Establish a successful work from home routine. We provide tips to increase your productivity and avoid going stir crazy.
Establish A Successful Work From Home Routine
Working from home is becoming more and more common. Whether it’s a way for your company to save money, a deal you worked out with your boss while you heal a broken leg, a global pandemic, whatever, people are finding themselves working from home more than ever before.
At first, this might sound like the best thing ever.
I get to work in my pajamas?! What?!
Yes, being able to work in your pajamas is a perk. But people quickly find that working from home can lead to complacency and a lack of productivity. That’s why it’s so important to establish a work from home routine.
With over two years of experience as digital nomads, we’ve learned how important it is to have a work routine. As house sitters, we look for house sits that are at least three weeks long so we cause as little disruption to our routine as possible.
So if you find yourself working from home, or think you might be soon, take a look at these tips. They will help you create a successful work from home routine that will keep you productive, energetic, and happy.
Wake Up Early And At The Same Time Every Day
Although you’re working from home, you have to treat it somewhat like you’re going into the office. Since you don’t have a commute, you can maybe sleep in a bit more than you would if you were going into the office. But you don’t want to roll out of bed five minutes before you’re supposed to start working.
Your brain needs time to defog. If you were heading to the office, you’d have plenty of time to get your thoughts in order while getting dressed and ready or during your commute. We suggest giving yourself at least an hour before you start work to really give your brain enough time to wake up.
Eat A Good Breakfast
Your work from home routine should include a healthy breakfast. It shouldn’t be a large breakfast that will have you wanting to roll back into bed. It should be made up of items that will give you energy and keep you feeling full.
Some examples of things to eat in the morning are: eggs, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, fruits, and nuts. To drink we recommend coffee or green tea. We found this article The 12 Best Foods to Eat in the Morning very helpful.
Get Your Body Moving
To keep you on the energy train (woo woo!!) we also suggest you add some movement to your work from home routine. This might mean going for a run, but it doesn’t have to.
Drop off the kids at school or walk them to their bus stop. Take the dog for a walk around the block. Go run a quick errand. All of these things will get the creative juices flowing.
We personally have been doing yoga in the mornings and have noticed that the stretching has helped alleviate the aches and pain we normally had from sitting in front of a computer all day.
Set Your Work Hours
Just as if you were working in the office, set your work hours and stick to them. We’ll be completely honest here and tell you that this is one of the hardest things for us to do. When you have less distractions and get into a flow, it can be hard to turn off the computer.
It’s important to shut down at the end of the day though. To help get you off of your computer, you can schedule things like dinner dates or you may have other obligations like picking up the kids from school. Either way, for your sanity, it is necessary to stop and move on to non-work related activities so you can recharge and refresh.
Create Your Designated Work Area
Although you’re not heading to the office, you should still have a separate work area at home. It doesn’t have to be a whole room; a corner desk or even a dining room table could work. Just make sure to have everything you need within reach like notepads, pens, folders, etc.
Your work space should not be the bed or a couch, trust us. You’ll get comfortable and be tempted to take naps.
Although we house sit and don’t have a home of our own to create this space, we always do this in our temporary homes. Vicky especially loves it when a house has a high kitchen counter; she does her work while standing and feels she gets the most work done like this.
Treat this designated work area just as you would a real office and make sure that if there are others around you that they understand as well. Roommates, significant others, and family members should know that when you are in your work area, they should stay away and not cause distractions. Of course, pets may not always listen…
Establish Your Goals For The Day
When you start your work day, your work from home routine should include setting daily goals. Figure out what you want to accomplish by the end of the day. Write down your tasks and list them by priority.
Doing this will keep you focused and then you can review your list at the end of the day and see how you did. Once you get into a groove, you’ll know which tasks require more time and you’ll be able to better plan out future projects and streamline productivity.
Pro Tip: BTTM team member Mark recommends using Google Calendar as an additional resource to keep organized. He creates separate calendars for different functions. It’s free to use, you can share specific calendars, and it integrates easily with other programs.
Avoid Your Phone
We know it’s hard. But it’s very easy to get lost in Facebook world. It seems like you blink and next thing you know you’ve been on your phone for half an hour. Just like you wouldn’t check your phone all day at the office in front of your boss, you shouldn’t at home either.
Your phone is a distraction and your work productivity will suffer. Save checking your social media for your designated break time.
Speaking of breaks, part of your work from home routine should include established break times. This will give you a chance to clear your head, rest your eyes, and come back to your work fresh and energized.
During your breaks, we suggest getting your body moving a bit. Go check the mail, take a walk around the block, or run a quick errand. If you can get away from your work space and out of the house it’s best.
Your lunch break should also follow these guidelines. Don’t just eat at your desk. If you can, head to a nearby restaurant (if you feel like changing out of your pajamas) or take time to cook a meal. These are all things that will keep you from thinking about work.
Have Some Background Noise
We personally like to work with music on; usually something that’s pretty chill with good beats. Everyone is different though, so we encourage you to find a genre that works best for you. We know someone that works to video game soundtracks because it keeps him pumped and energized.
Some people prefer having the TV on for white noise. We can’t do that because we find it distracting and always end up watching whatever is on, but if that works for you and you’re still able to work productively, then by all means turn it on.
Make Time To Socialize
Working from home can get lonely. Even introverts occasionally need time with others. Make sure to pencil in some face time with people, whether they are coworkers, clients, or your mailman.
Even if you and your coworkers all work from home, you can still schedule a happy hour get-together at a local bar. Or if you can’t physically spend time with the person you want to meet with, schedule a Skype date. Either way, it’s important to not be a complete hermit.
Give Yourself Reviews And Rewards
If you’re working from home for an extended amount of time, remember to review how you’ve been doing. This could be on a monthly or quarterly basis. Be sure to reward yourself for a job well done too. Maybe take an extra long lunch break or buy yourself an expensive bottle of wine after finishing a project early. You’re doing awesome!
Change The Scenery
Our final tip for a successful work from home routine is to change things up once in awhile. This will keep your routine from getting boring and you from going stir crazy.
Instead of casual Friday you could have Coffee Shop Friday. You could also work from a library, mall food court, sandwich shop, or a coworker’s house. We read about one person that likes to work at the neighborhood bar; it has good WiFi, he’s left alone, and he gets a beer when he’s done.
Final Thoughts On A Successful Work From Home Routine
As you can see, there are multiple things you can do to establish a successful work from home routine. Of course, everyone is different so take and tweak the tips that you think will work best for you. And if you have any other tips or suggestions, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. 🙂