How to maximize productivity and calm in an ambiguous remote-working world with a new routine
Love it or hate it, remote working is here to stay. Did your morning routine fly out the window?
In March of 2020 as the world went into a pandemic-lockdown, work as we knew it changed. What started as “a month” of caution has turned into years.
Our entire work rhythms and routines were suddenly, completely disrupted, and we didn’t have time to be strategic or transition into an entirely new way of operating in our workdays. Our work and home lives became blended in a way many weren’t used to before.
Human resources teams scrambled. Customer service centers moved into kitchens, living rooms and basements across the country. We invented “daytime pajamas” versus “nighttime pajamas.” Athleseisure wear became “dressing up” days.
And who could blame anyone? There we all were, thrust into a completely different way of working, additional responsibilities and fears layered on top, with no natural transitions or boundaries between work and home life. If working parents had it hard before with balancing roles at work and home, it got three times harder1 when the pandemic hit.
Those who were thrust into this new way of working had to do so without mindfully figuring out how to make their new work environment at home work for them.
In some ways, at first, working from home felt like a relief – it seemed less stressful to not have to commute, right?
But that feeling didn’t last.
Studies show 60% of working-from-home Americans feel lonely and stressed!2
Why? Because no-one had the opportunity to set up new work rhythms mindfully. Everyone was just trying to survive, quite literally.
Why morning routines are important
Your morning routine is the forecast for how your day is going to go. Sure, a day that starts badly can be turned around – we all have freedom of thought and action to change our course at any time, but it is much easier to get – and stay – in a great flow when you start your day from a place of strength.
One of my favorite books is Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I truly believe that how you start your day is important as a kickstart and predictor for how the day is going to go.
Common work-from-home morning routines
Many work-from-home morning routines look like this:
- Roll out of bed begrudgingly at the last minute.
- Make coffee (make it a double!)
- Put on daytime pajamas (at least something presentable on top for zoom meetings).
- Get back in bed and open the laptop.
- Throw some lipstick on when you have a zoom call so you don’t look like you just did all of the above (trust me, I’ve done this trick!)
- Start putting out email and slack fires.
How motivated do you feel all day, after a morning routine like this (besides being gung-ho to go back to bed)? A saying comes to mind, “My get up and go, got up and went.”
Now that it looks like remote-working is here to stay, it’s time to be more mindful of what routine will serve your calm better.
Building in a fake commute to your routine
Ahh, remember how much you hated your morning commute, and how it sounds kind of nice now to have time to yourself? Time to think, set up boundaries and intentions for the day?
It’s time to build in a fake commute – a solid transition from bed to work.
Your body and mind are co-dependent. Your mind needs a physical difference between sleeping and work mode. Your body needs the energy shift that starts in your mind as well.
Reflect on your morning routines – the ones you felt your best. Build in time for anything that served you before you started working from home.
Write down your pre-pandemic routine and your post-pandemic routine and see, what are the things that gave you your mojo for the day?
Even if you just pick one, it will make you feel better.
Ideas to help with your transition from bed to working-from-home (just picking one to add will help!)
A body in dehydration is in crisis mode.
- Have a healthy breakfast
Give your body and mind fuel!
- Sweat or stretch
Even for 5 minutes before you leave your bedroom.
It’s tempting to get more sleep and skip this step which can really wake up your body and mind for the day.
- Get dressed, actually
No more daytime pajamas, it affects your mindset.
- Schedule time for courage
Use our downloadable tool!
Even for 3 minutes.
- Journal your daily intention
How will you use the gift of today?
- Fill your mug
With tea or coffee or water or whatever drink makes you feel amazing.
- Grab your lunch
Have it prepared ahead of time as if you’re going to the office to avoid lengthy times figuring out what to eat later or worse than that, skipping food altogether.
- Commute to work
Drive in your car or walk around the block or just lounge in your house for 10 minutes listening to anything that feeds your soul. Anything that builds in time between bed and the laptop can be your commute.
- Sit down at your desk (not your bed)
What’s the best work environment you can have in your home?
- Assess your work day
- Say hi to your virtual coworkers
On Slack in the morning like you’re at a coffee machine. Just say hi with no other agenda except, how are you?
- Nail the day!
I know things go haywire when kids are home sick or other challenges, but being consistent will help you get back to your feel-good morning routine.
Personally, after I wake up the first thing I do is meditate to get my mind grounded before tackling anything else in the day, and after I drop the kids off at school I use that momentum to sweat, often a run or a hike back home or another activity to get my blood pumping. When I get home I shower and journal and look over my planner and calendar. I get the lay of the land and mindfully plan my day. I grab tea or healthy snacks to set up at my desk so I have those handy to keep my energy moving.
Flexible work is here to stay
Flexible work is going to be a continued trend for the workplace for the foreseeable future.
So make it work for you!
Building in a fake commute will help build productivity and efficiency into your day. You’ll give your body and mind the natural transition it needs. You’ll have fewer interruptions and distractions with better planning for your day as if you had to go to an office.
Need help making changes and adding healthier habits in your life? Here are three small steps you can take.