I tried all the tips & tricks I could possibly find on improving my work performance, being more productive and healthy without feeling anxious or falling into the trap of burnout while working remotely. They didn’t work for me, and if they don’t work for you either, don’t worry, it’s not your fault.
I remember making to-do lists that became longer by the hour, being the tangible proof of my incapability to accomplish tasks. I imposed a strict schedule on myself to just end up making very inventive excuses whenever I wanted to watch a movie or enjoy the company of my friends a bit longer. My strong determination to work out crashed with my endless to-do list.
I felt anxious all the time because I was worried that the results I delivered weren’t good enough, satisfying enough, fast enough, clear enough…you got the point. My phone knew every wifi in town because I needed to be constantly connected and available. I was a total remote work mess!
At least, that’s what I thought…
My head was so full of tips & tricks that I spent most of my energy trying to puzzle all of them together rather than actually following them. I was totally caught in this spiderweb of vagueness around tips & tricks that were making me feel miserable. I was becoming more anxious than ever, getting dangerously close to burning out.
I still remember waking up in the morning with a mind already shooting at me what I needed to do and how. I was overwhelmed even before getting out of bed. Then, one day, waking up with a racing heart and sweating like I had been playing squash for two hours made me realize that I needed to take care of myself.
What saved me was a bold action that I took instinctively, without rationalizing it: I mentally threw all those tips & tricks in a waste bin. I gave voice to my gut instinct that was now freely screaming in my mind, “FINALLY!!!”
I felt relieved, light, and FREE to decide how my life would be reshaped. By throwing all the tips & tricks away, I could breathe again without the grip of anxiety or feeling constantly chased by burnout. I also knew that by digging a bit deeper, I would find out what I really needed to become a successful remote worker without all the anxiety that tips & tricks implied.
Maybe you aren’t fully convinced to throw tips & tricks in your mental waste bin, right? And it’s ok. I understand that you are probably very used to them and they seem to help you…in the short term. Then, for some reason, you need more tips & tricks to cope with a change in your life, be it a new project or an upsetting video call.
Would You Like To Run A Marathon…With My Shoes On?
Let me share with you what I learned from my 15+ years of remote work: Tips & tricks about remote work best practices are vicious and dangerous. In fact, they not only don’t put you in the right state of mind to succeed, but they also have two big flaws:
Flaw #1 – Not All Tips Are Suitable for You
Someone comes up with “the X tips & tricks to hack your remote work life,” and he tells you that if it worked for him, it must work for you too, right? Wrong! The only thing you have in common with this tips & tricks guru is how you feel, that’s all! Why? Because every tip and trick is part of a strategy, BUT every strategy, pay attention because this is the crucial point, is bound to your unique way of being.
You are a different person than I. You have a different way of looking at things and doing things. Your brain works differently than mine, thank god! It’s totally ok to be different, but that difference needs to be taken into account when building a strategy. Every strategy needs to be tailor-made.
For instance, to-do lists simply don’t work for me. Maybe, they are life-savers for others. The only thing that works for everybody, so for you as well, is understanding how you can come up with your own strategy.
Flaw #2 – Remote Work Tips and Tricks Are As Misleading As An Easter Egg Under A Christmas Tree
Yes, tips & tricks are misleading! Think about it, they are strictly connected to a specific person and his life, right? So, this means that if they are given to you without any word of precaution, you adopt them, but to truly embrace them, you would need to be exactly like the person who came up with them. And that’s not only impossible but also very uncomfortable and dangerous.
It’s like asking you to run a marathon…with my shoes on. Imagine how uncomfortable you would feel, even if you had my same shoe size! That’s what would happen if I gave you MY tips & tricks without a whole lot of explanation, pretending from you to adopt them.
That’s simply crazy!
Instead, there is a much safer approach that you can adopt. An approach that will let you save an enormous amount of time and energy, releasing anxiety while keeping you safe from burnout and still allowing you to be yourself. Are you ready for it?
A New, Anxiety-Free Approach To Improve YOUR Perfect Remote Job Skill Set
Before diving into the approach, let me share two life lessons that I learned the hard way to save you from wasting more time and energy. They will help you create the perfect remote work skill set without needing to commit to every single tip and trick you come across.
It took me years to learn these lessons, but I am sure that you can benefit from them right now. I want to offer you a shortcut to improve your remote work life today. So, don’t skip this part and jump right to the approach. Stay with me for a little longer, and then we will dive into the approach. I promise, ok?
Life Lesson #1 – How To Embrace Remote Work Without Getting Lost In Anxiety And Burnout
As I said before, I was constantly anxious and on the brink of burning out. I compulsively checked my email and dropbox to be ready to take further steps as soon as I got a reply from my boss or some experiment results.
