Three Key Routines To Aid Successful Homeworking
With so many more people working either from home full time or in a hybrid fashion, it's more important than ever that we understand how to make homeworking work.
Working from home is not just pulling up a chair at the kitchen table and hoping the day goes smoothly. many homeworkers find a solid structure to their day is important to stay on track and maintain a good work-life balance.
Healthy, consistent routines help us achieve our longer-term goals and not get distracted by the many different pulls on our time and attention that occur when we are based at home.
There are three key parts of the day when having a routine in place can make all the difference to how productive you are and how good you feel.
A productive day starts the night before
Some simple preparation the day before gives you a head start on your day. If you don't leave the house for the office, whatever chaos or stresses are around you when you wake up stay with you so having everything organised in the morning can help reduce some of the stress and help you get started more quickly.
A useful routine to get into the night before can include:
- Brain dump: Get all of the tasks for the next day out of your head on to paper so you are less likely to mull over them at night.
- A short to-do-list: Prioritise your first tasks for the morning so you know what you're going to start on first thing.
- Tidy and sort work area so you aren't searching for missing items and pens before you begin in the morning.
- Charge up items such as phones and bluetooth equipment that you use.
- Quick tidy of the house so you're not distracted by chores first thing.
Starting your day on your terms
I have a rule that I don't check my phone before having gone about my morning routine. Checking the phone first thing can instantly put you into work mode, starts your day with other people's problems, and wires your brain for distraction.
If you don't have to commute, you might enjoy taking that time for a walk to give yourself some separation between being at home and being at work. When you work at home, the morning is often a good time to take a moment for self-care or self-development, and start the day on your term without stress of emails and traffic.
Activities people like to do in the morning to set themselves up for the day:
- A morning workout that gets the blood pumping and the body oxygenated.
- Journaling to help you set intentions for the day and get clarity over what you are working towards.
- Meditation to help clear the mind and achieve better focus for the rest of the day.
- Self-development such as books or podcasts to help get you motivated and inspired.
Ending your day with boundaries
It is a common struggle for homeworkers to switch off when work and the laptop are ever present.
Having an end of the day routine can get you into the habit of closing down and become disciplined around your work hours so that you get enough downtime and protect your sleep patterns.
You might find it helpful to book-end the day with another 'commute', even just a walk around the block, to give you that mental separation and change in energy to signal that work has finished.
Useful things to help you switch off include:
- Close the laptop and put it away: It is a simple act which puts one more boundary between you and starting work again.
- Turn off notifications: Emails come through all day and night these days so when you have finished work, make sure you aren't tempted to keep checking your inbox.
- Have a final task: Save a job as a final closing task that signals to you that you've finished. It could be a final meeting or virtual debrief, a social call, or a final inbox clear out.
- Plan an activity: Put something in the diary with a friend not only keeps you accountable, it gives you something to look forward to that will encourage you to turn off.
Editor, The Homeworker