Although so many of us have been working remotely since March, balancing work from home can take some getting used to. As someone who has had to master the art of remote work since getting yanked out of elementary school for weeks at a time to travel with my parents and choosing independent study for my senior year of high school, it's safe to day, I got the routine down. Whether you love it or hate it, we may be doing this for a while so let's make it as healthy and harmonious as possible.
1. Balance your schedule (breaks, personal, work) the night before.
These days it’s so easy to lose sight of YOU. With work load and personal life blurring lines, it’s important to properly distinguish times for each so neither gets left in the dust. At the end of each day, lay out your schedule for the next day and be sure to include space for personal time – be it your peaceful morning ritual, a quick workout or virtual catchup with friends, schedule it all out the night before. If you’re the type that gets so wrapped up in work that you forget to eat, jot down tentative meal times as well. Your wellbeing is vital to your health and productivity.
One of the best ways to ensure break-time isn’t skipped is to simply allow for space between to-do-list items. Shoot for ten minutes of relaxation between hustles. Your break could be a quick stretch, mindful breathing, chatting with a loved one, or popping outside for a change of scenery. It’s amazing what just a few moments of conscious rest can do to help you revitalize.
Scheduling the night before allows you to hit the ground running the next day without any hesitation or hang ups. Between planning ahead and ensuring you fill your cup throughout the day, you’ve set yourself up for success.
2. Set boundaries
Since work from home has become the new normal for so many, it’s important to create a workspace that’s not only inspiring and organized, but also conducive to focus and peace. Feeling on-edge about constant interruptions, pressure or instability in your space won’t help you thrive at work.
Here are some boundaries to consider to help achieve optimal productivity:
Emotional: Set boundaries with your loved ones or roommates. Let them know your working hours and share your break times with them should they need you.
Physical: If you can, shut your door. If you can’t or prefer it open, identify your space. Set up your computer, your favorite chair, a notebook, or whatever makes you feel productive and comfortable. This helps set the tone to you and others that this is your space of creation and execution.
Mental: If feasible for your job, keep your phone on do not disturb. Check your email and texts in batches vs. constantly being notified. Try 11 am and 3 pm check-ins.
3. Bust out the to-do list
The to-do list items are often the tasks that get swept under the rug the most. Seemingly so easy, but so often procrastinated or forgotten.
In other words, “If it takes 2 minutes or less, do it now.” This phrase comes from author and efficiency expert, James Clear. I like applying this rule as soon as I start my work day. After my personal morning ritual, consisting of meditation and yoga, I will get straight to my to-do list items. I identify these items as the simple, quite possibly mundane tasks that take two minutes or less.
Dust off those yellow legal pads and make a to-do list during your nightly planning for the following day and check off those items as soon as you begin your day to eliminate added mind-clutter. You’ll quickly notice how much better you can sink into the serious projects afterwards.
What helps your at-home work routine feel balanced? Let me know how it goes for you in the comments!