Transitioning to working from home if you weren’t used to it before, was probably not easy for you last year. For me, it was always the way I wanted to work. Growing up I saw my Dad working from home and how much freedom and flexibility it gave him to go on spontaneous weekend trips or take longer vacations. But with all the perks, come also some downsides. So today I’m sharing my tried and true tips as well as talk a little bit about what work will look like in the future. Let’s dive right in!
1. Have a set routine
The most important thing to establish while working from home is a set routine. Kind of like when you were still leaving the house to get to work. This means setting your alarm for 7AM (or ealier if you like) either going out for a light morning walk, meditating or doing something else that sets you on the right path for the day. Then shower and get dressed. Yes, this part is very important! I always feel more productive when properly dressed and with makeup on. It signals your body that lounge time is over and you are ready for business.
2. Eat a delicious & nourishing breakfast
Another important part of my morning routine is having a nourishing and nutritious breakfast. I personally love a morning bowl of oatmeal or some coconut yoghurt with fresh fruit and grainless granola. But remember to listen to your body! If you are not hungry yet than maybe tend to your to-do list first and get a couple of tasks out of the way before having a bite to eat.
3. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate
I stopped having my mandatory cup of coffee in the morning when I became pregnant. But if you are a coffee lover than please also have that along with your breakfast or maybe a little later as a mid-morning feel-good treat (something I personally love to do lately). Just make sure to eat before you have your first sip (especially as a woman) or you will cause your cortisol levels to go through the roof and then crash later on. Not the best premise for a proudctive day.
4. Set up a designated area as your office
If you live in a very tiny appartment, try to dedicate at least a small space to your office. This can be a corner on your kitchen table or even a little desk-situation in your bedroom. I’ve seen people successfully transforming their closets into a “cloffice” all over social media lately. Head over to Pinterest for my inspo on that. Just make sure that this area gets you in working mode as well as keeps you inspired and motivated throughout the day. I, for example, love cute stationary or desk accessoires. Maybe also add a vase with fresh flowers or an inspiring quote.
5. Break down your tasks into simple steps
I love to sit down with my planer first thing in the morning to arrange my to-do’s. I decide upon 3 big ones that are especially important and need to get done that day. Then, I add a few smaller ones that are not as urgent and can be easily accomplished if I have some time left by the end of the day. If I have meetings scheduled that day, I plan everything else around it. I also make time for movement and recreation. Something that can be easily overlooked when you have your laptop and thus your work at your fingertips at all times. But taking time out of your day to recharge is crucial not only for your mental benefits but also for your work performance. Working more does not neccessarily mean you are more productive or produce better results. The opposite is the truth, actually.
6. Make time for lunch
If your days are usually quite packed and you don’t really have the time to cook, then maybe prepare something healthy and nutritious in advance or have a trustworthy delivery service on hand. I love to steam a few veggies in a pan and top it off with a fried egg or some feta cheese or throw together a quick salad. Sometimes I even have leftovers from the night before. No matter what, I try to have something light for lunch to not overstuff myself as this will usually leave me feeling tired and drained the remaining day.
7. Move your body
If I haven’t moved that day yet, then once the afternoon hits, I get a little nervous from sitting. I will then either go on a little walk around the block or roll out my mat for some light strength exercises and stretching. Find something that you enjoy doing. My mom, for example, recently picked up hoola hooping or maybe start a spontaenous dance session in your living room? Whatever kind of movement you choose, let your soul run free! A surefire way to avoid the afternoon slump and return to your desk with a fresh perspective.
8. Have a fixed time where your work day ends
Living and working in the same space can be tempting to never let your work day end. And yes, on some days this might be inevitable. But don’t let it become a habit! As I mentioned earlier, you will perform much better when you give yourself enough time to rest and recharge. For me, my work day usually ends around 6 PM. That’s when I close my laptop, get up from my desk, and go into the kitchen to cook. Cooking has an immensly soothing effect on me. For you this might be crafting, painting, reading a good book, or calling a friend.
9. Have a calming bedtime routine
This one has been a game changer for me lately. Especially with the lockdown going on for almost 3 months now. I either draw myself a warm epsom salt bath and put on a face mask, hop on my yoga mat for some yin yoga, or read a good book while listening to some relaxing music. Yes, I’m also still watching Netflix but I’m now much more careful of what I consume right before bed. Living with a pandemic and in uncertainty is stressful enough. So when I decide to watch some TV before bed, I opt for something light and uplifting (usually the Housewives or a cooking show). But I have to be honest here: sometimes when I feel especially inspired I will get a little work done before bed 😉
10. Get enough sleep
My lights are out by 10 PM. This gives me enough hours to fully recharge and wake up energized the next day. Depending on your unique biology, this may be different for you. I know people that function perfectly well on a mere 5 hours of sleep every night. If you are not yet aware of your perfect sleeping habits than maybe try out a few different things. Then tune into your body to see what resonates with you the most.
This routine has worked very well for me over the past few years and also over the course of the pandemic so far. Still, there are days that are harder than on others. Being such a communicative person, I sometimes feel lonely. Pre-COVID I would go to a coffee shop or coworking space to get in contact with other people and beat the loneliness. Now, I try to have calls or video calls with my family and friends at least 2-3 times a week. Also long walks in nature help. Even Instagram has served me well. Reading about how other people are going through the same gives me the feeling of being in this together.
How will we work in the future?
With that said, I think the concept of working from home or even working remotely is here to stay. Many companies are already thinking about reducing their office space. New systems are becoming implemented that make working from everywhere a breeze. This, in my opinion, has many advantages. People are not bound to big cities anymore for lucrative jobs. This will ease up the living situation and allow people to move into bigger spaces for a fraction of the rent they paid in their small city appartments before. Rural areas are thus experiencing a revival. To not make people feel too cut off from the outside world, more coworking spaces will emerge outside of the city.
The job market will open up, allowing companies to not only hire people from other parts of the country but also from other countries alltogether without the hustle of job visas etc. I’m quite excited for this development. It not only gives you the freedom to work from anywhere but also for anyone. But I’m also certain that more service-based solopreneurs will emerge which will then come together for different projects. This means less labor costs for companies and more freedom to chose the work you like. Coming together for different projects might also show you how well you actually work together. Maybe you even decide to stick together as a team. The possibilities are endless.
I’m really excited to see what the future will hold in store work-wise.