remote work tips

Remote Workers Interview #3 - Rosa Dolson


Please introduce yourself briefly to our community.

Hi Remote Workers! My name is Rosa Dolson, I’m a remote software engineer. Currently, I’m based out of Bozeman, Montana in the United States. When I’m not behind my computer, I’m usually snuggling my sweet golden retriever, Tucker, or somewhere outside camping, hiking, or riding four wheelers.

What are your main reasons for joining Remote Workers?

The Remote Workers community is full of inspiring individuals that share enthusiasm for remote tech-based careers and nomadic lifestyles. I was naturally drawn to their passion and wanted to be a part of it!

When, how and why did you start working remotely?

My experience with remote work started when I attended my first coding bootcamp around two years ago. Four months later, I was hired by a company that operates on a completely remote basis, and I’ve been working for them ever since. I didn’t start my software development journey expecting to be working remotely, but I am very appreciative that it worked out that way.

Where do you usually work from?

Typically, I work from home. But being remote allows for a lot of variety, and sometimes I chose to work from a coffee shop for the afternoon, or the front seat of a moving vehicle when I am traveling.


What kind of hours do you keep for work?

At this point in time, I work ten hours a day Monday through Thursday. I start my day at 7:00AM and end at 5:00PM. The project I am currently working on is a co-op with a separate company located on the east coast, so with the time difference, this was most ideal schedule.

Do you also travel while working remotely? What are your favourite cities?

Traveling is one of my favorite things about working remotely! I have some exciting trips coming up in the next couple of years, and I’m really looking forward to them! I’m not the biggest fan of cities in general, but some places I do really love are Utah, Oregon, and northern California. And of course, you can’t get much better than Montana in my opinion.

In your opinion, what are the biggest benefits & biggest challenges of working remotely?

I think the biggest benefit is the flexibility it allows, whether that’s giving you the opportunity to travel and work all around the world, or just working from your bed when you feel sick.

The biggest challenges of working remotely are communication in the workplace and technology issues. It’s really easy to fall behind when your internet isn’t working or your computer breaks, and it can be really difficult to maintain a consistent flow of communication between coworkers (which is a necessary part of making progress on a fast-paced project).

Are there any tools do you use on daily basis?

The tools I use on a daily basis for work are Slack, Zoom, GitLab, and Jira. I also use Google Calendar to keep track of work events and meetings. For my personal projects, I like using Trello, though more frequently I find myself just writing notes on paper or in my phone to keep track of what I need to be doing.

How do you stay motivated and focused during the day?

Staying motivated while working from home is not always the easiest, there are a lot of distractions. I find that I am the most productive when I make sure I have a set to-do list, sit in a quiet spot,  and keep my phone turned off. When I find myself getting sidetracked, I like to get up and take a short break in order to refocus, grab a snack, move to a different workspace, and then return to work again.

How do you make sure you switch off from work?

I find it’s the easiest to unplug when I’ve been as productive as possible throughout the day, ideally checking off all the daily tasks on my list. Something about that sense of accomplishment makes it much easier to switch out of work-mode and relax.

On the less productive days, it’s more of a struggle because I feel more obligated to compensate for not getting as many things finished. Those are the days I find I can get burnt out trying to work a lot of extra hours, so I usually have to be very time conscious.  When the end of the day rolls around, I force myself to physically close my laptop and do something else like go to the gym, cook dinner, or play fetch with the dog.


What advice would you give remote beginners that are planning & looking how to start working remotely?

Learn to self motivate, and hold yourself accountable for the work you’re doing (or not doing). Build a portfolio for whatever field you’re trying to get into, and get in contact with as many people in that same line of work as you can. Networking is an awesome way to find work and make friends!

Has your remote job impacted your life outside of work?

Yes, I think it has. It has opened up a lot of opportunities for travel and has allowed me to maintain a much more relaxed lifestyle (If I want to stay in sweats all day, you better believe I’m going to). It has also allowed me to home cook all of my meals, so no more skipping breakfast or buying drive-through lunches (saving money, and staying healthier!).

