Remote Worker Series: Angela Lussier
- Thought leadership
- June 20, 2014
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Every week in June we profile a different remote worker from around the globe.
Angela Lussier, @angelalussier
1. What are you working on?
I am currently working on my second book and building a new membership site for my business.
2. What’s the biggest challenge of working remotely right now?
Not giving in to doing what is easy and quick in order to avoid what is not immediately gratifying but much more important for the future of the business.
3. Describe your workspace/ How do you choose a spot to work from?
I go back and forth between my home office and a private study room at my local library. Often, the thing that creates the biggest distraction for me during the day isn’t the pile of last night’s dishes staring at me from the sink or the overflowing pile of mail on my desk, it’s my needy cats whose needs only increase 100 fold when I crack open my laptop.
4. What are the most important types of tools you use as a remote worker (video, chat, email)?
Google calendar so I can see what I am doing/where I am going from my laptop, iPad and iPhone.
I am a big fan of the old fashioned notebook. I like to take it with me wherever I go in case a moment of brilliance strikes and an entire line of copy floats into my head. Somehow, dictating these thoughts to my phone doesn’t work as well as grabbing a pencil and writing directly in my notebook. The ideas flow better and it’s easier for me to string the sentences together the way I imagined them.
I use email sparingly. I only check a few times a day (which was a MAJOR change from the hundreds of times a day I was checking it) and keep my responses short. If a response requires more than a few sentences, I will call the person. Often a long email response results in another long response and I end up spending an hour on 4 or 5 long emails that could have been resolved in a five minute phone call.
I have a personalized daily agenda that I update at the end of each day to plan for tomorrow. The top of the agenda leads with six rules to live by which are typed at the top of the page and always changing. Some of these rules include:
1. Work diligently and vow to always come from a place of excellence.
2. Do not look for shortcuts. Always lay out a plan with a desired goal.
3. The best way to get rich quick is to get rich slow. -Dave Ramsey
Below, I list the top 3 things I will get done that day. Immediately below that, I have a small box for follow-up items and personal to-dos. At the bottom of the sheet, I have a list of questions I go through each night to keep myself accountable. I ask myself if I’ve made money today, spent money today, what I learned, what the best part of my day was, and what I will do better tomorrow. I make myself write down the answers and account for any money spent or made in my spreadsheet. It’s a good way to remind myself that I’m running a business. If too many days go by where I’ve recorded no income, I know I need to shift something right away.
5. What’s the biggest misconception about remote work?
The biggest misconception is that it’s easier than going to an office every day because you don’t have distractions like gossipy co-workers, endless meetings, stop and go commutes, long lunches, and office politics. The reality is that working remotely has its own set of challenges which must be managed and constantly re-evaluated. I have tried about 50 different daily schedules, structured days, boundaries, lifestyle changes, and hourly scheduling methods to be as productive as possible. The truth is, the best way may be different each day and that, in itself, is both the benefit and the difficulty of remote work.
6. Top tips for working remotely?
1. Just because a certain method works for someone else, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Try to get in a rhythm that matches your energy levels, your natural sleep patterns, and times of day that don’t conflict with other things you want to be doing, like going to a class, spending time with family, or watching your favorite sport on TV.
2. Something that works for you today may not work for you tomorrow. If you feel yourself losing momentum, don’t feel like you have to work within the schedule or practice you have created. Instead, do a check-in with yourself and try to gauge what part of the day you think you can be most productive. This may be different until you get into a flow.
3. Working in your pajamas every day is a very seductive part of working from home. It makes you want to scream, “Look Ma! No pants!” and write lots of important emails while laughing to yourself about your Muppet nightgown. I’ve found that when I work this way, everything happens much slower and without as much creative energy. I act like I am about to go to sleep because my brain thinks that’s what I’m going to do because I’m wearing pajamas. I don’t work in pajamas anymore (okay, maybe on the weekends, if I am working then) because putting clothes on and getting ready in the morning is a meditation and practice that prepares me for a day of work, not a day of laying around with my laptop feeling conflicted between watching reruns of Saved By the Bell and writing a press release.
7. Do you think remote employees are more productive?
That question is unanswerable. It all depends on the person and how committed that person is to their job. I would assume a person who doesn’t like his or her job and does the bare minimum to get by while in the office would probably do the same thing at home, while the person who does enjoy his or her job will work diligently at the office and remotely.