Humans are creatures of habit. As much as we like to say that we’re fans of spontaneity, many of us are comforted by our daily routines and are thrown into a spin when they become disrupted – whether it’s something as simple as a traffic jam making us late for work, or a meeting suddenly being canceled at the last minute. With the pandemic causing shops, restaurants and other businesses to temporarily shut their doors and forcing many office workers to work from home, this is something that a lot of us are now realizing firsthand.
There are a lot of changes to get used to when you first swap your office for your home. Gone are the long, often disrupted commutes and the lunchtimes spent chatting with your co-workers. Instead, you’ve suddenly had to adjust to traveling just a few steps to your new workspace and communicating with your team through typed messages, phone calls, and video chats. Even if you’re a freelancer who has always worked remotely, you’re bound to be missing the freedom of working from your favorite coffee shop or a bustling co-working space when you fancy a change of scenery.
Each of these changes, no matter how small they might seem, will make it difficult to maintain your regular schedule. However, it’s important to try to stick to a routine during this time to stay motivated and positive. So, for those of us currently working from home, here’s how you can maintain a regular routine…
If you usually need a 7:00 AM alarm to get you to the office for 9:00 AM, it can be tempting to keep hitting the snooze button as you currently don’t need to factor in traffic, late trains, or any other disruptions to your morning journey. Although you certainly don’t need to start your day as early as usual when you work from home, making an effort to get up at the same time each day will not only make it easier to jump out of bed in the morning, but you’ll feel more alert throughout the day, maintain a sharper focus, and feel more rested as it will be easier to fall asleep at night.
On the days you work, you should also try to give yourself enough time to have a cup of coffee, eat a hearty breakfast, and get ready at a leisurely pace before sitting down at your desk. This will give you more time for your brain to wake up (as well as your body), helping you to be more productive from the get-go.
We all know the temptation of staying in our sweats all day when working from home. It’s not like anyone will notice – right? Unless you’re doing daily video calls with your team, it can be easy to give in and start working in your pajamas – or simply restrict them to your bottom half and try to avoid the mistake of standing up mid-video call! Instead, take the time to get ready as though you were going into the office, as this will instantly put you in the right mindset to work.
By reserving your pajamas for your days off, you can also add some much-needed distinction between your workdays and down days and stop them blurring into one. However, while you should be properly getting dressed, feel free to swap the suit or tight-fitting jeans for something you feel less restricted in – being comfortable can make us more productive, after all.
When you travel to the same workplace 5 days a week, you have a clear set routine; wake up and get ready, commute to the office, do some work, have lunch, do some more work, then commute home at the end of the day – and let’s not forget the coffee breaks that are also scattered in throughout the day! One of the best ways to maintain some structure when working at home is to continue scheduling in time for breaks (including taking a proper lunch break) and switching off your computer completely at the end of the working day.
With no colleagues around to spend your breaks with, it can be all too easy to eat your lunch at your desk at home or keep working through into the late evening. Though overtime is needed from time to time, and you might think this is helping you to be more productive, working without adequate breaks will make you more likely to feel stressed and reach burnout – which can have a detrimental effect on your mental health.
Having something to work towards is essential for keeping us motivated and ensure we actually get those important things done. Though it’s likely that you’re still aiming to achieve certain goals if you’re working during this time (whether from home or from your usual place of work) making a note of these at the beginning of each week and allocating particular goals to be achieved each day will give you something to work towards. This will help you to stay focused at a time when it’s more difficult to be productive.
Though you might be tempted to jot your goals down in your diary to set them in stone, inputting them into a task management app instead will help to keep you on track by reducing the risk of you misplacing your list or putting it down and not looking at it again until a month later. In Ayoa, you can set Due Dates and Reminders so nothing gets forgotten. You even use visual Progress Indicators to regularly update how much of a task has been completed, which will maintain your motivation up until the point you can click that ‘completed’ button!
Are you still struggling to adapt to working from home? With Ayoa’s Mind Mapping, Task Management, and Instant Messaging software, you can maintain strong communication with your team during this difficult time, giving everyone the tools to manage their work and brainstorm great ideas. Being cloud-based and available on various devices, you can also work where and when you need to. Try it for free today.