Unexpected Ways Remote Work Changed My Life

publishedabout 2 months ago
5 min read

Hey there, I've missed you! How are you? Thank you for being patient with me while I was away. Running the 1st cohort of the Mastering Remote Leadership course was an exhilarating but also exhausting experience. I've spent the past few weeks resetting and refilling my creative tank. Lots of exciting things are coming in the pipeline, so stay tuned!


When you switch to remote work, you know your working style will change, but it isn't apparent how your life will change. Though less talked about, these changes have an even more significant impact.

Today, I'm going to get personal (something I don't usually do) and talk about the unexpected ways remote work changed my life. Hopefully, this will help you discover what's newly possible so that you can take advantage.

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Person transitioning from an office to an island getaway

Becoming Yourself

A style change is one of the first unexpected changes you may not have noticed but most likely experienced. When I worked in an office, I wore uncomfortable business casual attire. I was typically working as the sole woman on a software team and received lots of unwanted attention. This experience led me to dull my look down to something boring to keep the attention away. As I expressed myself less aesthetically, I also expressed myself less verbally.

But then I was working remotely, and without a dress code or unwanted attention, my style became more comfortable and feminine. For the first time, I had the opportunity to dye my hair fun colors, experiment with new makeup, and try out new fashion until I found a look that felt more me.

Me with purple hair
My purple hair phase

But there's more to this than just looks. It's also about getting to know yourself. Being alone with yourself for long stretches at a time, without having people watch you or societal pressures, means you have the freedom to be yourself.

Who are you when no one is watching? Who are you when you're left to your own devices?

If you take the continuous improvement approach that I've always recommended, you have the added advantage of growing this knowledge daily. As you learn more, you then have the opportunity to put this knowledge into action.

If you know when your creativity is the highest, you can then optimize when you schedule your creative work. If you know how to get yourself in the right mindset, you can create trigger routines and stop leaving your output up to chance or motivation. Finally, if you know your weaknesses, you can set up guardrails to be proactive in catching things early and reduce the chances of your Achilles heel affecting others.

Six years into working remotely, I can say that becoming more yourself leaves you better prepared, more confident, and much happier.

Upgrading Food Habits

Having food sensitivities is never fun. In the office, I would either spend way too much money eating out for lunch or bring something convenient but unappealing. I constantly battled a stomach ache that would leave me distracted and cranky.

Today, I keep healthy ready-to-eat options in my kitchen. In addition, I eat much earlier (4 pm dinnertime!) because I've found intermittent fasting makes me feel better. I also switched to a doctor-recommended plant-based diet because it was way easier to stop eating the foods that made my stomach ache when I had more control over the food I was surrounded by and reduced temptations.

Getting rid of the limited lunch timeframe and having environmental control makes eliminating unhealthy habits so much easier. Whether your bad habits are food, alcohol, or caffeine, recognize that remote work might be your secret key to eliminating them.

One thing to note, abrupt changes to what you eat can cause vitamin deficiencies that can explain some mood and energy issues. Even if you didn't intentionally change your diet, it might have unintentionally happened just from being out of the house less often. If you're feeling lethargic, I highly recommend getting your blood levels checked. It's a quick test with an easy fix. After getting my results, I started taking D and B12 vitamins, which quickly fixed my fatigue.

Settling

One thing we hear a lot about is people becoming nomads once they switch to remote work. They're constantly traveling from country to country with no real home base. We hear less about the people who are parents, homebodies, or who have responsibilities that make the nomadic way of life impractical.

As a homebody, I had zero interest in the nomadic lifestyle. However, I did have a strong interest in the opposite, which became possible when I started remote work.

Previously, I always chased the best company and role. This meant moving on nearly a yearly basis. The moving process itself is always a nightmare, but even beyond that, you have to routinely make new friends, find new services (doctors, restaurants, stores, etc.), and overall restart your entire life. I always hated it.

So when I went remote, I took advantage by settling down. I researched extensively to find a place I would be happiest - having all four seasons, outside the city (but not too far), with all my favorite amenities - and then I bought a house and put down roots. Previously, this stability wouldn't have been possible for me because I wouldn't have wanted to risk my career progression. Now I can have the best of both worlds.

The second part of this is rethinking time off. Even homebodies like me enjoy taking a vacation away sometimes, and now we can do it in a less rushed way.

Me in a ridiculously long, flowy wedding dress standing on the steps of Pruhonice Castle in Prague embracing my husband
My wedding day

For my wedding, we eloped at a castle in Prague and then spent three weeks traveling around Europe at a leisurely pace. Work travel no longer needs to be a lonely experience because your spouse or friend who also works remotely can accompany you. Additionally, I know parents who spend a couple of months abroad in the summertime to introduce their kids to different cultures.

Even if your time off doesn't cover your entire stay, you don't need to rush home because you can work from anywhere. This allows you to take in cities more like a resident than a tourist. Who knows? You might just find an even better place to settle permanently.

The future of work doesn't just affect how we work but also how we live. Becoming aware of what's newly possible will help you break from outdated routines and allow you to upgrade your quality of life.

If working remotely has led to unexpected changes in your life, I'd love to hear from you! How have you upgraded your quality of living?

TLDR

When you switch to remote work, you know your working style will change, but it isn't apparent how your life will change.

From becoming more yourself to breaking bad habits, becoming aware of what’s newly possible will help you upgrade your quality of life.

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Quote of the Week

"It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake." Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness, 1932

In Other News

What did you think of this issue? What do you hope you'll see in the next one? Feel free to reply to this message or DM me on Twitter @mar15sa.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this. Hope you have a lovely day!

Marissa


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