Pursue Your Life Goals While Working Remotely: Kristina Symes

Remote Work Stories
15 October, 2021
Kristina Symes
Kristina Symes

Hi, Can you please introduce yourself?

I am Kristina Symes, born and raised in Lithuania, matured (like the cheese) in the United Kingdom, and now a curious adventurer traveling the world with my international family. Professionally, I am passionate about empowering the growth of knowledge through technology. I am incredibly fortunate to have spent the past seven years doing just that while working alongside innovative technicians, accomplished medical scientists, and business leaders.

What’s your profession, what do you do?

Managing Director

What company do you work for? Are you a freelancer or Digital Nomad?

I work for GIDEON Informatics, a fantastic company that maintains the most comprehensive infectious diseases database in the world and a unique diagnostic toolkit. The work we do is hugely relevant in times of the ongoing public health crisis, so this is a very fulfilling role. The company's work from anywhere policy has allowed me to implement my lifelong dream of becoming a digital nomad.

How did you start with a remote work journey?

I went 100% remote after I joined my current company, GIDEON Informatics. I then spent a year dutifully working the office hours from home until it clicked: there was no reason why I couldn't work just as hard from all the places I wanted to visit! As long as I had a stable internet connection, I was good to go. The final push towards change was Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Workweek - my family and I packed our bags the month I finished reading it. And no, I don't work 4-hour weeks yet, but this book has helped remove a lot of the mental blocks that were holding me back from living my best life.

What do you think are the main benefits of working remotely?

More control over the personal schedule. More family time, more energy to pursue life goals.

I remember when I had to commute for 1 hour to work and back by public transport. This alone would stretch my working day to 10 hours, especially as I continued to work on the go. Add to that an early rise for make-up, dress-up, family prep for school, a 30min walk to the train, overtime after work, and we're looking at a 12-14h day. After this, the only thing I would want was some food and sleep. That's no way to live, like a hamster in the wheel.

I now have enough time to go for a walk after work, help my son with his homework and engage in continuous learning myself as I study the subjects that matter to me. All of this while getting my 8 hours of sleep. It's a dream!

Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?

While there is no substitute for in-person human contact, this is a small price to pay for the sort of freedom that remote work enables.

From the business perspective, however, I can only see advantages. For instance, operating remote means geographic limitations do not apply when hiring talent, and that's why our team is hugely diverse. In fact, nearly every team member is in a different time zone, so our meetings are really productive as everyone comes prepared.

From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favourite countries or cities to work from?

United Kingdom, Cyprus, Lithuania, Croatia, and Andorra. Italy is next. I love Andorra for its 'standard' broadband speed of 300Mbps and majestic mountains. The small village of Cavtat in Croatia has also left a lasting impression.

From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, co-working spaces, coffee shops, or others?

Home! Mingling with strangers during the pandemic is not my thing. Besides, I get to work alongside my husband and son, who studies remotely in a fantastic school (Wolsey Hall Oxford). We would frequently co-work around a big dining table and bring each other tea or coffee. What better working environment could I ask for?

What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?

My co-traveling family and I have put together a long list of destinations we hope to visit over the next few years. Inevitably, we will fall in love with one of our target countries and settle down, but for now, we are enjoying the newfound freedom and the extraordinary learning opportunities presented by this way of life.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!

Many people who worked from home in the past year can attest to this: it is very easy to blur the lines between 'work time' and 'home time'. There is no office door to close, and the computer used for work may inevitably remain readily available by the bed or on the dinner table. Not drawing the line allows work to encroach on the personal life, which can lead to stress or even burnout in the long run. I started taming my workaholism about a year ago, which, to my surprise, has significantly increased my productivity during the designated work hours. My best tip? Get help from your calendar. Add 'Dinner time' and 'Family time' to it and honor these important meetings.

What tools do you use to improve productivity and manage work efficiently?

I use a range of techniques learned from management and self-development books, all of which have added tremendous value to my life.

First, I live from my calendar. Second, I spend the first 15-30 minutes of the day prioritizing my to-do list. I love Richard Branson's technique of marking the top three tasks with an 'A.'  It helps me approach the day with less distraction and focus on things that will have the most significant impact. Third, I follow Tim Ferriss' advice on tackling one of those critical tasks before opening my inbox (aka the box of distractions that may instantly override any existing priorities).

I have noticed that rest improves my productivity, so I aim to get a good night's sleep and no longer work weekends.

How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?

I love this website: PWC Worldwide Tax Summaries https://taxsummaries.pwc.com It tells me all I need to know about tax laws in different countries.

What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely?

Go for it. Chances are, you will never look back.

Kristina Symes's LinkedIn Profile: https://linkedin.com/in/kristinasymes

Kristina Symes's Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/venturouskristina/

Keywords: remote work story, remote work success stories, live remotely, tips working remotely, work from home tips, working from home tips for success, wfh tips, work from home productivity tips.

View all remote work stories
Get exclusive remote work stories and fresh remote jobs, weekly 👇
Onkar By: Onkar