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12 Tips to Create Your Perfect Work From Home Routine

Need more productivity? Work from Home
Need better Work-Life balance? Work from Home
Need more time to take care of health? Work from Home
Need more time to spend with family? Work from Home
Unfortunate global pandemic? Work from Home. There you go!

After a few months…

Want to work all the time? Work from home
Want less sleep? Work from home
Want to be tired all the time? Work from home
Want no time for exercise? Work from home
Want to snack any time of the day? Work from home
Want constant back pain? Work from home
Want more distractions during work? Work from home
Some other habits you did not want? Work from home
And the list could go on…

What the heck actually happened here? Weren’t you supposed to have a better work-life balance?

Well.

Let’s remember that we are all human.
We are sometimes driven by impulses and emotions (well most of the time).
We love to procrastinate and stay on our beds all day.
And we absolutely adore junk food and totally hate moving.
We are indeed, the most sophisticated species on the planet!

So here’s the deal!
You can’t rely on your frail willpower and a hidden passion for productivity to actually deliver the work-life balance you wish to have during your work-from-home stint.

It all comes down to good habits and healthy routines. And you need to follow them religiously. No BS!

Here’s how you get to build your healthy work-from-home routine in 12 simple steps for maximum productivity at work and an optimal work-life balance.

Start with Sleep

Your healthy WFH routine must start with sleep.

Sleep is the single most important activity that can radically transform your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Research has suggested that a consistent and healthy sleep routine promotes better memory, productivity, physical performance, metabolism, heart health, pain management, and immunity. It also lowers the risk of depression, weight gain, and inflammation.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean it should get prioritized over your health. Your body will literally begin destroying itself if it chronically doesn’t get its required amount of sleep. Don’t mess with it.  

Becoming mindful of your sleep means prioritizing it and cultivating a better sleep routine.
Tips:

  • Find out your chronotype to identify your ideal sleep timings
  • Have at least 7-8 hours of time scheduled for your night’s sleep
  • Follow an evening or bedtime ritual to promote better sleep

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Maintain a Pre-Work Ritual

The worse habit that you can cultivate is logging into work right after getting up from the bed.

A healthy pre-work ritual should put you in the right headspace to get started with work.
More importantly, you must include activities similar to ones that previously used to help you transition from your non-work to work role, such as dressing up and commute. These activities are referred to as “boundary-crossing activities”.
Also, include some physical activity to warm-up your system before logging into the long sedentary hours.
Tips:

  • Exercise for at least 20 mins daily after waking up
  • Get dressed up semi-formally for work (Boundary crossing activity #1)
  • Fake your commute with a walk around the nearest park or inside your apartment (Boundary crossing activity #2)
  • Meditate for 10-15 mins before opening getting started

Create a Workspace

Just because you are not at your office doesn’t mean you should work on your bed. Or the couch or any other space associated with leisure time. This can hamper productivity a lot.

Design your workspace similar to the one you have in your office. It doesn’t have to be a separate room. It can be at a corner in some room as long as it feels different from the rest of the home. 

Your workspace should help activate your work mode as soon as you get down to work.

Also, try to perform any work-related activity inside your workspace. This will help you maintain a healthy separation between work and your home life.
Tips:

  • Use comfortable chairs and cushions
  • Maintain a comfortable desk height
  • Try to light up your workspace with natural light
  • Keep all work-related activities restricted inside your workspace

Work Schedule & Communication

Before getting started with work, you must design a schedule to segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. Communicate with your boss and colleagues to ensure your schedule is convenient for the rest of your team.
You should be clear about the times when you’ll be working and when you’ll not.
Also, maintaining constant communication becomes critical during WFH, but if you find yourself attending emails, calls, text messages, and video calls non-stop all throughout the day, it can also become a major distraction.
Tips:

  • To clearly define your working hours, begin with your regular office hours, and make room for a couple of extra hours whenever necessary
  • Save your hardest or most important tasks during peak productivity hours to ensure you perform well at work that matters the most
  • Collaborate with every member in your team and your direct reports to schedule any communications at mutually convenient timings, preferably outside your peak productivity hours

Take Healthy Breaks

Make room for minibreaks as your work. It’s important to break the sedentariness of work.

Research has shown that taking mini-breaks boosts your productivity levels and overall performance. 

Use as little as a 5-minute break at least every hour to get away from the desk. 

Resist opening social media for digital stimulation. That will only overload your mind with distractions. Perform activities that will relax you both mentally and physically.
Tips:

  • Use Productivity methods like the Pomodoro technique to schedule 5 minutes breaks every 25 minutes of work
  • Always get away from your desk, out of the workspace preferably during a break
  • Move your body with a short stroll around the house. Better if you can perform walking meditation to move and relax your mind as well.
  • Perform some stretches to break off stiffness in muscles
  • Take care of your eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule if you work in front of a screen most of the time. Take your eyes off your screen every 20 minutes and stare at a focal point at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Maintain Good Eating Habits

Maintaining healthy eating habits becomes more important during work-from-home. Being at home can allow you to snack anytime you feel like. It doesn’t take much time however, for the satisfaction to wear away with guilt. Moreover eating the right foods at breakfast and lunch can prep you for a productive workday.
Tips:

  • Prepare a healthy breakfast the night before to minimize chances of skipping it due to lack of time
  • Keep a large bottle of water on your desk at all times. Drink water at regular intervals to reduce any chance of dehydration. Dehydration has been linked with poor planning skills.
  • Always eat your meals away from your desk, outside the workspace.

Manage Distractions

It’s human to get distracted. 
But that doesn’t mean we should let ourselves get distracted whenever possible.
For most of us, the biggest source of distraction is the news at our fingertips. And it doesn’t take much time to scroll ourselves into an anxious mess. It not only affects your attention levels but reduces your performance as well. 
Tips:

  • Turn off the internet during work hours to minimize distracting notifications
  • Schedule time after work, for catching up with social media and news

Maintain a Post-Work Ritual

Design a mini post-work ritual during the conclusive hours of your work-from-home. Include activities that provide closure on today’s work and keep any important stuff or potential worries for tomorrow.

It’s important to leave thoughts regarding work inside the workspace and not let it interfere with your personal life.
Tips:

  • Make a Preliminary To-Do list for tomorrow so you have an idea what you have to work on when you pick up tomorrow
  • Sign out of your work email and other work communication channels. Log in again tomorrow when you begin your workday.
  • Organize your desk and workspace neatly for you to return to a tidy work environment

Manage People

Communicate with your spouse how it will be convenient to divide the housework so that it doesn’t interfere with your work. Set clear ground rules with members in your house about when and how much involvement they can expect during your work hours. They must not assume that you will always be available for giving a hand in every household work. 
Tips:

  • Dedicate family interactions in your personal time outside work hours
  • Communicate clearly about your availability during work hours with housework and other responsibilities

With the shift to work-from-home, lots of casual socializing opportunities inside the office get cut off. These social interactions used to make you feel less lonely and helped to break the monotony of work throughout the day. However, the sudden lack of it may affect you mentally and can even hamper your long term productivity and overall morale.
Tips:

  • Maintain casual conversation with your co-workers during mutual breaks
  • Reach out to co-workers to check in with them
  • Discuss with your co-workers to set aside time after work to catch up with them

Small deliberate steps everyday is all you need to build a productive work routine and maintain work-life balance like a pro. It’s the only secret of people you see enjoying life and still delivering massively at work. 

Find the right set of healthy habits and craft the perfect routine to master the work-from-home lifestyle.


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