Creating a balanced, productive routine for remote work
When you work in an office setting, you typically follow a routine with fairly consistent start and end times. But when you work remotely, it may be hard to stay on track with your work – or your work-life balance. Use these tips to guide you as you start a new routine to make working from home work for you.
Think back to your normal routine when you commuted
Remember when you had to leave your house to go to the office? Recreating a similar pattern to that routine can help. For example, make sure to allow plenty of time for things like eating breakfast, taking a shower, getting dressed or even exercising.
Getting dressed has psychological benefits
Even if the only other living creature in your house is your pet, it’s hard to feel productive psychologically when you’re still in your pajamas. When you’re new to remote work, staying in your PJs or sweats all day might feel like a perk. But as time goes on, this habit can actually cause a sense of sluggishness by the end of the day. Even if you’ve accomplished a lot, it can feel like your workday never really started if you skip getting dressed.
Putting fresh clothes on can also help draw a line in your head between work and your personal life. You don’t necessarily have to wear something ultra-professional but putting on clothing you didn't sleep in the night before might help you feel more productive, which can turn into being more productive.
Choose breaks, not distractions
There's a difference between intentional breaks and distractions. Creating a schedule and adding in break and mealtimes is one way to keep yourself accountable for bringing yourself away from your work. Taking care of yourself is important – and remember breaks and mealtimes are required. You, your colleagues, your housemates, everyone benefits when you take breaks.
Making breaks a priority also helps to limit distractions, whether it’s a good book, television, social media, other people in your home or even laundry. Whatever might be calling your name, don’t give in every time these things suddenly get your attention. Instead, choose set times to take breaks like you would when you were in the office.
Consider your evening routine
Don't forget to consider your evening routine. No commute in the morning can make it feel easier to stay up late every night binge-watching your favorite show, or whatever might cause you to throw off you morning schedule. Find an evening routine that doesn't add stress to your mornings.
Share your schedule
You always want your colleagues and supervisor to know your start and end times. This will help them know when they can expect you to be responsive to questions and available for meetings. It’s also a good idea to share this schedule with those who live with you. If working from home is new to you, it’s also new to them! Ultimately, sharing your schedule with your colleagues and housemates will provide more accountability for you.
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