Beat The Zzz: How To Work Late As A Remote Employee

Remote Working Late Post

Burning the midnight oil. In the CPA world, this can be seen as a badge of honor. The fastest path to the partner circle. Waking up early has some great benefits and if you can swing waking up earlier to get in productive time, we recommend to jump on that.

Sometimes, however, you just won’t have a choice. April 15th is approaching at light speed and work needs to get out the door. There’s research to prove 8 hours of sleep is the recommended minimum amount to be the most productive.

However, most of us can only manage to squeeze in a solid 6 hours, especially during the heat of busy season. Therefore, to aid in your success as a remote worker, here are 9 tips and tricks you can use to work late as a remote employee.

Tips To Work Late As A Remote Employee

1. If you keep dozing off, just TAKE A POWER NAP

There’s been too many times spent sitting in front of a computer to only drift off, head leaning up against the wall or bed to then jerk up, wide-eyed, and try to dive back into work.

All your night winds up being filled with the “Am I awake or not?” game. Most of the time you’re just deleting the “ddddddddddddd……” on your work after dozing off mid-sentence pressed on the keyboard.

So what is the best way to stay awake?

Take a power sleep for 2-3 hours. Set an alarm, sleep, and when it goes off, get up right away. Walk around, as you’ll still be drowsy, then get back into it. But, bottom-line, go to sleep if your body is screaming for it!

2. Utilize Coffee As A Backup, When Necessary

Caffeine can really do a nasty number on your sleep cycle and your health, but there’s no doubt a shot of it won’t keep your fingers moving and your eyes propped open. Most likely, however, you will crash hard in a few hours.

The caffeine essentially blocks the signal to your brain that you’re tired which is why you can stay awake. Much like a hangover after a bender, you’re most likely going to crash with a headache after losing sleep on the caffeine drug. But anything for the clients, right?

Take caffeine in moderation but take it before the work starts not while doing it.

3. Check Social Media 1x During The Binge-Work Session

Look, at 2 in the morning, most of your friends are going to be tucked in their beds. Thus, nothing much new is going to show up on your social media sites.

Yes, go ahead, when you need a quick break to procrastinate, and indulge yourself in a minute of social-media eating. After which, get back to work and onwards. Nothing is going to change until 8am on social media, so enjoy the disciplined break.

4. Stay Away From Junk Food

Junk food is usually full of carbohydrates & sugar. Both make you sleepy. Ever wonder why after a big meal you feel sleepy? Well, first think about the big meal you just ate. CHances are it was either packed full of sugar or carbs that is now draining all of your energy (chips, breads, desserts etc.).

Instead, eat energy boosting foods, like veggies, nuts and even consider downing a few bottles of water. Your body will replenish its nutrients and be ready to attack the next workpaper.

5. Keep Your Body Moving

Staring at a white computer screen with tiny little Excel boxes, for 12 hours straight, can be enough to take you over the edge. After awhile, your eyelids will start to sag and your concentration’s busted.

The trick is to move around every 30 minutes as the blood flow will keep you awake and your eyes get a break from staring at a screen.

When you wake up from your power nap, the best thing to do is to start moving around right away. Any exercise puts oxygen into the brain which starves off melatonin (what causes sleep onset at night). Do jumping jacks. Walk around your house. Take your dog out for a late night walk. Anything to keep you moving and allow you to continue to work late as a remote employee.

Tools and Extensions for Pulling Your All-Nighter:

Yes, there are those nights that it honestly just does not make sense to go to sleep. Maybe it’s already 4:00am, and the sun will begin to rise in an hour. What’s the point of trying to get in 1 hour of sleep when you need to just finish this last few sections of your engagement.

If you find yourself needing to pull an all-nighter, here are some tools to utilize:

1. F.Lux Blue Light Filter

It’s not healthy to be looking at screens while in a dark room. At night, you might not be able to avoid this.

Solution: F.Lux.

It removes the blue light in your screens. The blue light fakes out your brain to tell it that it’s daytime out (your brain adjusts at night knowing it is ready to sleep).

For pulling all-nighters, this might sound great, but the effects are horrendous: Worse eyesight, bad headaches, terrible night of sleep afterwards. F.Lux helps with all of this and gives your eyes a break.

2. FocusAtWill

Instead of jamming out to Taylor Swift while working (which can be distracting, but fun no doubt), FocusAtWill plays “science-backed” music to help a brain focus better.

It’s not free (albeit you could find examples of it for free on Youtube), but it is relaxing.

Music you’re familiar with can be distracting as you want to sing along to it, dance, want to look up the video online and more.

FocusAtWill is all instrumental music for the most part. Relax.

3. Todoist ‘To-Do’ Chrome Extension

While scrambling to get client work done, it can be easy to forget all the aspects of an engagement and even forget work.

Being tired and under-sleeping triggers some memory loss. Instead, during the day, put in ALL the to-do items and check them off as you go.

Don’t waste brain power banging your head against the wall at 3am trying to remember everything. This is the last thing you need to worry about, trying to work late as a remote employee.

4. StayFocused Extension

This extension requires a bit of discipline. It essentially blocks sites you know would be distracting. Or, if not fully blocked, it gives you a short time allowed on a site which you set.

If you follow the rules you put in, the extension does the legwork and keeps you focused. But, since you have the password, you could always cheat. Form the habit of following it and you’ll be surprised how much LESS time you’re spent on time-sucking websites (social media, news sites, cat blogs…)

For the most part, it’s best to get your 8 hours of sleep so to tackle your clients with a fresh head the next day. This isn’t always possible in the grind of tax season so preparation is key.

Remember these tips and download these tools to make your late night workday as productive as possible.

What do you do to prepare to work late as a remote employee?

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