How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?

I try to maintain as much contact with my co-workers as I can during the day. I communicate with my team via Slack, we have a standup meeting call every single morning, and also the occasional video call or screen share to work through code problems.

Also, I spend a lot of time with friends and family. One of my friends who lives nearby is also a remote software developer, so we work together almost daily.

Would you ever consider returning to a traditional job?

Giving up this lifestyle would be really difficult, so I think I would only return to a traditional job if I had no other options.

Remote Workers Interview #2 - Yolixtly Anderson

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Please introduce yourself briefly to our community.

Hi, my name is Yolixtly Anderson. I am a Mexican software engineer living in Orlando Florida and traveling around the world. As I write this blog post, I am on my way to Osaka Japan, where I will be exploring while working part time on my freelance projects for 3 amazing weeks!

What are your main reasons for joining Remote Workers?

I’ve been a world travel ever since 2013. I’ve visited 14 countries and live in 4: China, India, Mexico and the US. I am what people call a digital nomad. Many of us, choose this path but in my personal case, this nomad life choose me.

When, how and why did you start working remotely?

Two years after I moved to the US in 2014, I switched careers to programming because as a wife of a nomad (literally!), I needed the flexibility to pack and go without missing out the opportunity to have professional growth and a good income.

My first year in the tech industry, I worked for a startup company based in Harrisburg PA. I started working as a full time on site engineer (the first woman engineer in the team). My first experiences working remotely, where the mandatory “work from home” snowy days.

A year passed by, and my husband got a new job, but it was all the way down in Florida. It was time to make my move and requested to become a remote engineer. My boss said yes and I worked for them in a remote bases for about 6 months.

After working for a short time as a contractor for Universal Studios Orlando, I got my first gig thanks to networking. This was the start of a new chapter in my career and the reason why I learned to code: Freelancing full time!

Where do you usually work from?

Learning my way into this remote lifestyle, has not been a straight path and mainly has been because of the lack of human contact. Initially it was a struggle and an emotional drag.

For a minute, I thought remote was not my thing. But yet again new amazing opportunities kept presenting (programming skills are in huge demand), I decided to capitalize from my first experience, focusing on the opportunities that challenges really bring along.

That being said, I mostly work from home, where I have a designated space exclusive for work. Since I love exploring new places in the city, I frequently go to new coffee shops which has contribute to truthfully enjoy my remote lifestyle. Not only I meet and see new people everyday but from time to time I find prospect clients! (So far I have not concrete a client in this manner but the point is practicing networking everywhere I go).

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Do you also travel while working remotely? What are your favourite cities?

The short answer is yes, the reality is I am just starting to really experience that “work from anywhere” perk of my remote life. Orlando is vacation land yes I love to explore this city. Right now I am on my way to Osaka Japan, and later this year I will be in Beijing!

In your opinion, what are the biggest benefits & biggest challenges of working remotely?

In my personal experience, the lack of human contact has been the biggest challenge. Recently, I read the “4 hour work week” book by Timothy Ferris, and a funny big truth was mentioned: “People stay in their onsite jobs (that may not even enjoy) because of the people they work with.”

Like I mentioned before, It is an everyday choice what we do with these challenges, see the true opportunities that they bring or struggle.

The biggest benefit is: Freedom. Once you go remote, you get to choose from where and when to work. It must certainly not compromise deliverables nor quality but learning our own tricks and finding our routine is what makes this remote journey so magical.

Saving time not commuting, is also a big benefit. The challenge is deciding what to do with those extra 10h a week: sleep more, go to the gym, learn something new. Overall, all positive options!

Are there any tools do you use on daily basis?

Yes, since I work in hourly basis, Freshbooks is the best software I’ve tried so far to accurately track my work. And the benefits of time tracking are multiple, from accurate billing hours for you and your client, to increased productivity. The user experience both desktop and mobile is incredible and well synchronized.