I didn’t fully enjoy my free time. In fact, I didn’t have the feeling that I had free time anymore.
One day, I had a wake-up call from a friend of mine. It felt like an ice-cold shower when I expected warm water to wash over me. You know the feeling? I was at my friend’s place for a relaxing Saturday afternoon. We planned to cook together and watch “The great dictator” in the afternoon. By the way, that movie is still in my top 5 list of the best movies ever made.
Anyway, I didn’t check my phone for the whole morning, but I started fidgeting while we were cooking. The first signs of withdrawal from being disconnected! We were having a lovely conversation. Awesome time, but suddenly and without even noticing it, I took my laptop, switched it on, and I was back online. I was still having a great time, but I was now on the internet.
I fired the browser, checked the email, and sent two emails, one from my boss and another about my results. I zoned out; anxiety kicked in. I expected my friend to patiently wait for me to calm down, reply to my boss and check the results. Then, the ice-cold shower came in the form of a single, devastating question:
- Ale, what is so urgent that can’t wait for two days?
I realized that I wasn’t dealing with a life or death situation. The pressure that I felt came from deep inside me. I had another ah-ha moment like this later on, and that one really pushed me to take serious action because, at that time, my friend’s question unbalanced me but didn’t really sink in.
Over time, I thought about that question more and more to the point that I fully understood that no work-related matter couldn’t wait for two days.
I know you are thinking, “Ale, there are deadlines to respect, and I am behind with work. I need to work at least on Saturday”, right? Well, of course, there are deadlines, but do you have deadlines every day, every weekend, every Monday? If you answered “no” to at least one of my questions, then it means that you CAN take it easy, slow down and allow yourself to rest more, and truly forget about your job. It can wait! No life is at stake.
Life Lesson #2 – Remote Work Is A Brand-New Challenge
I always had the feeling that I missed something when I worked remotely. Struggling with anxiety and burnout wasn’t my goal. I knew that I could enjoy the freedom that remote work gives, but I couldn’t fully enjoy any experience. An important piece of the puzzle was clearly missing, but which one?
The answer came one day while talking to a friend of mine. My relationship with him was very peculiar. Whenever we texted each other, I got very triggered. But whenever we talked face to face, I felt awesome. That day, an epiphany struck me when I was talking to him over dinner.
In person, his voice is full of layers, and the way he moves conveys a much richer message than the words he is speaking. That’s when I went like, “aaahhh…now I understand!”
When working remotely, you deal with a completely different challenge because of the lack of non-verbal communication. Every email, Slack message, social media post, etc., is a real communication challenge.
It lives in its own universe. Even if you Zoom, it requires a trained, empathetic, keen eye to spot the subtleties of non-verbal communication. If you ever wondered why a Zoom meeting is so draining, now you know why. You have to focus hard to stay in the flow of the conversation, while it occurs effortlessly when having a face-to-face meeting.
To recap, the life lesson that I learned is that I need to make peace with the fact that remote work is a brand-new challenge, and it needs to be addressed differently. It requires a skill set that isn’t taught in any textbook, but by following my approach, you can sit in the driver’s seat again.
You can regain control of your life by crafting the best tools for you according to who you are.
Now, enough with the preparation. Let’s dive into the approach as I promised.
The Approach To Improve Your Remote Work Life
Now that you understand that there are no tips & tricks that can magically improve your life and that remote work is a brand-new challenge where nothing is a matter of life or death, you are probably wondering, “how on earth can I navigate a new challenge without any safety line and the weight of anxiety and burnout?”
A totally legit question. And my approach is the answer. I worked with it over and over. I help my clients become better remote workers, and they improve their lives. I am the person who guides, encourages, and nudges them.
They are the brave ones to embrace the approach and get results. I share their happiness and live a fulfilling life. I find it a fair exchange, don’t you think so?
The approach is divided into 5 main sections that I call pillars. Each pillar is structured to make the approach simple, easy to digest, and shareable with others. When you take care of these 5 pillars, you are building solid foundations on top of which you can build whatever life you dream about.
The 5 pillars to improve your remote work performance are:
- Team Player
- Work-Life Integration
Unplugging is often an underestimated pillar. Everybody talks about unplugging, but nobody so far has explained why it’s so important. I’ll tell you why unplugging is so important: because it’s the “thermometer” of your well-being.
When you take care of unplugging, you are basically living a well-balanced life. You are setting healthy boundaries. You deeply understand the value of your work, and you consequently know when enough is enough.
By unplugging correctly, you send a very healthy message to everybody in your network: I know how much I value and the value I create, and I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. I live my life without stress, anxiety, and burnout!
