8 Life Hacks for Remote Workers

female remote worker making french press at home

I’ve been working remotely for five years now, and it’s been a huge blessing and advantage for my family and me. I love being able to create my own calendar, work around my kids’ schedules and still be able to do things around the house or participate in activities outside of work during the day.

That said, working remotely is no cake walk. It’s been a huge learning experience, and it’s something I still have to work at consistently if I want to optimize my productivity.

If you work remotely—or if it’s something you’re considering in the near future—there are definitely some strategies you can use to make it a successful endeavor. Here are some of my best tips for remote workers.

8 Tips for Successfully Working Remotely

  1. Schedule your time, and stick to the plan. Just because you work from home does not mean you shouldn’t have set work hours. In fact, it might actually be more important to have your work hours clearly defined when you work remotely. If you allow the lines between work and home to blur too much, you can end up working way more than you really need to, and work can begin to seep into areas where it doesn’t belong. You’ll be more productive, and your personal life will be more fulfilling, if you stick to set work hours. That also means only responding to work emails and calls during your workday. It can be tempting to answer them when you’re winding down for your day and you’re looking at your phone in bed, but resist. Responding at crazy times sets an expectation for your clients and/or colleagues that you’re available at all times, and that’s not a sustainable framework for your business.
  2. Set up your home office. If remote work is going to be your long-term gig, you need a separate space of your home to work. I get a kick out of social media posts from people saying they’re #workingfromhome, accompanied by photos of a laptop on a bed. I would be asleep in approximately seven minutes if I did that. And I would get about 10% of the things on my to-do list done. It takes a lot of concentration to be productive when you’re working remotely, so it’s vital that you have a designated space for working (and no, it shouldn’t be your bed!).
  3. Invest in your work space. Working from home doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality work materials. On the contrary, this is your opportunity to set up your ideal work space in a way that might not have been possible in a conventional office setting. Hate sitting all day? Get a standing desk. If plants make you happy, set them up around your office. Face the window if you prefer a view. This is your chance to create a space that makes you feel inspired and keeps you productive.
  4. Be on your guard against distractions. This is definitely the hardest one for me. With nobody keeping me accountable but myself, it can be tempting to play reruns of The Office in the background, or mindlessly scroll social media throughout the day. Working remotely means taking on the responsibility of policing yourself against distractions. You might want to turn off all your notifications during work hours, or block certain apps from your phone. Do what you need to do to stay on track.
  5. Don’t forget to get up and moving. By now, we all know how bad it is for us to sit in front of our desks all day. Schedule breaks throughout your day. Take a walk around the neighborhood, or go to the gym for an afternoon class. Whatever you do, don’t stay cooped up in your house for days on end!
  6. Get your creative juices flowing early. Research has shown that most of us are more alert and better able to make decisions mid- to late-morning. By afternoon, we are less alert and less able to make quick connections. We’re also the most creative and prone to ideas right after waking up—which is why writing and brainstorming first thing in the morning can be a great strategy for writers and other creatives. Save more menial, low-creativity tasks for mid-afternoon, as that’s when people usually experience a decline in focus.
  7. Do one thing at a time. I’m pretty sure multitasking is from the devil anyway—but it’s definitely a terrible idea if you’re working remotely. Figure out what your most important tasks are, and tackle them one at a time. This is so crucial. Don’t try bouncing all over the place and expect to get things done.
  8. Set realistic deadlines. Working remotely does not necessarily mean you’ll get things done faster. Err on the side of caution when setting and agreeing to deadlines by giving yourself adequate time to complete projects.

Bonus: If you can, find local friends who also work remotely! It can be so nice to break from routine and have a work date with a friend who also has a remote job. It’s also great to just get away from work and grab lunch out with another remote worker.

What are Your Tips for Working Remotely?

As more and more of us move toward remote work (the percentage of remote workers is steadily increasing), it’s crucial that we develop habits that keep us productive and also prioritize our mental and physical well-being. Do you work remotely? What are some recommendations you’d make for others who might be making the switch to remote work in the near future?

