The Importance of a Routine

I truly imagined that working from home would be wonderful. I’d get to work in my PJs, have no interruptions, and sleep in (now that I don’t have to commute).

Alas, it turns out I couldn’t focus in my PJs, technology was more distracting than ever before, and my lack of a morning routine resulted in a less productive start to my day. Luckily, I came across an article sharing advice on how to make the most out of working from home. Here’s how – through trial and error – I was able to utilize these tips to end each day feeling accomplished.

01 Starting the day on a good note:

In the beginning, I assumed I was going to thrive on the extra sleep. On the first day, I rolled out of bed later than I was used to and started working. I didn’t feel well rested, though – I felt anxious and unprepared for what the day was going to bring.

Since then, I’ve gone back to my usual routine. I wake up at my original time and make breakfast. In the time remaining, I catch up on the news and do a few chores – no work-related tasks! I now get to start the day feeling relaxed and ready to take on anything.

02 Deciding where to work:

Deciding on where I worked made a huge impact on the quality and speed with which I completed my tasks. For computer-related work, I’m blessed to have an office with a desk; this station gives me the same sense of order that I have at the office.

For other tasks, however, I require more room. I spread paperwork out in my living room, keep the TV off, and make sure to have back support wherever I sit. I suggest switching it up at home to find out what/where truly works for you.

03 Prioritizing Tasks

At Tocci we’ve introduced a Microsoft Teams plug-in called “Stand Up Alice”. Every morning, it prompts us with questions like, “What did you accomplish yesterday?”, “What are your 3 big tasks for the day?”, and “Do you need anything from your manager?”. It helps me set up my to-do list while holding me accountable for the things I did the day before. Having to identify my “Big 3″ helped sculpt my day and ensure I know what tasks to prioritize. Stand Up Alice can be added to both Microsoft Teams and Slack groups. Click here to get started.

04 Deep Work

With my tasks for the day lined up, it’s now a matter of maintaining the focus to complete them. In the beginning, my phone would start buzzing, my cat would sprawl out on my keyboard, and the silence from the lack of coworkers would be deafening.

I realized I needed a little noise, but it had to be the right kind. Instead of the TV, I turned on a podcast. Something to listen to, but nothing that required turning my head to watch. I turned my phone to silent and made sure my laptop notifications were set to loud. This way, I’m focused on my work notifications.

Work Life Balance

Cliché tactics worked like a charm for me here. Be firm and end the day at five. Leave work at your workstation. Silence your emails. Turn off call forwarding and mute Teams notifications.

I also starting taking walks during lunch and at the end of the day to transition out of work-mode and into personal time.

After using these tips to create and modify my work from home routine, I have become significantly more productive, focused – and believe it or not – relaxed! If you’re experiencing difficulties working from home, take a moment to evaluate your current routine, and don’t be afraid to make some changes!

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