How I Carve Out The Perfect Morning Routine To Stay Focused While Working From Home
by Melody Ong. |
Working from home used to be a luxury not many can afford, but nowadays most of us are indulging in it. Working from home has so many perks of its own - we get to wear cozy clothes, avoid early morning traffic jams, and spend more time with our loved ones.
But is it truly a luxury when working from home compromises our productivity and focus? When my office first announced that we must work from home, I was beyond ecstatic! Imagine working from the comforts of my room, that is almost as if I was given some part of the freedom to work remotely, away from the busy office and pressure of my managers staring at me across the desk.
Little did I know, working from home is actually extremely distracting.
My couch looks extra inviting to just sit and laze on, while my television is just calling for me to fire it up and binge my favorite shows. I couldn’t possibly get all my work done with these temptations. Now with all that distraction, working from home seems less like a luxury and more like a test of discipline.
When you find yourself easily distracted by the little things at home, a robust morning routine is one of the ways to kickstart your day and keep you focused throughout the day while working from home.
While most employees have started going back to the office since the CMCO, there will be some who are still working from home due to different shifts. Here I will share some tips on building your perfect morning routine to keep you motivated and productive while working from home; these tips apply to freelancers and students as well (now that most classes are done online).
Wake up on time
I’m not asking you to suddenly wake up before the sun rises; I’m saying if you usually wake up at 7 AM every day to head to work, you should be waking up at the same time even when you’re now working from home. While we’re able to cut down on commute time, waking up at the same time as you usually do helps to keep your sleep cycle regulated as well as offering you some extra hours to prep before work! I wake up at 6.30 AM even when I’m working from home. It gives me a feeling of starting the day fresh and affords me a few extra hours to do something for myself instead of jumping straight into work.
Read your daily affirmations
When we’re working from home, we tend to cut ourselves some slack. “I don’t have to be as strict on myself as if I’m in the office / classroom.” No. Put that thought away. Working from home demands just as much discipline as working in the office or classroom. We might be afraid to get into trouble with our managers or bosses back then, now we’re our own boss and manager. Keep yourself motivated by starting the day with some simple affirmations. It can be a short quote or a small paragraph, my personal favorite is: “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment”- Mahatma Gandhi.
Have a hearty breakfast
A hearty breakfast makes your tummy full and happy while keeping your mind focused and productive. Besides, having breakfast boosts your energy so you don’t feel sluggish until your next meal. Do not start your work until you have had your breakfast. When we’re cooped up at home, it’s no doubt that we’ll mostly be thinking about what to prepare for our next meal and also looking for things to snack on. Stop yourself from looking for morning snacks or thinking of what to prepare for brunch by having a good breakfast before work. These are all tiny distractions during your work; so if you can, get rid of them! I always prepare my breakfasts the night before to save time, overnight oats and sandwiches are my usual go-tos.
Get your heart pumping and body moving
The truth is, when we are working from home, we do not move as much as we used to. You will start to feel some aches and pains when you are seated at your workspace for too long. I always find myself feeling awake with a sharper mind after a good workout. At-home workouts are great to keep your heart rate up and body moving, also they rarely require special equipment. I practice simple at-home workouts for 10-15 minutes as soon as I wake up. If you are the kind of person that hates exercising, a good alternative to get your limbs moving is to just take a walk around your house.
Mind your appearance
Ah, pajamas. The essence of working from home is to be able to work in our comfortable pajamas, isn’t it? Working in your pajamas might give you all the comfort you wanted, but it affects your productivity and focus. Instead of your pajamas, perhaps try to put on nicer loungewear. A nice t-shirt and a pair of comfortable pants are a better alternative than slouchy pajamas. They make you feel fresh; and thus making your mind think that you’re ready to tackle the day!
Incorporate one small routine from your office
If your routine is to make coffee in your office’s pantry as soon as you get there, then do the same at home as well. Make your cup of hot coffee and bring it to your workspace to enjoy. My daily routine in the office is to greet everyone with a “Good Morning” as soon as I arrive. What I did was that I incorporate this daily routine into my morning routine. I would send a good morning text message to all my coworkers and surprise, surprise - I found out that with this routine to start the day, I feel encouraged to work and complete my daily tasks.
Have a to-do list of all your daily tasks
Occasionally, we still get distracted despite taking the measures to avoid them, and that is okay if you know what you have to do when you snap yourself back into focus. A to-do list is a great way that works as a reminder of what you must complete for the day, such as respond to all emails, conference calls with the team, prepare presentation slides, etc. I list my to-do tasks as soon as I start work and have it within my eyesight, so if I ever get sidetracked, I know where I’ve stopped and also how much I have left to do before I clock out.
It seems like there is a lot to do, but I assure you it is not as difficult. Now that you have read these simple tips on curating your perfect morning routine, it is time to implement it into your routine. Avoid feeling sluggish in the morning and get ready to kickstart your day with better focus and motivation to keep you productive. Together, let us strive to work more efficiently and stay focused even as we work from home.
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