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What Makes for a Life Well-Lived?

A few weeks ago, the world lost a bright, burning light named Rachel Held Evans. Rachel was an incredible writer and speaker whose influence, particularly on people who felt ostracized by the evangelical community, simply can’t be understated. Her death—and, more specifically, the public response to her death—got me thinking about the incredible impact she made during her life. And that got me wondering, what makes for a life well-lived?

Like thousands of others, I’d never met Rachel—but the news of her death hit me like a ton of bricks. It was devastating to find out that this woman whose brave thoughts and words had moved me and challenged me so deeply was now gone. It was heartbreaking to know that her work on this side of Heaven was done. That her husband and small children will now have to go on without her.

What was it about her that made so many of us feel personal devastation at the news of her passing—that prompted thousands to take to social media and remember her with #BecauseofRHE? (If you haven’t, you should really go through some of these posts on Twitter or Instagram. You will be astounded by the impact she had on so many people.)

Love, Grace and Compassion: Fruits of a Well-Lived Life

I don’t think it was because she was immensely popular. Or because she had built some kind of empire around herself and her brand. It certainly wasn’t because she strove to please the masses. Rachel was constantly sparring with Christian leaders about hot button issues that she knew would make her unpopular among many mainstream Christians. And it wasn’t because she had tons of awards or accolades to her name.

I think what made her so dear and precious to so, so many of us was that her life really, truly bore the fruit of a person living out love, grace and compassion. There was just so much evidence of her sincere heart, for Jesus and for people—all of them. Especially the ones who’d been turned off from faith, who had been told they were unworthy and they didn’t belong.

She extended grace and fairness to everyone she came across, even those who completely disagreed with her views. No one was unworthy or unlovable or too far gone in her eyes. We were all worthy of love, dignity and compassion.

A Good Life is a Fruit-Bearing Tree

What makes for a life well-lived? At the end of the day, I believe it comes down to the fruits your life has produced. I don’t think it matters so much what degrees you achieved, what positions of power you held, or which important people you knew.

In the end, a life well-lived will be evidenced by its fruits. Did you make people feel loved—did you include, rather than exclude? Did you stand up for those who needed you? Were you for people, instead of against them? Did your words uplift and heal, rather than wound? Did love and grace leak out of you everywhere you went? Jesus says in Matthew 7:18, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit,” and Proverbs 11:30 tells us, “A good life is a fruit-bearing tree.” The legacy of your life is in the fruit it produced. And that fruit overflows in the lives of the people you touched, long after you might be gone.

It’s hard for me to imagine a world without the wisdom, kindness, and generosity of Rachel Held Evans. It feels like she had so many words left to write, so many more lessons left to teach us. But I am so moved by the fruits of her well-lived life. I am so convicted by the ongoing outpouring of love from those she impacted. There is so much goodness and love in her wake, and her thoughts and words will continue to move hearts even in her physical absence.

Rachel’s Work

This is the kind of life I want to live. So that when all is said and done, the fruits of my life will speak to the kind of person I was. I’m so grateful to Rachel for setting the example.

If you haven’t read any of Rachel’s work, I strongly suggest that you do. You can check out her books and explore her past blog posts here.

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Why Your Website Copy is Important—And How a Website Audit Can Help Improve It

woman evaluating website at a desk

When you think about creating a great website for your business, what aspects do you see as most important? Is it having a beautiful design? Or creating a really amazing user experience? Maybe eye-catching photos?

Of all your top priorities for building a website, would you think to list “copy” at the top? If your answer isn’t a resounding yes, then I really urge you to lean in and allow me to try to change your mind. Because I would assert that—regardless of how visually appealing and user-friendly you make your website—if your copy sucks, your website won’t make near the impact you want it to.

Your Website Copy Should Never Be an Afterthought

Don’t get me wrong—I love a beautiful website as much as the next person. However, far too often, well-meaning business owners go all-out having these amazing websites designed, and then throw in some scraps of copy they found lying around in a file somewhere.

