When I first started working from home, I suppose you could say I had a routine. My husband would leave for work, usually marking the only hard deadline of my entire day. After seeing him off, I would stumble through getting basically groomed and dressed and then stare at my seemingly endless supply of to dos and emails. Some days I would be paralyzed, wondering what to do first. Other days, I would fly by the seat of my pants and somehow get a whole bunch done, but there would be no way to replicate my success the next day. It felt like someone else was steering the ship and I was just along for the ride.
Looking back on those early days, I did get one thing right: I. Got. Dressed. If you are generally subjected to a corporate office and you are excited to be productive in your jammies, go for it. However, I find that getting dressed and ready for my day is an important way to mark the difference between home time and work time. This is doubly important at the end of my day when I'm ready to stop working but can't seem to transition away from The Things That Can't Seem to Wait. A quick trip upstairs to get out of my "work clothes" does the trick every time.
I wish my second morning routine step had become habit earlier, but it took a string of difficult homeschooling days for me to see the light. A morning meeting sets our day on the right track and lays out our intended schedule. Along with our work and school tasks, we plan out how we are going to nourish ourselves that day. It's a daily reminder to both of us that we are human beings, not human doings. If you are not sure where to start, try writing down the top three to-dos on your mind, one thing you will do to care for your body, and one thing you will do to show care towards yourself. If you don't have a kiddo or coworker to share your daily plans with, a warm beverage of your choice can be a perfect companion.
Once I plan my day (and finish my coffee), I take some time to set up my workspace and create a productive environment. Since I can work from anywhere, sometimes this looks like getting my bag ready to work in a coffee shop. Other days, I settle in to my desk, put some music on, and get my favorite cup of tea. Whatever I need to do, I take at least a few minutes to ground into my surroundings. This step has been especially crucial during those times when I am traveling or our week is particularly hectic. Grounding myself into a productive space wherever I am helps me sink into work time for however long I can.
This three-step ritual has become a regular staple every day. Once I finish setting my space, my mind has naturally shifted towards productivity and there is no struggle to get started. This brain hack builds over the long term, so keep showing up until it sinks in.
If all else fails, a little Queen and a dance party generally lifts the mood. When I'm working remotely and no one's watching...
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