The Key to Sane and Productive Remote Work

As someone who has worked professionally in quasi-isolation for 26 years, I can confirm that the breaks in the workday are just as vital as the actual work.

As a certified speaking professional, I spend most of my time in front of large groups, either keynoting at conferences or facilitating workshops in a corporate training environment. But when I’m not in front of an audience, I’m working from a spare bedroom in my home in Mississippi. Today I want to encourage you that the margin in your workday is valuable, and you shouldn’t look back at the end of the day and see it as a waste of time. Not even close.

1.) Schedule breaks.

Some people work 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. Others work for 50 minutes with a 10-minute stretch break. I find setting my timer for 40 minutes and working diligently on a project until the alarm sounds is ideal for my situation. I then take a 20-minute break to take care of something around the house before getting back to work.

2.) Get physical.

If possible, get outside. Take a short walk. Perhaps take some time to stretch or do yoga. This is not a waste of time. Many people will agree that you may feel even more productive once you get back to your desk.

3.) Give thanks each day.

My son’s teacher mailed postcards to her students that read:

“What if you woke up this morning with only what you were thankful for yesterday?”

That probably spoke to me even more than it did him. Use your breaks to call loved ones, check in with coworkers, and write notes of encouragement to the special people in your life.

4.) Give yourself plenty of white space—and grace.

The best-laid plans can run amok. Actually “planning for unplanned time” during the day prevents unexpected interruptions and disruptions from “throwing you for a loop.” Work with intense focus when you are able so you can drop everything without worry if needed.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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