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Interview With SEO Expert & Remote Worker Paddy Moogan

Welcome to the 22nd of the weekly interview series where I will speak a wide range of people who have embraced the working remotely opportunity. We will speak to entrepreneurs, business owners, large organisation workers and freelancers about their trials and tribulations when delving into remote working.

This week I am delighted to interview someone within my profession whose blog has been a regular guidance for me throughout my career. Paddy Moogan is one of my favourite SEO’s within the industry at the moment. If you haven’t had the pleasure of coming across his fantastic SEO blog then I suggest you head over there after reading this interview. You can check it out here.

Paddy’s technical tutorials on a Blogger engagement tool Buzzstream have helped me significantly over the past 6 months and have helped in excelling my own career. It’s no surprise to read that Distilled have kindly allowed Paddy to fulfill  his dream of spending a period of  time living in New Zealand on an extended sabbatical period. Click his name above to follow him on twitter.

Not only is Paddy a real talent within the online world he’s also a top guy to boot. His advice is also pretty nifty too. Enjoy the interview. I say this every week but it’s another really interesting piece from a good guy.

Q: Hi Paddy tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now?

I’m originally from Birmingham in the UK but have lived in London for the last two and a half years since joining Distilled. I’m currently living in New Zealand and will be here for about six months in total before going travelling for about three months. Whilst in New Zealand I’m still doing a bit of work for Distilled and some freelance SEO work.

Q: What company do you work for and what is your role within the organisation?

I’m an SEO Consultant working for Distilled in their London office. Before coming to New Zealand I ran one of the internal SEO teams in the London office as well as running my own SEO projects.

Q: How do you deal with stereotypes from friends in regards to productivity when working from home? i.e.: Sleep until midday, 2 hour lunch breaks etc.

They’re not actually too bad! Although there is the odd comment along the lines of those stereotypes. It doesn’t tend to bother me too much to be honest, I just go with it and don’t argue too much because no matter what I say, they’ll still think I don’t work hard!

Q: What is the most challenging part about working remotely and how do you overcome this?

For me, focusing on one project at a time is quite hard when I’m working remotely. I am fine if I have a single piece of well defined work to do, but if I have quite a few things to do, I sometimes find myself jumping between tasks and not actually getting much done. To overcome this, I’ll create a to-do list on a piece of paper and stick to it. It is only a small thing, but it makes a lot of difference and can motivate you to follow through and get the tasks finished. I also have a good pair of noise cancelling headphones so if I really want to focus, I’ll put those on and stick on Spotify.

Q: What are the main positives around your wandering Nomad style working environment?

Probably being surrounded by stunning scenery. As much as I love London and the view from my office, it doesn’t quite compare to the view I have from my home in New Zealand. It also allows you a lot of flexibility in that you can go out and enjoy the sunshine if it is a nice day which you can’t normally do.

Q: Are you an advocate of work/life balance and how do you try and balance both?

I wouldn’t say I’m an advocate and I’m probably not a great example to be honest. Even now that I’m working remotely and do not have as much work to do, I still find myself working on stuff until quite late. I do try and balance things by getting out the house at least once a day and not being on my laptop 24/7. I am trying to read my Kindle more but it can be a struggle to switch off.

Q: What was a typical day for Paddy while working for Distilled in London and how has this changed since you made the move to New Zealand?

Before I moved to New Zealand, I’d usually be in the Distilled office by 7.45am and work until about 5.30pm. My day was usually made up of managing my own SEO projects, working at client offices, helping my team with their projects and supporting them however I could.

Now, I still try and make sure I’m awake by 9am and clear out emails when I get up. I’ll mainly catchup with news and generally wander around the internet for a while. I’m doing a lot of running now so typically I’ll head down to the gym or go for a run before lunch. After lunch I’ll get my head down on any work I need to do. I’ll break for dinner around 7pm and then do a bit more before watching a film.

Q: Do you have a dedicated office space and what is the importance of having this?

We don’t have a separate office space. We have an open plan kitchen which is next to a huge window so it has lots of natural light which is nice. My working space is a seat at the kitchen table (always the same seat!) so when I’m there, I’m in work mode. Whereas if I have the laptop on the sofa, I’m not intending on doing any real work aside from a few emails maybe. I’m also planning on working on our balcony when the temperature warms up a little more!

Q: Any pictures of your office space?

Paddy Moogan Office Space

Looks like Paddy is missing London.

Q: Do you have any productivity tools you use to keep yourself efficient which may help our readers?

It’s not exactly a tool but I’m a bit fan of the Getting Things Done system made famous by David Allen. I use Omnifocus for Mac to organise my tasks into projects and capture new tasks which I like but to be honest, I pen and a piece of paper works just as well for me.
I really like Pocket which lets me save articles for reading later and means I don’t get distracted too much.

Q: If you could give any advice to our readers before deciding whether remote working is for them then what would it be?

It would be to test yourself first before making the commitment. If your company offers working from home, give it a try and see how productive you are. To be fair to yourself, try it a few times as we all have on and off days. If you’re not as productive, you need to be honest with yourself and ask if it would be the same if you worked remotely permanently.

If your company doesn’t offer working from home, perhaps call in sick but say you can still work from home. It’s a bit sneaky but will let you give things a trial.

Q: Do you believe more organisations should allow those with web based roles to work remotely? If so..how come?

I think they should but there needs to be balance. At Distilled, you have the option of working from home whenever you want, no limits as long as it doesn’t stop you attending meetings or communicating with people. On the whole it has worked great and is a great perk. But I didn’t find myself using it that much because I enjoyed the atmosphere of the office.

I think you need the right culture in order for a working remotely program to work well but if you do, I think it can be great for a business and employees.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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