Even after almost a year (yikes!) of work from home life, creating structure when your home suddenly becomes your workplace too can be difficult. For many of us, we’re only just getting back into the swing of things post-Christmas break. Maybe you’re finding the transition pretty manageable but the routine is starting to get a bit stale and dare we say it, you miss your commute just for a change of scenery. Yeah, we feel you.
With that in mind, check out these five simple tips to help improve your work from home routine, shake things up a little and create a routine that helps you show up to your home office at your best each day.
1. Think about how you want your routine to make you feel
The whole point of creating a routine is to get the best from ourselves. Therefore it’s important to think about HOW you want the routine to benefit your day to day and how you want it to feel. How do you want to feel as you end each work day? Do you want to feel organised, like you’re on top of everything? Do you want to feel relaxed and generally less stressed about things? Do you want to spend your days working at your own pace? Is there a shift you’d like to make in terms of feeling under pressure or stressed about the pace of each day?
Once you’ve established how you want to feel each day and which of those feelings are most important to you, then you can start putting things in place that will help you to achieve those feelings.
For example, if one of the feelings you identified was feeling more in control of your day and taking it at a pace that works for you. Could you factor in a slower morning to help you ease into the day from a place of calmness? What if you crafted a morning routine, prior to starting work that reflected this? Is there space to introduce yoga or gentle exercise before or after work? If you spend time doing the activities that help you to feel chilled, you’ll be much more likely to enter your working day in a relaxed headspace and approach tasks with a level head.
At this point in the game, working from home, socialising (virtually) from home, relaxing from home – it’s all getting a little old and for many of us, there’s a need to shake things up a little. What was working for you before Christmas, may not be working for you now and that’s ok. You don’t have to stick to just one routine and keep putting up with it if you find it’s not working for you. Try different things like getting up earlier and doing work when you feel most awake and refreshed or vice versa if you find afternoons and late evenings are more productive for you. Maybe you’re someone who works better in short bursts throughout the day so try factoring in more breaks. Experiment as much as possible if you find yourself feeling flat or frustrated with your day to day routines. As creatures of habit it can be easy to slip into a routine that feels comfortable but may not be the most effective so keep an open mind and try as many different things as you can.
3. Make sure you’re recording the results
If you have embraced experimentation with new routines, make sure you’re taking note of what you’ve tried and how it’s helped (or not). Keep reminding yourself of that initial idea and linking your routine and activities to how they’re making you feel. Maybe you find the early mornings just don’t work for you and you’re struggling to stay awake throughout the day or maybe those shorter bursts held the key to a productive working day for you. Keep track of that somewhere. You could even keep a list on your phone of these different activities for tackling productivity slumps.
4. Give it time
Habits and routines take time to solidify so make sure for every new routine you try, you give it a good amount of time to test drive. Dedicate at least a few days or a week to trying out new routines before determining if they’re for you or not. It takes both our bodies and our minds time to adapt, particularly if you’re incorporating something that affects our sleeping pattern, such as getting up earlier. We can’t just flick a switch from getting up and feeling rested at 9am to waking at 6am and still feeling energised every day. Take time to adjust to that even by getting up just 30 minutes earlier than normal and build yourself up to that 6am start. Consider some of the changes new routines may call for in other areas of your life. Again, using the early alarm example, this may call for adapting your evening routine so you can still get a good night’s sleep.
5. Stay flexible
You want to avoid your new routine feeling restrictive. Unexpected things crop up all the time, especially in the current climate whether its new client work, homeschooling or your health. Don’t beat yourself up if you need to move things around or you don’t stick to the routine every single day. If you miss one day, start again tomorrow. The whole point of creating a routine is embracing things that allow you to get the most out of your day and yourself, not to berate yourself when it doesn’t go exactly to plan.
These routines are there to support you, to help find structure in your day to day lives. Craft these routines to work for you and not against you. If you’re having an off day, go back to the first point, focusing on how you want your routines to make you feel. How can you bring yourself back to that?