As we settle deeper into quarantine life, working from home has taken on a whole new meaning. Admittedly, I've worked from home for as long as this company has been in existence. Also admittedly, I've thought that I needed an office to be successful or that working from home meant I wasn't doing enough.
COVID has changed that. As companies find themselves downsizing and employees fall into a WFH routine, it's given us all an opportunity to revisit priorities.
Personally, I've decided that having an office outside my home isn't necessary and certainly isn't a marker of personal success. But working from home does require some key steps to ensure maximum productivity and a healthy work/life balance. I've found the ability to shut down from work to be key in creating a happy and thriving life.
My top tips for creating a rocking work from home routine are below!
Start your day with a routine
The basis for a rocking WFH routine is a solid morning routine (really the basis for any day!). A morning routine sets you up for success by providing structure and inspiration. By taking care of the important things first and doing a series of tasks that support your wellbeing, you ensure that you perform at your best throughout the day.
My morning routine consists of a glass of water with lemon and some light stretching. Following that, I write in my journal for a few minutes, and then I do a meditation. Finally, I take some time to read or consume content that is inspiring or that's on a topic that I want to learn about. This simple routine frontloads positivity and sets me up for tackling work projects.
Distractions happen, whether you're in the office or not. But distractions while at home can come from a slightly different source–your loved ones. Creating boundaries on when you are working and when you can and cannot be interrupted must be undertaken with understanding and care between all parties involved. After all, you're now in their space too.
Sitting down for a conversation on how your ideal workday will go and what your partner or family can do to support you (and you, them!) will go a long way in ensuring no one gets their feelings hurt.
Implement an end of day routine
One of my favorite parts of the workday is an end of day routine. Sometimes it’s hard to shut off and be able to step away from work when the time is right. But when you don’t disconnect, you are apt to carry it around with you into other things. Therefore an end of workday routine to put a bow on your work is crucial. At the end of the day, I jot a few quick notes in my notebook.
Today I did… This wraps up what you actually did for the day. To-do lists are great but an I-did list shows you what you actually accomplished.
Today I learned... Write down one thing that you learned that day. This keeps impactful messages top of mind and keeps you in the growth mindset.
Tomorrow I need to…Writing down pending projects and crucial reminders for the next day will let you wrap up what you're working on and not feel like you're forgetting something as you leave your desk.
Keep your desk/office/cubby space clear and work-focused
Wherever it is that you are working in your home, it's important to keep the space clean and focused. It's already too easy for us humans to become distracted with pings and emails and notifications; we don't also need the distraction of a loose toy or food-scrap-covered dish lurking in our peripheral.
Keep your workspace clear and you'll be more able to work on...work.
Don't bring work into the bedroom
Keep certain areas of your home as work-free zones. Having separation is healthy for your brain, your family and your home life. It's also another way for your brain to go "ah-ha, we don't work in here. No need to think about that right now".
Do a transition step
Finally, as you shut down shop for the day, implement a transition step or something to signal to your brain that it's time to change tasks. Either a meditation or a short walk are good things for this. This puts your mind at ease and let's your subconscious and body know that it's time to let all that work stuff go.