5 Productivity hacks in remote teams

Nikola Gjorgievski

Nikola Gjorgievski

Software Engineer

Just imagine being able to get up and work with maximum productivity throughout the entire day.

You could get so many things done.

For over 4 years, I've been developing software and all along, I was able to start working quickly and enthusiastically. I know it's pretty amazing to possess such skills, especially when you are working remotely. Many colleagues admire that. In fact, many are asking me to share my productivity secrets. Today, I am doing just that. How do you stop procrastinating and start working with perfect motivation and high productivity?

#1 Don't overthink 🤯

You are always able to foresee how difficult, or enjoyable a task will be.

When I open my task organizer, the first thing my mind does is: starting to wonder. Will I struggle to finish the task, or make a mistake, or what if the task is not being done properly? These thoughts are just a mirage. When thinking about the consequences, our mind can divert our attention away from actually doing the work.

So, the first thing to do is flip the script. Believe that you can do it and you will do it.  The reality is that there is no perfect solution and you will still achieve positive results as soon as you actually start working.

Stop making excuses and let the benefits of consistent work inspire you to achieve more.

"The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that" ~ Nolan Bushnell

Instead of discouraging yourself and overthinking about the negative aspects, you should just dive right in.

#2 Start small 💡

Without a question, creating high-quality stuff takes time. But if you start now, you can dramatically cut the time required to finish it.

"A journey of thousand miles must begin with a single step"

Instead of focusing on the overwhelming immensity of the entire project, shift your attention to just a single small task. The feeling of being overwhelmed often causes procrastination. Notice yourself when you are procrastinating. Scrolling endlessly on Facebook, watching videos on Youtube, reading weird answers on Quora, or whatever. That's your indicator that you are feeling overwhelmed and you need to break down your goal into smaller chunks.

This is the game shifter. I wish there was someone to tell me this years ago. I tried everything, deleted my Facebook, cut off all distractions, but every single time, I was able to find something better to do, like cleaning my room😩. One day, I stumbled upon a book, "17 Anti-Procrastinaion Hacks" by Dominic Mann. It just blew my mind. The answer was so easy. When I think about all the stuff I need to do to finish a project, my mind is already giving up, even before I start. But when I change my focus to one simple thing, like finishing a small part or simply starting my IDE and looking at the code, my mind is excited to do it. I just think about the first straightforward thing that needs to be done.

Afterwards take the next doable action, whether its refactoring code or just searching the solution on Google. Your mind thinks "Hey, I can do this! It's easy!". This mindset automatically puts you in productive mode.

"Action is the foundational key to all success." - Picasso

#3 Build momentum 🚀

Productive people tend to get one thing done, then another, and another. After each action, they build momentum that pushes them along. The hardest part is to get started. After that, it's much easier to keep being productive. That's why starting small is so important.

For example, going to the gym and exercising may seem difficult at first. But if you find yourself in sports clothes and already at the gym, it's fairly easy to start exercising. That's what building momentum is all about. Do the basic steps to get you started and before you know it, the momentum pushes you towards your goal.

“It takes a leader to create the momentum,
it takes a vision to direct the momentum,
it takes a massive action to build on the momentum,
and it takes self-discipline to sustain the momentum.
Momentum is the bridge between a vision and its results.”
- Farshad Asl

Many highly successful leaders and entrepreneurs develop powerful morning routines which create a wave of momentum that lasts all day.

#4 Make to-do lists 🗒

To-do lists are a great tool for tracking your progress. Each item should be simple, easy and realistic. As you build your momentum, you will find yourself checking things off of your to-do list pretty quickly. The simple action of marking something as "Done", injects dopamine in your body, which further builds your momentum and increases your productivity.

I personally use Trello. It's an app that allows you to make lists with cards in it. You can arrange them whichever way you want and have multiple projects. I follow an approach which I learned from Levels, after seeing it somewhere on Hacker News. Basically, I have two projects: "To do" and "Done". On my "To do" project, I have lists for a year, this month, this week, today and now. When I am doing something, I drag the card to the "now" list. That gives me an immediate sense of action and focus.

When I finish that task, I drag it to the list on the left, which holds all the finished tasks for that week. When the week is finished, I move the entire list to the "Done" project. Sort of archiving it.

This is great because it gives you a sense of satisfaction and it allows you to keep track of how productive your week has been. After a while of doing this, you can open your "Done" board and you will see everything you have done in the past X weeks. You will feel quite productive and proud of yourself! 😊

#5 Set deadlines

College students are somehow able to do an entire semester's work in a single night. On that night, they cut all distractions and are 100% productive. The secret is- Deadlines.

When you set a time constraint for finishing something by a specific time, you create a sort of pressure that motivates you to finish the task.

Maybe the title is a bit misleading because it's not the deadline that pushes you to work, but the pressure. Sometimes I am so deep in my comfort zone, that nothing can convince me to start working. In that moment, all I need is that pressure, that can wake me up, help me beat my excuse-making mind and get me to work.

So that’s how I work!  The power to get up and be motivated is inside you. Use it to build your own productive mindset and create something wonderful. Cheers!