Imagine how lovely working remotely would be if EVERYBODY would unplug correctly. Everybody would bring as much value as possible to everybody else, creating a nurturing and safe environment free from anxiety and burnout.
That’s the elephant in the room that everybody feels in his bones, but almost nobody is willing to acknowledge. Burnout can have several representations, but at its core, burnout means unbearable meaninglessness.
I had all the symptoms of burnout:
- Low energy, check.
- Sleeping much longer than usual, check.
- Feeling angry and irascible, check.
- Feeling sad, check.
- Feeling drained but with a mind in overdrive, check. And I didn’t even drink coffee.
The list on safety and home office notes could go on forever. The point is that listing the symptoms didn’t help me and won’t help you prevent burnout because it doesn’t address the cause. Even when I tell you about my experience and even when I define burnout as unbearable meaninglessness, it still doesn’t address the elephant in the room.
That elephant is being valued. While doing my postdoc in complex networks at the University of Sydney, I had an overwhelming void inside me. I constantly asked myself, “why am I doing it?”, “what is it all about?” “is that it?! Really?”. Have you ever felt this way? Maybe you are going through this phase right now.
Whatever you are going through, finding a way to create value and belonging will set a healthy change in motion. When you learn to adopt value-based actions, you will automatically bring meaning to your life.
And meaning is the white knight that fights against burnout and can win. BUT, don’t forget that even people who find their calling can be easy prey of burnout. Why? Because they don’t learn how to detach from their mission. They don’t know how to unplug!
3. Team Player
This pillar is meant to give you the tools to improve communication, connection, and productivity. When you learn to work as a team, the sky is the limit.
By embracing being a team player, you are committed to learning how to listen actively, communicate compassionately AND effectively. You will be able to talk about values and vision, knowing exactly why you are working on that specific project and how it serves you and other people.
Don’t underestimate the power of communication because, as I said before, online communication follows its own rules. Once you learn to navigate those rules, you master the way you connect to people, even if all the interactions are online.
And guess what happens when you connect to other people remotely? You can talk freely about what’s working and what’s NOT working with the remote team and company. When you get to that level of freedom, there is no anxiety anymore, but only valuable feedback.
Thus, without anxiety, you will be able to focus on creating value. Consequently, you will know what your value is. Can you see where I am headed? Value is at the core of unplugging AND preventing burnout.
From now on, the approach becomes easy. Once the previous three pillars are taken care of, the other two almost stem naturally.
You become visible when you create emotional value, meaning a flow of positive emotions. It means that you are there for the team, supporting them without getting drained, listening to them without being submissive, giving your opinion compassionately and openly without being manipulative.
You will be a driving force for the whole team. Actually, everybody will be a driving force to count on. You will matter. You will be irreplaceable.
5. Work-Life Integration
This last pillar is what keeps everything together. Work-life integration means understanding that work is just a part of life. You are a much richer person than your professional role. So be that person. Integrate work with life without losing focus on who you want to be and how you want to be remembered.
Your life is made of your relationships with other people, passions, hobbies, physical, mental and emotional health, and work. Life is a complex phenomenon like the 5 pillars. They are intertwined, and you will need guidance to navigate them properly.
When people talk about work-life balance, I get so sad because there is nothing to balance. Life and work aren’t fighting against each other. There is a way to align them together and let them work as a team.
Learning to give importance to other aspects of your life means that you will be pushed to find a way to deal with excessive work. You will be inspired to create healthy boundaries that will make unplugging easy.
Then, a positive, virtuous, healthy circle is triggered.
Now you know what the approach is about. It’s a program that gives you the skill set you need to become a remote worker who knows exactly how to communicate effectively and live a value-based life without anxiety and burnout. You will become a person who masters how to unplug, prevent burnout, be a remote team player, be visible and integrate work with life. With this approach in mind, you will build solid foundations to create a real impact in our world.
My Present For You – Course on how to improve yourself while working from home
After explaining to you what remote work is and what you need at the core to become a skilled remote worker without feeling anxious or in burnout, do you have room for improvement?
Do you want to develop the communication, unplugging, value-based skills you need to be a successful remote worker?
Then you can use my present for you. A detailed explanation of the 5 pillars with practical exercises and strategies to digest them deeply. A shortcut that condenses all my experience as a scientist and a certified coach. My present is for everybody who desires to make an impact, creating a better world. It took me 27 months to gather, organize, digest, and process all my life lessons to carve this present for you.
This detailed explanation of the 5 pillars will give you what you need to succeed in life. Click this link, and you will not only get access to the in-depth explanation I promised to you, but you will also be able to interact with me whenever you need support.
But, if you are ready to take action and you want to immediately immerse yourself in the 5 pillars and build your skillset right now, I totally support you, and here is the way: contact me.
Looking forward to seeing you succeed!