Over the past week, many of us are now finding ourselves working from home, as social distancing is becoming the new norm in this challenging and uncertain time. Some of you may be completely new to working from home and might be finding your work days… oh, a little less productive than you had imagined them to be. For those of us who are seasoned remote workers, we’ve all been there. It’s tough to suddenly transition to remote work life, if you don’t have the structure and a proper routine in place. Here’s how to build an effective routine to make your work-from-home days the most productive.
Stick to the Same Routine
Wake Up and Seize the Day
Although you might not be travelling very far to begin your work day, you should still act as if you are going into an office environment. You need to keep your regular routine to kick-start your work day.
Rise and shine. Wake up at the same time you normally would – no, those extra minutes you now have because you no longer have to commute are not to be used for extra sleep. That’s what the weekend is for, right?
Shower and get dressed for work. OK, you don’t need to put on your best suit. But, try to avoid working from home in your jammies all day (I know, I know… they’re so cozy).
Fuel Your Body
Make an energy-boosting breakfast that will keep your brain working throughout the day. Now that you might have a bit more time on your hands, cooking from home is a great way to take complete control of your health and ensure you are fuelling your body with the proper foods that it needs.
Get Your Work Space Ready
Be sure to prepare your new, remote office space with the equipment and tools that you need to get your work done all in one place. And, try to keep it as neat and organized as possible, so that you are minimizing any additional stressors during an already very stressful time.
Work As You Normally Would
Clock-in to work as you normally would. Proceed with your work day with as much normality as you possibly can. I know things will feel strange and foreign for the first little while – that is totally normal and completely expected. So, don’t worry too much if you’re having a hard time. You will adjust, and your productivity and work ethic in your new work space will improve over time.
Utilize Your Time Wisely
Working from home comes with a whole mountain of distractions that we aren’t normally exposed to and tempted by in a traditional office environment. Keep these distractions out of sight, out of mind.
Unless it is required for your job, it’s best to keep your phone on silent or out of arm’s reach. As it is such a stressful time right now, we might be tempted to reach out to our phones more frequently to check news updates on social media, or check in with our loved ones. Although I strongly encourage you to keep informed about the news and to connect with loved ones to support one another, use your phone intelligently and sparingly throughout your work day. You might want to consider temporarily deleting any social media platforms or de-activating your account if you find that social media use is contributing to increased anxiety.
With many of our commutes being completely eliminated, many of us will find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands. So, what to do with all those extra minutes (or hours) in our days?
Find a Creative Outlet
If we are in fact practicing social distancing with the vigilance and commitment that it requires, many of us will now be incredibly bored and alone. What a world we live in. Take this time alone or with your self-isolation partner to explore your creativity.
Read books, write books, sketch, paint, re-organize your house, re-decorate your living room (with items already in the house, of course – after all, we are avoiding unnecessary shopping trips), begin to plant a garden in your backyard, build something, cook, solve puzzles. Whatever gets you going and keeps your brain stimulated – do it. And, do it often.
We often say to ourselves things like, “If only I had the time to start painting. If only I had the time to cook a healthy meal for my family every night.” Well, now many of us do have that time. Use this time now, while we have it.
Exercise and Take Care of Your Mental Health
Anxiety levels are high right now. I myself feel it, and I know many others who are feeling overwhelmed right now. Although the gyms and yoga studios might be shut down, we have an amazing modern invention at our disposal – YouTube. YouTube has an infinite number of workout videos, from high-intensity cardio workouts, to calming yoga practices.
Many gyms and workout studios are now offering free Instagram live streams of their classes. So, take a look at your local gym to see if they are doing so as well.
If organized workouts aren’t your thing, get outside. But, proceed with caution and make smart decisions. Only choose outdoor environments where you can practice safe social distancing. Go on a bike ride, go for a run, take your dog out for a walk, take yourself out for a walk. Do what you need to do (at a healthy distance from others) to keep your body and mind active and healthy.
Transitioning to remote work life, while maintaining the same productivity in your work, as well as the balance in your work and home life, can be incredibly challenging. Be patient and adjust your routine as needed to get to that level of productivity you wish to achieve. Continue to share with your colleagues and friends what is and what isn’t serving you in your work-from-home environment. Bouncing ideas off of each other is incredibly helpful and appreciated especially by those who are completely new to this type of work-life balance.
Please share with us any tips and advice you have in the comments below.
Keep healthy and well, everyone! We are all in this together.