My Journey as a Remote Worker. How Did I Survive and Become My Best Version?
I’ve always dreamt of working from home, managing my time, and having more freedom and a better quality of life by being able to travel and work from anywhere in the world.
I have been working remotely for 5 years now and I can say that working from home every day is not as most people think it is. When I started working remotely, my friends and family believed I was working less and that for that reason, I felt more rested and relaxed. But it was actually the opposite; I worked for longer periods of time, had no schedule, and was more tired than ever before. There were days I wasn’t even able to get out of the house or even my chair. And the thing is that the less you move, the less energy you will have. For example, when you realize that it’s already Wednesday and you still haven’t gotten out of your house, you will most likely feel tired and moody and find it hard to focus on your tasks and have a productive day, since energy is created, as well as motivation.
I started to struggle with these symptoms, not quite knowing what to do about them. I felt lazy and started doubting my discipline and performance at work. As a result, feelings of guilt and negative thoughts took over me.
Lucky for me, I’m a really curious person. I like to find answers and make improvements in whatever I do; I like to hack any system, so I started doing some research and what I found is that the main key was… habits. Seems simple, right? Well, not really.
According to James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits”, the book that would change my life in terms of building habits, “On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.”
I took that quote as a challenge. I love to read, learn about new techniques and use myself as an experiment. What did I have to lose?
The first books I read were that one from James and also “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins. They deal with what they call the survival brain, which is the voice that will always lead you to no action.
So what did I do? I took action. I implemented a routine to structure my day and make better use of my time. I started waking up earlier, meditating, working out, and reading before work. I also organized my schedule in advance, determining what I was going to do each hour of the day. I even included breaks to move my body and made sure I ate healthily and stayed hydrated.
Did this work for me? For a while, it did. I then read several books by different authors who talk about conditioning your thoughts. I took cold showers to wake my system, implemented breathing techniques to control my stress levels, walked a thousand steps a day, and so on, all the famous routines you can find online.
But then, eventually, I got tired of them. I wasn’t able to sustain them over time. Habits are supposed to become part of your personality, but that was not the case for me. Don’t get me wrong, they did improve my productivity, but I was feeling more stressed and unhappy than before, because I was implementing these routines and techniques because I had to, not because I wanted to.
I finally realized that the actual key is to know yourself. Now, I try to start the mornings off right and just chill or sometimes work out first. It actually depends on the time of the year. Many times, I feel the need to do something productive as soon as I wake up, even a simple thing, such as making my bed or tidying up the apartment. Then, I get outside to feel the sun and breathe fresh air. This helps me clear my mind and boost my energy to face the day. Simple as that. See? You don’t have to do much.
In conclusion, you just need to take the time to try all the tools and techniques available and see what works best for you. Don’t pressure yourself to do others' routines. Just listen to your body, push it a little bit to create that new habit, understand why you want to do it, and what kind of person you will become if you achieve it. That’s when long-term changes will become a habit.
When new habits become who you are, they never go away. You will become a new and better version of yourself.
Find your voice and you’ll be ok, no matter your routine.
So who do you want to become today? And what are you going to do about it? Think about this and your future self will thank you.