Along with a mastery of Zoom and knowing how to make a great cup of coffee, understanding how to refresh your routine is an essential skill when you’re working from home. Here are some simple ideas on how to keep things fresh when your home is also your office.
Review your schedule
Juggling work and home-life is now more challenging than ever. If you're finding it hard to balance the two, think about creating a fixed schedule. This could take the form of working a regular nine-to-five, or perhaps staggering your working hours to suit your household’s needs.
When it comes to lunchtime, try not to eat where you work. As well as avoiding crumbs on your desk, this will also create a physical boundary between your work and leisure time. Take yourself away from your computer and phone if you can and give yourself a real break from screens. Different strategies work for different people, but whatever you do, make sure that you are planning in enough time both to work and to unwind.
Refresh your surroundings
Work and home-life boundaries are now blended for many of us, which can make it tricky to switch off from work when you leave your desk at the end of each day. Why not try making a habit of sprucing up your workspace regularly? Whether that’s clearing out an ever-growing collection of mugs or just some general clutter, try to remove any distractions that have crept in. This will ensure that when you next return to work, you’ll have a fresh space to start a brand new day.
Whether you have a dedicated space to work from home or not, consider a change of scenery every now and again. Try switching to the rooms that catch the sun or see if your partner or housemate fancies switching desks for a few hours. You might find that mixing things up a bit sparks a brand new wave of motivation.
If you’re looking to give your workspace a makeover, here are some ideas and tips for creating the perfect home office.
Ward off unnecessary distractions
It can be stressful working from home, especially if you happen to share your house with family members, flatmates or four-legged friends. While your partner or housemates are obviously an unavoidable distraction, there are other diversions that can (and should) be avoided while you’re working.
Take laundry and other household chores, for example. While these are looming tasks in every home, remember that before lockdown you (hopefully!) managed to stay on top of them outside of your working hours. Although life at home right now blends these boundaries a lot more, try not to let chores distract you from your working day. You could try getting household tasks done first thing in the morning, for example, or perhaps create a cleaning rota and stick it on the fridge.
Be kind to your body
Working from home full-time is a lot more stationary than working in an office or premises: no commute, no meetings, no lunches with friends or colleagues. If you’re finding yourself more glued to your chair than you’d like, here are a few ways you could add some activity to your days.
Consider setting an alarm every hour or so to remind you to take time to stretch your legs and have a posture break. Make the most of your daily allotted outdoor exercise too. Why not try exercising at different times of the day so you can give yourself a boost when you need it most? You could go for a morning stroll when you know you’ll have your head down for the rest of the day or a lunchtime run to clear your head after a busy morning.
Care for your mind
If you’re feeling the effects of stress, or even if you’re not, try to integrate some calming activities into your daily routine.
Research shows that music can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as having the ability to improve concentration and productivity. Set aside some time to create or find music playlists to match different moods. A calming, classical playlist could help when you’re stressed, or perhaps try listening to an epic throwback playlist for a pick-me-up. If you’re missing the hustle and bustle of your pre-coronavirus working environment, then Coffitivity offers a selection of ambient sounds from coffee shops and other spaces around the world.
Working from home right now can also mean being inundated with news from around the world. While it’s important to know what’s happening, a constant stream of information can add extra pressure and anxiety to your day. You might want to consider an app that limits your screentime, or perhaps try taking a break from having the radio or TV playing in the background.
While your work routine is important, make sure to give yourself downtime when you need it too. That’s one of the perks of being self-employed - you’re your own boss! If you have any tips or advice for preserving peace of mind during these turbulent times, drop us a comment below.