Swapping the daily commute for a leisurely stroll to the kitchen and trading in the office dress code for cozy pajamas might seem like a dream come true. But for many people, working from home is an unflattering blend of productivity and procrastination.
Who knew that finding success in this newfound realm of remote work would hinge on our ability to create routines that keep us focused, sane, and occasionally entertained? It’s crucial to establish routines that maintain productivity and well-being, all while juggling the irresistible allure of Netflix and the snack cabinet.
Brace yourself for a journey through the world of work-from-home routines, as we unveil the secrets to transforming your living room into a productivity powerhouse. Buckle up, and let’s dive in!
Why Establish Routines When Working from Home?
Promote mental well-being
The conscious mind is a powerful tool, but one with all the multitasking abilities of a squirrel on caffeine. You see, our brains, as marvelous as they are, can only juggle so much at once before they start dropping balls left and right. So, how do we preserve our precious mental well-being while working from home? The answer lies in the magical world of routines and habits.
Picture your mind as a computer with limited RAM. Every task you tackle, every decision you make, consumes a little more of that valuable resource. But fear not, for routines and habits are here to save the day! With the right routines, you can ensure that most of your day runs on autopilot, freeing up your mental bandwidth for more important matters – like deciding whether pineapple truly belongs on pizza.
By automating mundane tasks and incorporating healthy habits into our daily routines, we create a well-oiled machine that keeps us focused and on track without overwhelming our delicate gray matter. The result? A happier, less stressed, and more efficient remote worker who can conquer the world from their home office (or at least get through their to-do list).
Meet Kevin, a remote graphic designer who has just embarked on a daring mission to maintain his motivation while conquering the unpredictable world of working from home.
In his pursuit of motivation, Kevin stumbles upon the secret weapon of highly motivated remote workers: routines. His mornings now start with a ceremonious cup of coffee and a brief, yet invigorating, dance-off with his cat, Mr. Whiskers. This morning ritual not only helps Kevin kickstart his day but also solidifies his reputation as the neighborhood’s premier cat-dancing aficionado.
Next, Kevin maps out his daily priorities, a crucial step in the war against procrastination. By breaking his workload into manageable chunks, he unleashes the full force of his productivity, leaving no project behind.
But our hero knows that all work and no play makes Kevin a dull boy. So, he strategically schedules mini-breaks throughout the day to recharge his creative batteries. These breaks often involve him serenading his cat with the sweet melodies of his air guitar or engaging in intense staring contests with his reflection.
Jokes aside, by building structure and rewards into your day, you’ll be able to stay motivated when the going gets tough, in a way that many of your colleagues won’t.
Ah, energy management – the crucial balancing act that remote workers must master to avoid the burnout abyss. As someone who’s experienced burnout first-hand, I’ve become an ardent supporter of a consistent sleep schedule. Rising and retiring at the same time each day creates a solid foundation for maintaining our energy levels, and this simple habit works wonders in keeping burnout at a safe distance.
Remote workers can also embrace the Pomodoro Technique to tackle their tasks with short, focused sprints. By dividing work into 25-minute chunks followed by 5-minute breaks, we give our brains the much-needed opportunity to recharge. As we move through the day, these brief moments of respite ensure that our productivity remains strong without draining our energy reserves.
As the day progresses, incorporating a dose of fresh air and sunlight into our routine provides a revitalizing escape from the confines of our home office. Whether we take a brisk walk, jog around the block, or simply soak in the beauty of nature, these outdoor adventures help clear our minds and replenish our energy.
Increased focus is, perhaps, the superpower that every remote worker most dreams of harnessing. But how do we achieve such a feat in a world brimming with distractions? The answer, my friends, lies in the power of routines.
Routines are like the trusty sidekick that keeps our focus on track, guiding us through the treacherous landscape of working from home. By establishing a series of well-crafted habits, we can resist the siren call of distractions, ensuring that our attention remains firmly on our work.
It’s worth touching on Cal Newport’s concept of “Deep Work” here. By incorporating a daily routine of undisturbed, focused work sessions – free from the clutches of social media and digital distractions – we can delve into the depths of concentration and unlock our brain’s full potential. This sacred time allows us to tackle complex tasks with laser-like precision, elevating our productivity to superhero status.
So what are the 3 top working from home routines? We’re glad you asked.
Routines for Working from Home
1. Start the day early
For those working from home, starting the day early may seem like a cruel punishment, especially if you’re a sworn night owl. However, even the staunchest defenders of late-night Netflix binges may find a hidden treasure in the realm of early mornings.
Research has shown that our cortisol levels – that’s the “stress hormone,” folks – are highest in the morning, which means we’re primed for tackling challenges head-on when we first wake up. Furthermore, a study conducted by Texas University found that students who identified as “morning people” scored a full point higher on their GPAs than their night owl counterparts. Coincidence? I think not!
If you have young kids, you’ll know they have a knack for rousing us from our slumber at the crack of dawn – often with the enthusiasm of a rooster on steroids. Not much fun for parents, right? But perhaps there’s a silver lining to the cruel fate that most parents suffer. After all, these tiny tyrants are simply preparing us for a life of early-morning productivity – a life where we can tackle our work with the focus and determination of a caffeine-fueled ninja.
