Photo by: Dean Drobot via Canva
So, as it turns out, we may not be heading back to the office just yet. Or maybe ever! And that may be a good thing.
Even though I’ve been working at home for well over a year, the ability to build a solid routine has somewhat evaded me. Stripped of the podcast on my daily commute, the stop at the local coffee shop, and the greetings and chats with coworkers upon arrival, my morning routine has suffered. All these steps worked together to get my brain ready for the workday! Maybe for you, these things will be returning soon. If not, never fear! I’ve got some tips to ensure a successful work-from-home experience.
Full disclosure: this first tip is b-o-r-i-n-g and you’ve heard it before. Set a bedtime and a wakeup time! Your system craves stability in this less-than-stable world, and this is the easiest way to deliver it. With consistent sleep and wake times, it’ll be easier for you to determine exactly when you’re at your most productive. For me, it’s mid-morning to late afternoon. I’m almost useless before 9:30 a.m.! If you’re in the position to choose exactly when you get your work done, try to aim for your most productive window.
Just because the commute has disappeared (and good riddance!), doesn’t mean you have to stay glued to your desk. Don’t be afraid to grab some coffee or lunch around the corner! Take a moment to stretch your legs and engage in a little small talk with your local business owners. You’ll feel more refreshed and ready to work when you get home. And haven’t you cooked enough this year?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—designate a workspace and stick to it. No, we can’t all have bright home offices full of plants and a mini fridge beside the desk. If at all possible, try to have a surface in your home dedicated to the job. Even if that means sitting at the other end of the kitchen table! It’ll help your brain switch into work mode even faster.
Finally, don’t forget to connect with your co-workers. Working from home can feel isolating, and your friends and family might not “get it” when you talk about that super specific issue you tackled that threw off your whole day. Try to set up small happy hours or mid-day Zooms with people on your team or leave time at the beginning or end of a meeting to chat.
Whichever tips you choose to add to your day, remember the most important part of building any routine—repetition! It’ll only stick if you stick to it. In my experience, when I commit to something new for two solid weeks, it’s my best chance to keep it up. Give it a try! Before you know it, you’ll have a brand-new routine.