I understand that creating copy for your website takes time and resources. But, like most things in life that are worthwhile, this is a wise investment. It isn’t enough to simply have a beautiful website to which you direct prospective clients. The content of that website is what will ultimately convert your visitors into paying clients.

If you’re expecting to get a significant portion of your business via your website, the quality of your website content is a significant factor in the profitability of your business. Bottom line? The words matter.

What Does Good Website Copy Look Like?

There’s no exact recipe for creating great website copy. As with most creative work, it needs to be tailored to the business and the industry. However, there are some ubiquitous guidelines you can follow to point you in the right direction.

  1. Make it obvious what you have to offer your clients, and do it quickly. You usually have only a few seconds with which to grab a website visitor’s attention. Thus, the very first words they encounter on your site need to give them the information they need to decide whether or not to stick around. It sounds harsh, but it’s just the way of the internet. Unless the subject matter is highly relevant to the reader, they’ll abandon ship quickly. In fact, statistically speaking, most of the people who clicked on this exact blog post I’m writing have probably left the page by this point! And that’s okay—the people who stick around past the first few sentences are generally the ones who will most benefit from what you’re offering. But in order to get those people to stay, you need to pull them in right away with engaging content.
  2. Make a clear call to action. What do you want your potential clients to do once they get to your site? Book a consultation? Sign up for your email list? Donate to a cause? Whatever that most important action is, make a clear and convincing case for your visitor to do it. And then make it easy to do! If it’s even remotely complicated to do what you’re asking, you’ll have a hard time getting responses.
  3. Write to your audience. I talk all the time about the importance of your content having a consistent voice. And this absolutely rings true for your website copy. Make sure your content is easy to read, and that it comes across in a tone that appeals to your clients.
  4. Keep SEO in mind. Creating clear, readable copy that engages readers will have a positive effect on your SEO—but that’s certainly not the only way to optimize your website for search. You also want to use keywords effectively, and follow SEO rules for your website pages and blog posts (utilize headlines, tags, image alt text, etc). There’s a lot that goes into content SEO, which is why it’s particularly helpful to work with a copywriter well-versed in it (hint, hint, I’m right here!).

Sign Up for a Website Content Audit

As a website copywriter, I frequently work with clients to create copy from scratch for their brand-new websites. But I also love to help business owners who already have websites, who just need some help getting their content up to par so they can convert more visitors into clients.

If this is you, I’m excited to extend a special offer to you! For a very limited time, I’m offering a website content audit to new clients for just $75. This service is regularly priced at $199. I’m only offering the promo to the first 5 people who contact me about it, so if this is something you need, don’t wait!

I created the website content audit for business owners who already have websites up and running and want a content expert to evaluate their website copy. The audit is a chance to have someone who specializes in content writing look over your existing website, and offer suggestions on how your site could be improved. I look at your site with SEO in mind, as well as readability, tone, and overall appeal to your audience. I’ll also evaluate the quality of your calls to action, and make suggestions for how you might alter the content to convert more visitors into clients.

More details on the website audit:
  1. I’ll check for all the technical things—grammar, punctuation sentence flow—to ensure your copy sounds clean and professional.
  2. While the technical aspect of your content is important, the marketing element is equally vital. So, I also look at your copy through the lens of readability and SEO. Is your website utilizing keywords optimally? That doesn’t mean just sprinkling keywords around like confetti, either—keywords should be used strategically, and never in a way that sounds forced or overplayed.
  3. Your website content might be eloquently written and full of all the right keywords—but if it’s not set up to convert visitors into clients, then unfortunately all that hard work could be going to waste. When I audit your site, I do so through the eyes of a potential client. Have you honed in on your identified your ideal client and targeted them in your messaging? Are your calls to action clear and easy to understand? Is it easy to contact you? I’ll make suggestions for changes I think would improve the experience for a potential client and make sure you’re converting leads into customers.

Sound good? Sign up for your website audit by May 31st to get the special pricing!

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