From the ongoing pandemic, to winter weather, to revolutionized workplaces, so many Americans are, and have been, working from home. According to Pew Research Center: “Most workers who say their job responsibilities can mainly be done from home say that, before the pandemic, they rarely or never teleworked. Only one-in-five say they worked from home all or most of the time. Now, 71% of those workers are doing their job from home all or most of the time. And more than half say, given a choice, they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic.”
Given that the work-from-home situation may be permanent for so many, it’s really time that we sit down and figure out a work-from-home routine to get each day started on the right foot.
This strategy is perfect for establishing a new-and-improved morning routine– not just a work-from-home routine. Use it anytime, for any situation!
Wake Up at the Right Time, to The Right Sounds
It should go without saying, but the first step of your perfect morning/work-from-home routine is waking up.
To get the most out of waking up, it’s best to do it at the right time and to the right sound.
So often, when we have work or school to be at or do at a given time, we wake up in just enough time to get there or clock in. While you might think that getting started immediately is setting you up for a successful day, you could actually be doing the opposite. According to a study by Sleep Advisor, as reported in this Eat This, Not That article, checking your notifications and engaging in work/school first thing in the morning can increase stress levels and get you off on the wrong foot.
Instead of sleeping till the last minute, set your alarm early enough that you have plenty of time to “wake up.” In other words, give yourself adequate time in the morning to complete your grounding morning routine.
Speaking of alarms, it’s important to choose the right kind of alarm. Those blaring alarms and loud sirens are not the way to go, according to Dr. James Giordano, Professor in the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University Medical Centre, Washington DC. He says that those jarring sounds that make you jump send your central nervous system into fight-or-flight mode (hence the “jump” or jolt awake), meaning that you are starting your day off as stressed as can be. That said, it’s best to choose an alarm sound that is gentle and soothing, like birds, rain, piano, or your favorite easy listening song.
Once Your Eyes Are Open, Get Moving!
You don’t have to necessarily start your day with a workout, but it is important to get the blood pumping. As your body begins to physically wake up and get energized, it will energize you mentally.
A quick walk to the mailbox, a stroll with the dog, or a stretch on the back porch can start inducing these effects.
If something like yoga or a full-blown workout is something you want to incorporate, get intentional about it! Create a space just for that, so that you can “leave the home behind.” By changing your physical space, you can change your emotional space.
For tips on creating a workout space in your home, check out this blog post we did recently about multi-purpose spaces!
Nourish Your Body
A third aspect you should consider building into your morning/work-from-home routine is how you’re going to nourish your body. Make sure you’re getting your water, firstly, and then consider your coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, etc. Fueling your body intentionally and nutritiously is crucial for a good day!
Take it one step further and plan your drinks and meals. The night before, put your coffee in your brewer or your tea bag in your mug. Fill up the brewer or kettle with water. Keep a glass of water by your bed. Chop up and portion your fruits and veggies. Write down your lunch and dinner ideas. Timeblock some hours during the day to mindfully cook these meals. Keep healthy snacks and bottles of water at your workspace so you can easily refuel!
Nourish The Mind
It’s not just about the body! Getting your mind focused, centered, and excited about the day can really help make for a good work day. There are endless ways of doing this!
Release the Day Before
If you’re waking up still ruminating over yesterday, take this time to let it go. Sit down at your journal with a cup of coffee and write out what’s on your mind just so that it’s out of your head. Let it live somewhere else today. Speak it out loud, if you’re not a fan of journaling.
Focus Your Day
If your mind is reeling through a to-do list the moment you open your eyes, get focused! Grab a pen and paper or a designated planner and write out your to-do list. Be as detailed as possible. We often forget about the little things that make up an activity, which can lead to activities taking longer than expected and either missing out on something at the end of the list, cramming, or spending all day on that list. If you have “get ready for work” on your list, make sure you include shower, brush teeth, change clothes, look for keys/laptop, etc.
Clear Your Mind
If you’re looking to just create a clean mental slate, do an activity that clears your mind of yesterday and today. This could look like reading a book, listening to a podcast or TED Talk, or even watching an episode of your favorite show.
Another great option is to meditate. There are a million different ways to meditate: walking meditation, visualization, mindfulness, and more!
Timeblock Work Time and Breaks
In your calendar, on your phone, asking Alexa or Google Home… whatever you need to do– set reminders and times for working and reminders and times for taking a break. If you have to clock in an 8 hour day, structure something like this:
9:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. = work
10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. = go for a walk
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. = work
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. = lunch
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – work
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. = go for a walk
3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. = work
4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. = close down, prepare for the next day’s tasks
This will help make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally and physically, as well as allow for more productivity.
Don’t Forget the Kids! (Or the Pets!)
Don’t forget as you’re creating your routine to factor in caring for kiddos or fur babies! While you may not be working directly with them (for instance, you plan to do yoga before they wake up), be prepared for interruptions and delays! The dog might hear you padding down the hall and need to go for a walk or the kids might get curious and interrupt your zen. Be gracious and prepared!
Now Write It Out!
Once you figure out a morning routine you’d like to take on, write it out and hang it up somewhere (or in multiple places!) Here’s an example:
- Wake Up – 6:00 a.m. (“Alexa, wake me up every day at 6 a.m. to Tibetan Bowls.”)
- Drink a glass of lemon water
- Walk the Dog, no music. Be Present.
- Feed The Dog
- Stretch and Light Foam Roll – while dog is eating, until 7:00 or until my body feels loose
- Brew Coffee, Take Vitamins
- Write (unload the day before, write what I see to be present, write today’s to do list) and Drink Coffee – Until 7:45
- Tidy Up – Until 8:00 a.m.
- Get Dressed (contacts in, wash face, brush teeth, deodorant, make up, change clothes, fix hair, jewelry) – Until 8:45
- Start Day! – 9 a.m.
- Follow work from home routine and schedule (above!)
What does your new morning routine look like?