The blogger Leo Babuta is a shining example of the power of early mornings. He’s famous for having mastered the art of working in the morning, leaving afternoons and evenings free to bask in the joys of family life. Who wouldn’t want to trade a groggy morning commute for a day filled with accomplishment and quality time with loved ones?
So, whether you’re a natural-born early bird or a reluctant night owl, starting your work-from-home day early might just be the secret ingredient to a more productive, focused, and fulfilling life.
2. Take breaks away from your desk
At first glance, working from home might seem like a paradise where our desk, kitchen, and bed all coexist in perfect harmony. But this idyllic existence comes with a hidden danger: the sedentary trap. You see, when our entire world is within arm’s reach, it’s all too easy to become one with our desk chair, slowly morphing into a hunch-backed creature that shuns movement and sunlight.
In an office environment, we have colleagues to lure us away from our screens with the irresistible allure of water cooler gossip or the promise of a fresh pot of coffee. But when working from home, we must rely on our own creativity to break free from the confines of our desk.
So, here are three ingenious ways for remote workers to escape the clutches of sedentariness:
- The Faux Commute: Why not trick your brain into thinking you’re still office-bound by taking a brisk walk or bike ride around the block? This “commute” not only gets your blood pumping but also helps signal the transition from work to relaxation.
- The Dance-Off: Unleash your inner Dancing Queen (or King) by setting a timer for a midday dance break. Choose your favorite tunes, and let loose in the privacy of your own home. Not only will you stretch those desk-bound muscles, but you’ll also boost your mood and energy levels.
- Plant Parenthood: Embrace your green thumb by tending to a small indoor garden for 20 minutes every day. Not only does this provide a much-needed break from your screen, but it also gives you the opportunity to nurture your leafy friends, reaping the rewards of cleaner air and a more serene workspace.
3. Choose a time to end your work and stick to it
For our office-bound counterparts, the act of physically leaving work creates a natural boundary between professional duties and personal life. But for those of us who work from home, the line between “on the clock” and “off the clock” can become blurrier than the plot of a Christopher Nolan film.
Here’s a thought experiment to show the value of regular work hours. Imagine, if you will, a world where you never clock out, perpetually tethered to your inbox like a modern-day Sisyphus. With no set time to end your workday, you could find yourself knee-deep in emails at 3 am, fueled by equal parts caffeine and existential dread. Surely, there must be a better way!
It’s time to take back control and show your boss that, while you may be a remote work superstar, you’re not a 24/7 email-answering machine. Set a time to end your workday and stick to it with the unyielding determination of a honey badger protecting its young. You deserve to have a life outside of work, and setting boundaries is the first step to reclaiming your precious downtime.
Remember, you are a remote worker, not a remote-controlled worker!
- Q: Help! I’m struggling to find motivation to establish a routine while working from home. Any tips?
A: Fear not! Start by setting realistic and attainable goals for your daily routine. Break those goals into bite-sized tasks and celebrate each victory, no matter how small. Keep track of your accomplishments and fine-tune your routine as you go. You’ll be a remote work rockstar in no time!
- Q: The distractions at home are driving me bananas! How can I keep them at bay?
A: Create a designated workspace that’s a haven of focus and productivity. Kindly set boundaries with family members, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones, and allocate specific work hours. Your distractions won’t stand a chance!
- Q: How can I prevent burnout when working from home?
A: Burnout is a real concern when working from home, but it can be prevented with a few simple steps. Set clear boundaries between work and personal time, take regular breaks throughout the day, and schedule time for activities that recharge your batteries. Exercise, mindfulness, and socializing with loved ones are all great ways to prevent burnout and keep your work-from-home routine fresh and enjoyable.
- Q: How often should I take breaks when working from home? I don’t want to become a desk zombie!
A: Good thinking! It’s a good idea to take short breaks every 30-45 minutes and a longer break every couple of hours. Listen to your body and take breaks when you feel your energy and focus waning. A quick walk, stretching, or even a brief moment of mindfulness can do wonders to rejuvenate your mind and keep you at your productive best. Bye-bye, desk zombie!
- Q: How do I strike a work-life balance when my home moonlights as my office?
A: Balance is all about setting boundaries. Carve out a designated workspace, set a specific time to end your workday, and create a ritual to transition from work to relaxation mode. With clear boundaries in place, you’ll master the work-life balancing act like a true tightrope walker.
And there you have it, folks! Our top three tips for creating work-from-home routines that transform you into a productivity powerhouse. By starting the day early, you’ll not only seize the day but also discover the hidden perks of those early-morning coffee-fueled adventures. Taking breaks away from your desk is essential for maintaining your sanity and avoiding the fate of becoming a permanent fixture in your home office, like that poor, forgotten houseplant in the corner.
As for setting a firm end time for your workday, you’ll establish boundaries that remind you that you are, indeed, a human and not a tireless email-slaying machine. It’s important to remember that even the most dedicated remote workers need a break to recharge their batteries and binge-watch their favorite TV shows now and again.
So let’s raise a glass to routines, the unsung heroes of remote work! They may not be flashy or glamorous, but they’re the key to our success and sanity. Here’s to embracing the power of routines and thriving in the wonderful, wacky world of working from home. Cheers!
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.