The most successful people have one thing in common: they’ve figured out how to create a better work routine. Whether they’re running a Fortune 500 company or starting their own business, they know how important it is to create healthy habits that help them reach their full potential at work.
It means creating rituals for yourself, like:
- Making healthy meals and sticking to them
- Waking up early enough so that you start each morning feeling refreshed
- Keeping your phone away from your bed
There are many ways we can improve ourselves every day and become more productive workers in the process.
To get started, try these tips to create structure for your remote or work-from-home schedule.
Create a morning routine you enjoy
You probably know that a morning routine is important, but it’s also easy to forget. For a morning routine that you’re more likely to stick with, you might need a little motivation.
Your morning routine can help set the tone for your day and get your mind focused on what matters most. Focus on the rewards that will stem from daunting tasks so that they feel less like a chore.
It’s fine if there are some mundane tasks involved in making your passion work sustainable. However, it’s important to find a balance between enjoyable and unmotivating to dos.
Set a time to start and end work—and stick to it
To get into the right frame of mind, designate a time to “clock in.” If there’s no set routine, it can be easy to start procrastinating. But, with a designated start time in place, you’ll know what to anticipate each morning (e.g., checking emails).
The same idea applies to ending your workday. If nothing stops you from staying late each night, you increase the chances of working past your productive point.
It might sound obvious, but having an end date at which point your day is done can make all the difference. It’s ok to walk away from the day knowing there’s more to be done tomorrow.
Have a designated workspace
This is one of the best things that you can do for your remote work routine.
When you’re working remotely, it can be challenging to separate “work” and “home.” You’ll have a harder time committing to work when you’re surrounded by distractions, and you may have trouble getting yourself in (and out) of “work mode.”
Creating a designated workspace is imperative. Whether it’s a home office, a coworking space, a private office, or even just a small office nook in your living room, it helps.
Finally, don’t spend time in your workspace if you’re not working.
Working remotely seems fantastic until you realize that it can be difficult to strike a work-life balance. You can have a fantastic work-life balance as a remote worker, but you have to put in a little… work.
As we mentioned before, separating “work” and “home” is challenging when you transition to working from home. You may find yourself overworking and getting burnt out.
Make a commitment to no longer answering (or even opening) work-related emails, texts, or phone calls after you’re done with your workday. In fact, consider turning off email notifications outside of working hours altogether.
Make a list of things to accomplish during the day
Use a task manager or planner to keep track of your to-do list. There are dozens of apps available for this purpose. So, pick one or a few that work best for you—and commit to it.
Programs like Trello and Asana can help keep track of and compartmentalize tasks.
Create a written daily and weekly schedule
When you’re working in a traditional office, someone else makes the schedule for you. Having that structure is great for developing and maintaining a healthy routine.
When you work remotely, you’re on your own. Give yourself structure by writing down a daily and weekly routine.
- Set your daily and weekly work goals.
- Break each one down into smaller goals and tasks and plan how you’re going to conquer them.
- Make sure to check off tasks as you complete them—this can activate the reward center in your brain.
Start your most important tasks first
The most important tasks are often the ones that are the most difficult. Consequently, they can take a significant amount of focus, concentration, and energy. As such, they should be performed earlier in the day.
This is known as “eating the frog.“
Get into a deep work session
One of the most popular productivity tips is to put your phone away for 30 minutes at a time. The idea behind this practice is that it’s easier to resist the urge to check your phone if it’s out of sight. Having your phone out of reach will help with temptation and give you some relief from the constant stream of interruptions.
To get started, unplug your charger and put it in another room. If there are other ways that people can contact you while working—like Slack or Facebook Messenger—close those, too.
Additionally, keep unnecessary browser tabs closed. It might be helpful to set at timer. But, you might find that simply removing these distractions for a chunk of time allows you to better focus.
Work in smaller increments of time
Now, if a timer does work for you, try this. Break up your day into small chunks of time so that you can stay focused on one task at a time. This means setting a timer for 30 minutes (or your desired time) and trying to achieve something in that time period.
You may have heard this advice before—many people say it’s better to work in intervals than sit at your desk all day long. Sitting for too long without moving can make our brains tired and cause us to lose focus.
By taking breaks more frequently throughout the day, your brain can stay more alert. Another reason is that having smaller goals makes them easier to accomplish. To start, try dedicating this time first thing in the morning, after lunch, and shortly before ending your workday. Then, increase the time period or frequency as you see fit.
Stay hydrated and move around
When you’re working, your body is under a bit of stress. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially when you’re focused on your work. To better take care of your body (and mind):
- Keep a large, reusable water bottle at your desk
- Make a habit of refilling it during certain times, i.e. after finishing your coffee, after lunch, etc.
- Stand up or move your body every 20 minutes
- If working at a stand-up desk, walk away from your screen and stretch your body
- Attend movement classes, like The Haven’s midday stretch break meet up
Prioritize self-care during your lunch break
You might be surprised to learn that taking a break from work is part of your job—it’s called lunch, and we’re all guilty of sometimes not taking this break. By taking a lunch break, you can increase your focus and productivity. Additionally, it can calm your mind and body in order to focus on stressful or serious tasks.
Lunch breaks can also be an opportunity for self-care. Taking time out of the office helps reduce stress, increase creativity and allow for better decision making skills.
To encourage this habit, try scheduling meetings before or after noon each day. Further, find an afternoon meeting time that’s off-limits, like noon to 2 p.m., to ensure you taket this break.
Set aside time at the end of the day to reflect
At the end of each day, take a few minutes to reflect on how your day went.
- How did you feel?
- What worked well?
- What didn’t go so well?
Spend some time thinking about how you can make improvements tomorrow, whether it’s updating your to-do list or prioritizing tasks better. If there were any situations that made you feel particularly good or bad, write it down.
Finally, once all of that is done, set aside a couple minutes just for yourself.
- Spend this time writing down all of the goals and tasks that need doing in upcoming weeks or months.
- Think about everything from weekly chores like laundry and cooking meals for yourself or others in your household.
- Consider larger projects and how to prioritize/plan for them.
Overall, the goal is to become mindful of what is and isn’t working. Then, you can recalibrate.
Creating a better work routine isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes practice and dedication to build healthy habits and a positive mindset.
But if you’re willing to put in the work, your efforts will pay off in the form of greater focus, more energy, and more productivity at work—all leading up to increased workplace satisfaction.
Consider your own needs and strengths
If you have the flexibility to create your own schedule, you have the luxury of working in a way that best suits your needs. Take advantage of that.
Have you never been a morning person? When you’re no longer working the standard 9-to-5, that doesn’t matter. Set your schedule to whatever it has to be in order for you to get a full night of rest.
Are you someone who works better after being active? Consider planning your break around a time when it would be convenient for you to go to the gym or take a walk.
You know your own natural rhythm better than anyone. Work with it, not against it.
Incorporate coworking into your work routine
With the shift to remote and hybrid work, more people have had to figure out how to create a work routine that works for them. These tips can help you get on track and stay productive in a new work environment.
Are you looking for a dedicated workspace where you can get some alone time or interact with other remote working professionals? Take advantage of the benefits of coworking spaces with The Haven.
Meet the author
The Haven Staff