Why You Need A Work From Home Routine (& How To Make One)

By Taylor Sansano

Let me set the stage for you: In March, I got married, got diagnosed with chronic nerve damage, and just started getting into a rhythm with my German Shepherd puppy. And then I started working at home full time. My one-bedroom apartment started to feel really small with my 75 lb puppy and my now husband there all day, every day. My back started to ache more and more as I sat on my couch all day, trying to stay focused on my laptop as the TV blared in the background. Power Life was closed down due to COVID-19. The only entertainment I had included Real Housewives of New York City and debating with my husband about what we’d order for dinner.

This sort of worked for me for a few months, with ebbs and flows in my ability to stay focused and stay happy. Around Labor day, it all started to fall apart. I realized that I couldn’t keep doing yoga with the amount of pain I was in. I couldn’t continue to just roll out of bed and sign into my work Slack in an appearance to be “available.” And I simply couldn’t keep pretending like everything was OK. 

After reflection I realized that what I missed more than anything was simply having a routine. So, I decided to make one.

Benefits of Having a Routine

“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ―Sean Covey

According to science, routines are good for our physical, mental, and emotional health. They keep us on a path that aligns with what we want to achieve, whether it’s more sleep or more productivity. Without a routine, stress can run rampant, causing us to work less hard and struggle to finish the most common tasks.

Here are a few benefits of having a routine:

  • Better sleep habits. Having a routine allows you to optimize your sleep schedule in a way that works for you. I realized pretty early on in the pandemic that I’m a morning person (who knew?!) and waking up earlier made me feel better, even if it is hard to do in the moment. 
  • Smarter use of time. With a routine, you can prioritize the things that need to be done so that you can spend your off time hanging out with family, reading a book, or simply switching off your work brain. 
  • Increased feeling of productivity. Actually being productive is good, but I’ve realized that feeling productive is also very important for my mental health. Without a routine, I have a hard time feeling productive. I am very (very) Type-A and love checking things off of my to-do list. But when I don’t have a routine or forget to make a to-do list, it can be very easy to get swept up in the newest episode on TV or random things around the house. 

My Work From Home Routine

This took a lot of trial and error (and a lot of good and bad days). To figure out your routine, I first recommend that you figure out what is important to you and why.

For me, that looked like this:

  • Waking up early. When I wake up late, I feel more anxious, like I have to make up the time that I missed. 
  • Eating breakfast. Without breakfast, lunch needs to happen around 11 am, then my whole day feels thrown off.
  • Taking my dog out. This is a necessity: She has to go to the bathroom in the morning. 
  • Finding time for myself. Being married is great, but being home all day every day with him in a one-bedroom apartment equals little to no alone time.
  • Consistency. I thrive when I am consistent, so I need a routine that can be easily done day in and day out without feeling exhausted or overwhelmed by it. 

Using these five factors as guidance, it became pretty easy to see what a good routine could look like for me. Here’s what I came up with:

Morning

Work out

I like to wake up early, usually by 6 or 7, to get a workout in. Working out early in the morning means that I’ll have more time in the evening when my husband goes to the gym or soccer practice for my alone time. Let’s be honest, this only happens about three days a week.

Walk my dog

Once I’m back inside, I make coffee and take my dog out. I use this walk as a pseudo “commute” to work. I realized pretty quickly into my Work From Home life that rolling out of bed and starting to work was just not good for my mental health. Using a walk as my commute helped me transition from my home brain to my work brain the same way that driving did. 

Log in to work

I tried to be online by 8:30 or 9 am. Although my work doesn’t require us to be “at work” before 10 am, I realized that the earlier I’m online, the earlier I can log off. Not a massive revelation in general, but a big one for me. 

Make a to-do list

I love to-do lists. I love checking things off my to-do list. Creating a plan for the day helps me prioritize what needs to get done and helps prevent that 7:30 pm oh-my-gosh-i-forgot-to-do-this feeling. Sometimes my to-do list is two things long, and other times it can be an entire page. 

Afternoon

Eat lunch—offline

When working from home, it can be very tempting to work through lunch to hit your hours faster. Plus, there’s not much else to do. But I realized pretty early on that I needed a mid-day break, and lunch was the most logical place to do it. 

Take a meeting standing up

As mentioned above, I struggle with chronic nerve damage in my lower back and can start to feel pretty uncomfortable by mid-day. Forcing myself to take at least one meeting while standing up allows me to decompress (physically and mentally). Plus, most of the time I end up standing up for longer than I intended to. 

