It was my goal for years to be able to work from home, and I’m so grateful that I now do. Today I’m sharing my work from home routine plus some of my best productivity tips that have worked well for me over the past couple of years.
I’ve been working from home for almost two years now (where did the time go?!) and I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve learned along the way. This post is for those of you who are working from home given the current state of the world, and for those who want to work from home more often in general.
It takes time to get into a groove working from home because it can feel disorienting at first. You’re at home. You want to do at-home things. You have to get used to a new schedule, a new routine, and in many cases (like mine), nobody there to hold you accountable.
I’m by no means the perfect entrepreneur. Do I feel lazy and unproductive sometimes? Sure do. But I want to share what my realistic day-to-day routine looks like, and some productivity tips that have worked really well for me personally.
Keep reading or watch the video below for a peek into what my days look like working from home:
Have a Morning Routine
Our days needs structure. It helps us know what to expect when we wake up, and sets us up for the day ahead. It’s also important to keep your routine consistent. Things like having a shower, making breakfast, sitting and enjoying your tea or coffee. Whatever it is that makes you feel good when you first get up. I personally like giving myself about an hour or so to do pretty much whatever I want to feel good and ready for the day ahead. Enjoying a cup of tea and sitting by my window for a few minutes is a big part of my morning routine.
Some people like going for a walk or run outside in the morning, and I do always have my daily walk outside, but I tend to do it at the end of my day when I feel more cooped up and in need of more rigorous activity.
Having a morning routine not only helps you prepare for day and feel more balanced and nourished, but it also prevents you from diving into work immediately upon waking while still in bed or your pyjamas. In fact, this is why getting ready for the day is essential.
Get Ready for the Day
There’s this idea that working from home means staying in your pj’s and working from your bed all day. And while you could, I personally never do this because it makes me feel lazy and unproductive. Freshening up and acting as if I’m actually heading out makes a world of a difference.
I like to be comfortable, but I’ll still wear proper clothes that I feel good in. I also usually put on a bit of makeup or a pair of my favourite gold hoop earrings.
Keep Space Tidy
It’s important to me that I keep my space tidy and clean as much as possible, especially when it comes to working from home. A messy space creates a messy head. Honestly, sometimes I start my day by doing a quick vacuum to clean up any dust or crumbs around the kitchen and living room from the day before. But a quick nighttime tidy-up before bed is a good idea here, too. Doing the dishes, organizing your desk, whatever needs to be tidied up a bit. Clutter is distracting.
Full disclosure: please do not assume I’m a neat freak or tidy at all times, because I’m not. Doing the dishes is my arch nemesis and they’re often in the sink, but I still make it my priority to keep things tidy for the beginning of my day, and before I go to bed.
Have a Weekly Schedule & Daily To-Do List
I have a weekly schedule and a daily to-do list. This means two things: I have a general idea of what I need to do in an upcoming week such as upcoming projects or deadlines (having these things written down concretely in a calendar is helpful), but I also have a daily to-do list. This is the first thing I consult in morning the when I open up my laptop.
I use a note taking app called Evernote, and I make adjustments where necessary each morning. For example, I add a few items to my list and I might cross off some things that were completed the day before.
Having my daily to-do list helps me know what I need to do. It’s as simple as that. Otherwise, I’m pretty lost.
Keep Tasks Practical & Doable
When it comes to said to-do lists, it’s important to keep the items on them practical and doable.
Basically, you want to keep your tasks somewhat to a minimum. I avoid writing down 20 things I want to complete on a given day, because it’s way too overwhelming and frankly, not gonna happen. This ends up leaving us feeling under-accomplished and like we’ve failed. Instead, stick to maybe 3-5 tasks, or perhaps 1 main task to complete that day. This makes them far more attainable.
Don’t forget to celebrate your daily accomplishments, too, even small ones. Be cognizant of what you have been completing, instead of focusing on what you haven’t finished yet. And if you’re having trouble checking things off your list, try breaking your tasks down even further into smaller tasks. Keep them specific, not general.
Remind yourself that you can only do so much, you’re doing great. It’s ok to not be achieving everything in one day. Give yourself credit.
When working from home — or anywhere for that matter — there’s often an inclination to check your phone, social media, or other distractions. This is why I always have my phone notifications and noises turned off and why I’ll often throw my phone in another room.
Another helpful tip here is to turn your wifi off for tasks that don’t require it, to prevent you from browsing the web.
The thing is, we want to access a state of deep work. That state of mind when you’re really in the zone.
When I’m deep into editing a video, I sometimes call it my ‘editing cave’ because I’m so zoned into that one task and getting lots done.
It can take 20-25 mins to get back into a focused state after experiencing interruption, and I can attest to this. Once I’m distracted, it takes me a bit of time to get back on track. I have always struggled with being easily distracted and having an easily disrupted attention span, even as a child in school, so I need to make an extra effort to eliminate distractions.
I don’t do this too often, but something else you can do if you’re feeling unproductive is to set a timer for completing tasks. Even a timer for just 20 minutes can give us the push we need to get into a focused state. Once you get that momentum going, it’s easier to continue.
Taking breaks is essential for our brain. Eat, stand up, stretch, go for a walk, do some squats, whatever you need to do. I’m fortunate that the type of work I do means I sometimes need to head out for things like groceries or supplies for recipes, which is a nice way to break up my day at home.
When it comes to eating, it’s easy to work through lunch and snacks. But try not to. You need to create a separation between work and play. It’s funny though because some days I just want to snack constantly, whereas other days I forget about breakfast or lunch altogether and realize I haven’t eaten yet. Not good, I admit. Nourishment — and breaks — are essential for keeping our brain running and bodies functioning well through the day.
Have Things to Look Forward To
It’s very normal to feel like you want to just watch YouTube videos, check Twitter, the news, or catch up on the Netflix series you’re binging. But what helps here is to tell yourself that you can do those things, but you’re going to do them later on after you’ve accomplished a few tasks.
Use those things as little rewards and as things to look forward to at the end of the day. This can even help boost our motivation because we have an incentive to get work done.
I hope you found these tips helpful. They’ve definitely been part of my working from home routine for a long time now! If you have any other tips to share or questions at all, leave me a comment below.