On Working Remotely

In response to Happy Cog’s Ryan Irelan over there, across the Internet at Cognition

Sage advice from a person who’s been doing this for — gads! — five years! I recently moved from Alaska to Nevada, and with the 14% unemployment rate here, I’ve been fortunate to be able to keep my web- and print-design  job with the North Pacific Research Board in Anchorage for the past year.

Anchorage, winter.
I live in the desert, but I work in the sub-Arctic. (T. Schwoerer)

Ryan’s tips boiled down to communication and control of technology, and that’s been the name of the game for me. Be extra responsive. Be super organized.

My own system is simple; I use my native Mac programs for keeping organized:  iCal and Mail, and Mail’s nice To-Do feature that lets one add new tasks directly from an email and sync with iCal. I also treasure my Moleskine (yes, really!) datebook, because the lovely paper and clean design make me happy, and it is nice to be able to write things down sometimes.

But I’m a designer. I’ve learned that I need people around — I can’t do my best work sitting here all by myself, with contact only via teleconference or e-talk. While I will be sad to see my Alaska job end, I look forward to being around Actual People. Their presence aids my design process and keeps me energized.

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