Business cases

How I learned to balance work and passion through remote work?

Kasia Cieslak
Kasia Cieslak
October 15, 2018
Night mode

Cornudella the Montsant, Catalonia, Spain

I had never thought about warm clothes, until I booked airplane tickets for a winter climbing trip. This winter, I wish I had changed my approach. I have tend to spend the Christmas holiday together with my friends since I started climbing. This’s how we traditionally escape from the gloomy Polish weather. Therefore, we made the decision to choose Spain as our winter destination.
The Spanish weather was always in my mind as a guarantee of sunshine. When we arrived, I realised that my grandma’s sweater would be my main outfit.


I gave up all hope of ever wearing my colorful climbing clothes.

Reality VS Perception

The 14 climbing days were dramatically reduced to 3 without heavy rain and snow. What’s more this weather contributed to my poor health condition. I remembered one of these mornings when I woke up and thought - Well, looks like I’m stuck here. My previous expectations of the season had vanished. I didn’t want to come back earlier so I tried to change my approach.


It was a typical day in the crag, 'hot and sunny'.

Those freezing days produced a lot of ideas in my mind. I started thinking about my short-term and long-distance goals. Finally, before the end of the year people often summarise their previous experience. I’d like to do the same but in my own way. Therefore, I bought a notebook at the county fair and started planning my work goals.

My dream job

Before my winter holiday, I worked as an intern in a marketing department. My daily tasks helped me develop personally but the culture of the organisation made me frustrated. Then, I felt more and more exhausted. Therefore, my decision to quit this job came to me naturally. I was very confused, so I started with some advices from Carl Newport's book - Deep Work.
Due to that, I set myself 5 objectives which were relevant when working with others:

  • Independence
  • Engagement
  • Creativity
  • Courage
  • Good relationships

After that, these goals were adopted to my own goal - which meant a detailed description of what work really means for me. In that way, I found my own definition of my dream job.

First obstacles

I’ve noticed that there’ re a lot of variation in the Polish labour market. In spite of diverse opinions, sometimes I get the feeling like there is no place for humanities graduates. Moreover, seems to me that belief in people views connected to the “employee market” was common rather than an the “employer market”. I cannot imagine myself in the future as a valuable employee. But, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t try to improve.
During my climbing trips I had the chance to meet people from various professions. Most of them worked as developers or freelancers.
I noticed that the can juggle work and climbing effectively. Therefore, I started to ask them about their remote work experience. I saved some of their advice on my new notebook. But I came back to them 6 months later…

Remote work is not a bed of roses: remote work challenges

Most students including me often feel motivated to learn just 2 days before exams. Nevertheless, I cannot be a real student if I only studying. Therefore, I found websites for freelancers with job openings suitable for me. This was a turning point. The third day after I registered 5 organizations expressed an interest and working with me. When I chose one of them I didn’t realise how meaningful it was for my future career goals.

What kind of challenges did I face in my first remote job?

  • Time management
  • Self-motivation
  • Communication with customers
  • Different time zone
  • Technical problems
  • Chronic fatigue


I started my journey working remotely during the Erasmus Programme in Cordoba.

“Failures are the pillars of success”

Thinking about the sentence I thought that each of my failures in life were possible more important than success. What’s more this quote was perfectly reflected in my first remote experience. I noticed that building self-relationships as remote worker and cooperation with also remote employers starts with activities. It means for me the ability to create a transparency around communication. This results are important because I learnt some of the customers behaviour mechanism, measured my work productivity and gained other offers.

How did I manage it?

  • Just 15 minutes - I make an hour-by-hour schedule each evening that includes my priorities and when I’ll work on them. So on Tuesday, I make a schedule for Wednesday.
  • I also scheduled breaks with Pomodoro’s method. For example, after writing an article for two hours, I’ll take a 15-minute break.
  • Classified my daily duties into tasks and goals
  • Various tasks were grouped by duration: under 2 minutes and over 15 minutes
  • Reduced distractions from social media platforms v
  • Home office - away from home - I often works from my favourite cafe
  • Work with other remote workers could create a positive team atmosphere
  • Grouped a lot of meetings and appointments together
  • Turned a spare room into an office


In my view, It was essential to introduce sensible rules that will boost my workforce productivity. After a few weeks of working with other people remote, I felt that my efficiency and motivation increased.
What’s more, I had the feeling that even if there was a "fire", we have a scheme that we can relate to. Through transparent communication I gained trust and I’m not tied down to my life goals. I had never expected that my job would allow me to study or passion pursue. My remote work “just started” to work.

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