Habits & Routines for Working From Home

Hey readers! Many of us are (hopefully) settling into a routine for working or taking classes from home. In the past, I would avoid doing homework at home at all costs – I always ended up cleaning something, scrolling through Instagram, or just doing anything other than homework. Since it is no longer an option to do my work at the library or at school, I had to create a routine and discipline myself to be productive at home. Here are a few tips to create productive habits and routines while working from home.

Write a weekly to-do list

This has been crucial for me. I have been writing weekly to-do lists in my agenda, with details about what to do each day of the week. Then I leave my agenda open on my desk during the week so I can keep coming back to it and checking items off the list.

For example, on Monday I sat down before class and wrote down everything I wanted to get done during the week and which days I wanted to do them. I try to get all of my work done during the week that way I am able to relax, read, embroider, and watch Netflix during the weekend.

My to-do list this week

Schedule important calls or meetings

My calendar is looking pretty sparse lately, but I am still scheduling all important meetings in my Google Calendar. For example, all of my classes, team meetings, and work-related meetings are scheduled in my calendar. I also include the Zoom meeting link in the info section when I schedule them in my calendar.

Set aside time to move everyday

This is a non-negotiable for me. I usually love going to my local Pure Barre studio every morning for a workout, so instead I have been taking classes online. My studio is offering live classes taught by our favorite instructors, which has been so much fun. I can’t wait to be back in the studio, though!

I am also taking an hour to go for a walk every day. Since this is pretty much the only time I am leaving the house, it has become a necessity. The fresh air does amazing things for my mental health.

The flowers are blooming in Boston!

Plan your meals

Since I am trying to only go to the grocery store once a week, I have been planning my meals for the week each weekend. Then I carefully think through each meal and make a list of the items I need to purchase for the week. I’m trying to keep meals healthy and limit snacking, but my sweet tooth is slowly taking over.

I am also trying out some new recipes, which is fun! On tonight’s menu: pan-seared ahi tuna with avocado and a soy, ginger, and lime sauce. Wish me luck!

Set boundaries

Odds are that you are not the only person living in your house or apartment who is working from home. Have a conversation with the other people living at home with you about what each person needs to be productive and get their work done. Some things that I asked for included quiet time for me to work independently without distractions, usually every day between 9 AM – 4 PM.

On a similar note, I am setting boundaries for myself regarding school work. I am turning off my computer every day around 4pm and usually taking a break around lunchtime for food and a walk. I am limiting my work to “normal” working hours and am trying not to do any school work on the weekends. Think about ways that you can set boundaries for yourself to practice occupational balance.

Set up your space

Having a space dedicated to school or work is crucial for me to be productive. Ideally, I need lots of light, a window, silence or quiet calming music, and a comfortable chair. I am never productive if I am sitting on the couch, around lots of people, or with too much background noise. How are you most productive, and how can you set up your new workspace to facilitate productivity?

My current set-up in Boston

Limit phone and social media use

The “do not disturb” function on my iPhone is a lifesaver. I use this on my phone and my laptop while I need to really focus on an assignment. I am also trying to stay off social media in general, as what I was seeing was just stressing me out. I want to remain informed, but I don’t feel like I need to overly worry myself with what I see on social media. Try logging on one or two times a day, perhaps once in the morning and once in the evening. (And try not to spend hours on TikTok!)

Wake up early

So I haven’t been waking up at my usual time, but I am still putting in an effort to wake up early. I’ve been setting alarms for every morning around 7:45-8:15 and trying to get up by 8:30. If you know me, this is sleeping in. I’m usually up by 7-7:30, so I’m giving myself a little extra rest while I have nowhere to go.

Thanks for reading! I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

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