As a software engineer, I also practice the Agile methodology for which I use Asana, Jira software along with Trello Boards.

When working remotely you have to be in charge of your day and honor the hours you said you will be working, Google calendar is my solution!

How do you stay motivated and focused during the day?

Using the tools above are the big players when it comes to focus time! Usually I set blocks of time for about 1.5 to 2.5h at a time and always have a 30 min break in between.

This strategy, also helps me his helps me staying motivated by focusing on the immediate next task to complete. My break is my reward!

How do you make sure you switch off from work?

Google Calendar. Honoring my starting and my end chunks of work has been of great help! This however, is a work in progress but I am already seeing the results of this trick.


What advice would you give remote beginners that are planning & looking how to start working remotely?

Make sure you are emotionally prepared for it. Remote lifestyle is the new thing, but with it a huge sense of personal and professional responsibility comes along. No one is watching you, you need to motivate yourself.

My advice is to identify what possible case scenarios could derail you in a given day or by the end of the week when your motivation starts to wear off.. And prepare in advance.

For example: If you know that by Fridays you are tired and may not make up your 8h, then make them up in advance.

Has your remote job impacted your life outside of work?

Absolutely! 2 years into the field, I am living my dream life!

I am exercising more these days, I have more time to cook at home which saves a lot of money. My expenses in general have gone down, I do not have to pay gasoline or parking, nor expensive and unhealthy lunches!

But most importantly, I get to be with my family and with my husband, whom are my priority! Last year for example, I went to Mexico and Albuquerque twice each, to visit family. Right now I am on my way to Japan to meet with my husband who is working there for 5 weeks.

How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?

Believe it or not, social Media! I have found a community of like minded people, and through it, I do frequent #virtualCoffees to talk about industry related topics.

Meetups, I attend a lot of meetups in town and always looking to find more remote workers so we can work together on a given day (yet to happen!)

Take advantage of working remotely and go out and explore!

Would you ever consider returning to a traditional job?

I would not mind but it must be a great cultural environment. However, as I said earlier this nomad life has chosen me, so instead I am looking forward to get my next gig and pursue a freelance solid career!

10 Inspirational Quotes about Remote Work & Remote Teams

'In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.' - Mark Sanborn - Author & Keynote speaker

Communication is really the paramount to building successful remote teams. 10 inspiring quotes from remote workers, industry leaders and influencers. Read and learn lessons from 7 people that have long embraced remote work.


Cali Williams Yost – CEO and Founder of Flex+Strategy Group and Work+Life Fit

'Telecommuting, one of many forms of work-life flexibility, should no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, optional perk mostly used by working moms. These common stereotypes don’t match reality—allowing employees to work remotely is a core business strategy today… We need to de-parent, de-gender, and de-age the perception of the flexible.'

John C Maxwell – Christian Author & Speaker on Leadership

'To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.'

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Michelle Obama, Ex First Lady of USA

'Women are working more, men are understanding their value as caregivers, women are primary breadwinners—I mean, we could go on and on and on. Things are different. So we can’t keep operating like everything is the same, and that’s what many of us have done. And I think it’s up to us to change the conversation.'

David Heinemeier Hansson – Author (Remote: Office Not Required)

'Workers at 37signals needn’t ask permission to go on vacation or specify how much time they’ll take.  We tell them:  just be reasonable, put it on the calendar, and coordinate with your coworkers. If you let them, humans have an amazing power to live up to your high expectations of reasonableness and responsibility.'

Richard Branson – Founder & CEO of Virgin

'We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.'

Jason Fried – Office Not Required author

'As Sir Richard Branson commented in his ode to working remotely: “To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision.”fn3'

'Forcing everyone into the office every day is an organizational SPoF.' 

'One of the secret benefits of using remote workers is that the work itself becomes the yardstick to judge someone's performance.'


For more inspiration, follow #RemoteWorkers on Social Media.