Log off at a normal time

This was the hardest part for me: Stopping working. We’ve been pretty busy at work and with a pretty slow (or nonexistent) social life currently, there wasn’t really a reason not to keep working past work hours. Until I realized that the more I worked, the more my home felt like work instead of a home. I needed to log off and enjoy actually being in my personal space if I ever wanted my couch to feel like a place I could relax. 

Post-Work

Walk my dog

Just like walking my dog became a transition for starting work, it also became a transition for me to be done with work as well. Taking her out for a walk or to the dog park allowed me to “leave the office” and come back with the intention of relaxing for the night. If you don’t have a dog, you can just take a walk on your own to get the mail or around the block—I promise it will help!

Reflect on my day

I have The Five Minute Journal, which is an approachable way to practice mindfulness in the morning and at night. If I remember, I write in this when I wake up (it doesn’t happen often, which is why it’s not up in my morning routine), but I pretty much always remember to check in at night. This journal asks me to list out three amazing things that happened that day and to think about what could have made my day better. I really like it as a way of being truthful with myself about how I could have had a better day (usually I say something like “read a book!” or “eat more tacos” etc.). It also forces me to think constructively about my day and find the good in it.  

Don’t feel guilty

This is the most important part of my routine: Not feeling guilty if I watched too many episodes of Real Housewives or didn’t eat the most healthy meal. In the middle of a pandemic, simply being safe is the most important thing we can do, so a few days off your routine is OK. In fact, it’s completely normal and should be celebrated. 

Why This Matters

For some, this might not matter at all. My husband is just fine without a routine and completely wings it every single day. But for me, this matters a lot. It helps me stay focused, stay productive and, most importantly, stay positive. Without a routine, my habits fall to the wayside and I’m left wondering why I’m tired or bored or not getting things done. 

Happiness is a direction, not a place. — Sydney J. Harris

My routine helps me stay on the path I want to be on. Some people might find a routine to be stifling or boring. For me, if your routine does that, it’s not the right routine. 

Be patient with yourself as you start to figure out what works for you in our new reality. Tap into that mindfulness that we build on our mats and remember what it was like when you first tried a new yoga pose: uncomfortable and frustrating. That’s what it’s like starting a new routine. It’ll get more comfortable, and you’ll get more confident the more you practice.

 

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2024 Power Life, All Rights Reserved.
Built with 🤍 by Blink Wellness

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About Kirk: 

Kirk was working 80-hour weeks and wearing his shoulders as earrings when he found yoga in 2005. Forever the competitive athlete, he loved the physicality of yoga. When the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga were exposed to him, Kirk was hooked. Yoga provided him with what other activities couldn’t -- the ability to foster the benefits of practice both on and off of the mat. Yoga was something that Kirk could bring into all aspects of his life. 

Kirk knows that yoga can be intimidating, so he crafts a class that is playful and inviting, while still being challenging and safe. His creatively planned classes build strength and flexibility in your body and mind while establishing clarity, giving you more confidence to overcome obstacles in your life, and keeping you injury-free. His classes are themed with a message that is relatable and will inspire you to take it with you off your mat. Kirk has been teaching yoga since 2008 and lead his first teacher training in 2012. Where Kirk truly shines is in coaching, developing and bringing out the best in others.  

Kirk enjoys traveling (40+ countries to date!), snowboarding, and cherishes time with his wife and two daughters. 

About Christen: 

Christen Bakken’s yoga journey began in 1998 in a Bikram studio that provided a safe and secure place to practice. She saw the yoga mat as a place to remember her purpose and a place to play. As she continued her studies and began her journey to teaching in 2006, Christen infused yoga classes with devotion and the yoga mat became a place of personal transformation and healing. Her classes are filled with laughter, song, sweat, and usually heart openers. In 2013, Christen began training yoga teachers. This is the place where she finds the most joy - in community with folks looking to grow and be of greater service in their homes, on their mats, and in the world. Over the years, she has led trainings in Denver, the Midwest, Florida, and now abroad. She has trained in continuing education modules, 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour programs. Beyond the mat, Christen is a passionate adventure seeker - she loves to bike, snowboard, and spend time with her husband and pups. She sees each day as a blessing and hopes to remind all who interact with her of this truth.  

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Why You Need A Work From Home Routine (& How To Make One) Info