When we’re in more “normal” circumstances, our lives tend to naturally form some type of routine. Things like your kids’ start time at school, your work hours, and other commitments tend to give our weeks a similar structure. With our lives having changed significantly in the last couple of months, it’s no doubt that many of those routines have changed significantly as well. For many, it might feel like they don’t really have a routine anymore. Though our time may feel much less structured, that is exactly why routine is so important right now. To be at our best, both personally and professionally, many of us need some structure. Using routine to create that is a great way for work-from-home professionals to establish the framework they need.
The real key to routine is in its consistency. Especially now, stress threatens to pull us off track. When you’re committed to a routine though, you have better tools to fight back. Whether it’s staying in bed too late in the morning, staying up too late in the evening, skipping a healthy lunch, or any other tendency stress can push us towards, a consistent routine can help us stay on track with the habits we know are good for us. Waking up around the same time each day, making time for movement, making a healthy meal, these are all simple elements of a routine that give us a sense of stability we can rely on.
Routine can also help us to get into the right mindset. Getting dressed and ready for work, for example, is a routine that helps us get into work mode. Powering down our work phone might be a signal to switch into the personal. Maybe sitting down in a certain seat each morning is your cue to tune into work, while settling into a more comfortable spot in the evening reminds you it’s time to relax. Routines don’t need to be complex. These small repeated actions can have a significant impact on our mindsets.
When are you most productive? If your schedule allows, you may be able to utilize routine to help you harness your most productive hours. If you’re a morning person, committing to sit at your desk first thing might help you capitalize on that energy and motivation. If you work better later in the day, defining a schedule that helps you tackle personal to-dos or get some relaxation in before sitting down to work could be a better use of your time. Creating a routine that helps you maximize your hours can help you get the most from working at home.
Finally, routine is one of our most powerful tools to define the boundary between work and personal. Working from home can often make that divide difficult to maintain. Using your routine to create a framework here can be incredibly helpful. Maybe you start your workday with a cup of coffee at your desk. This can make it more pleasant to sit down to work. Perhaps at the end of your workday you go for a walk outside. These activities can serve as markers between the personal and professional, helping us to keep the balance.
What does your routine look like now that you’re working from home? How have you shaped it to support your success? In what ways does it need more attention? I’d love to hear your thoughts.