Overworked as a remote developer or freelancer? Then stick to an optimized work schedule

Are you an overworked freelancer or remote developer? Have your work days been morphing into 12+ hour marathons?

As a natural workaholic, I found myself early-on in my remote career working 16 hour days from home. Two years later, I’m now far more productive and working just 3 – 6 hours a day.

What has helped me the greatest in getting to that point? By creating an optimized work schedule that caters to my energy levels. And in this blog post, I’ll be covering the three most important aspects of an optimized work schedule.

Chunking a part of your day for communication

Reserve a finite chunk of your day for communication. For example; 30 minutes to 2 hours for email, video conference calls, syncing-up over Slack, etc.

My employer is located many time zones away from me, so this means starting my workday as early as 5 am. And in the early morning is when I’m least able to focus. So for me, I spend the first two hours of my day on handling communication, and then the last 10 minutes for sending out status updates to my remote team members.

Allot time for deep work

Distractions are costly. Especially for those of us who work in creative fields, which includes software and web development.

This is why I have the strict habit of allocating 1 – 3 hours for deep, focused work. This means snoozing your colleagues message notifications and putting on your headphones if your partner or housemate is around.

Once I hit the time allotted for my deep work (no alarms, just casually watch the clock), I’m pretty much done with my work day. Which brings me to the most important part…

Block out the rest of your schedule for living life

Once your scheduled work block or day is over, it’s time to disconnect.

I personally make sure to set my phone to do-not-disturb mode, log off of chat, and put my dedicated work laptop away. And to make my availability clear to my co-workers, I block out my non-working hours on my shared google calendar.

Now it’s time to segue into something outside of your day job. Picking up a book. Go to the gym. Spending time with a loved one. Or working on your side hustle.

Working remotely? What is your current work schedule?