual, typically there’s a transition between your home and work. Whether you’re commuting by train, car, bike or your own two feet, there’s a period of travel that creates space that lets you leave home life behind and redirect to work life. That’s important mental and emotional prep that gets lost when working from home, but, you can create your own virtual commute to get some of the same effects while staying in place.

  • Set a work Theme Song. It’s funny and corny—but, for real— it works! Sit and listen to one song that will lift your spirit and let the motivation pour. It can even change from week to week, what’s important is setting a mental cue that you’re ‘going to work’.
  • Try an easy exercise routine to ‘get out the wiggles’ before you settle in. A quick yoga vinyasa, some lunges or even a few laps walking around the house can get out nerves and create mental clarity. You’re not trying to break into sweat, focus on creating a buffer between your breakfast and emails.

Cross That Shit Off

Feel Better About Your Time

If you’re not already tracking your time, it’s a practice you should aim to cultivate when working at home for long stretches. Not just for managing how you get shit done, but also to feel good about your day, week, month. Though it may seem like a tedious drag, keeping control of your time is more important than ever when weeks start to blur.

  • Spent time on emails? Put it in the calendar. Way to go on follow-up! Focused on a particular task? Great job! Throw it in the calendar.
  • As you get into the flow, set colors to differentiate your tasks by category so you can visually see how your time is used
  • Have a particularly great week? Look back and see what practices, schedules and routines may have helped. Then try them again.
Acknowledge Your Accomplishments

Though keeping track will help you see where your day went, it’s also essential to feel like you’ve accomplished something. At home, we’re not seeing the product of our work live in the world. And that disconnect, paired with a never ending inbox, and it’s easy to feel like you’re on a hamster wheel at home.

  • Make lists and cross that shit off. For real. Write down notes and to-do’s on paper, phone, iPad. Then enjoy the sensation of scratching, scribbling, checkmarking or crossing out items one by one.
  • Try project management software like Trello, Asana, Monday or ProofHub to create more involved lists
  • You can have personal lists, shared lists to keep you accountable or a combination of both

Find Your Online Sesh Space

Find Your Online Cannafam

While Social Media has been spotty for the cannabis industry, with account and content takedowns, there are still thriving pockets of cannabis communities across the web on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more focused ‘social life’ and network, check out some of the many cannabis organizations bringing the community together online.

What’s Your Virtual Sesh Style?

If you’re missing the connection and ritual of smoking with friends, or the gateway to new relationships with a friendly puff and pass at events, there are social-distancing approved ways to virtually come together.

  • Online meet-ups aren’t the chat rooms of yore. Many organizations and communities are holding video meet-ups on Zoom for smoking, learning, networking and more.
  • Tokeativity has a calendar of virtual networking and mindful moment events, with many of their local events switching to online attendance.
  • Attending an online conference may not be the same as wandering an expo in-person, but there’s still a lot of value in hearing the latest news straight from the experts, asking questions through instant message, and connecting with others about it on social.
  • Experiment to find your comfortable combination of connection spaces, and how often you can engage.
  • Don’t be a dick. Be the same kind, empathetic human being as you would in real life. Even though you may be reacting to a picture and some words on a screen, remember there’s (usually) a human being on the other end of that account.

Add a Little Variety

Keep Your Brain Refreshed

Research has again and again has confirmed the importance of downtime to give your brain a break. Not to mention, the best ideas seem to pop up when you’re not thinking about them at all — like in the shower or folding laundry. But by adding something new to the mix, you’re able to keep life interesting even if you’re in the same spot for a long period of time.

  • Bring a little bit of nature inside through small potted plants and windowsill herb gardens
  • Video games and puzzles on your phone can give your brain a new challenge to redirect restlessness
Exercise Your Beautiful Eyes

Inside, we have screens in our face and are looking at things in pretty short range. Be sure you’re taking regular breaks to ease the strain on eye muscles to avoid headaches and trashing your vision.

  • Regularly look outside or at far away objects to give your eyes a screen break
  • Like, right now. Go look at something beautiful outside and stay well.