After taking a full week off at the beginning of the new year, I realized something pretty significant. I have been living each day at home like I was living it when I was going to an office. Before my company sent us home for the “foreseeable future,” my work week looked a particular way. And while it worked for me at the time (yet I still can’t fathom how I woke up at 6:30 every day to work out), I realized…I don’t have to live that way at home. In fact, I can shape an entirely new workday at home because I no longer have to worry about a long commute or working in Manhattan for hours on end.
All that being said, I decided to organize my work week at home in a different manner—and decided to jot them down to share with all of you. So if you need a little shift in your work-from-home routine, here are some of my tips for organizing an easier workday at home.
Start the day with intention.
It sounds so yoga-like when you write it that way, but I’m not really sure how else to describe it. Before my morning routine would start with a bike ride, but ever since the weather got colder and my work hours slightly shifted to earlier in the day, I haven’t found the energy to get up and do my workout before I sit down at my desk.
Instead of forcing myself into my previous routine, I decided to listen to what my body needs at the moment—and right now, it needs rest. So instead of rolling out of bed and into my workout clothes, I turn off my alarm and reach for my bible. I take 15 to 20 minutes reading a devotional in the morning (I use She Reads Truth) and work on some scripture memorization. I know that may sound a little strange for those who aren’t familiar with the practice, but I find having scripture on the tip of my tongue can be helpful motivation for me when I come across a harder challenge during my day.
Whatever your intention is—reading scripture, practicing gratitude, meditation, journaling your thoughts—take the time to do so. It puts your mind and body in the right place to tackle whatever the day has to offer.
Get the biggest tasks done first.
I have a rule when I start my workday: Never start with emails. Unless it’s an immediate request from my boss, I usually wait until the afternoon to do this mindless chore. Because I work in media, I tend to get over 500 emails a week from PR managers trying to get me to notice their products in hopes that I’ll write about them. And as fun as it is to learn about new products, my mind is the freshest in those first few hours of the morning, and I don’t want to waste that intellectual energy on emails.
Instead, I try to get the bulk of my work done before lunch. Whether I’m writing an article or editing articles from writers, I like to do it first thing in the morning. I tend to have a lot more energy at that time, and never seem to work as quickly (or as efficiently) after my lunch break.
Take a lunch break.
I literally schedule my lunch break into my day—and don’t take meetings ever at that time. It’s a sacred time for me to shut off my brain and eat whatever meal I had prepped—or even cook something delicious if I’m in the mood. I sit at my kitchen table away from my computer and give myself those few moments of silence as I munch on my lunch.
And yes, I am proud of that little rhyme right there.
Save tedious tasks for the afternoon.
After my lunch break, I start to feel a little lazier—probably because I start working around 8 a.m. these days. Because I know this about myself, I try to save the tasks that don’t require a ton of brainpower for the afternoon. This is the time I go through my inbox, assign stories to writers, send questions to sources for my stories, set up interviews and meetings, do data research, and more. Sometimes I even take this time to catch up on the news to look for potential future stories.
Destress with a quick workout.
Like I mentioned, I used to workout in the morning. But after a long workday at home, I find that my brain—and body—need to get moving. And working out is the best solution to relax. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I like the way my muscles and body feel after a workout, so I find it to be the best form of destressing at the end of a workday.
Also…this workout does not have to be long! I only workout for about 15 to 30 minutes after I finish up my workday, and it’s not always the same thing. I rotate through different kinds of workouts like HIIT, pilates, yoga, kickboxing, weight training, barre, and more. Right now I have an obsession with the Tone It Up app, but my husband and I also have a subscription to Beachbody On Demand. It may seem lush to pay for two programs, but between both of these, we pay less than $200 for an entire year of workout programs. That’s less than a month at some of those poshy NYC gyms!
Oh yes…there’s a tea time set within my workday at home. After a workout and a shower, I turn on that tea kettle and prepare a little plate of treats for tea time in my kitchen. Sometimes it’s simply a cup of tea, sometimes it’s a whole pot. But it always involves cookies.
Tea time usually isn’t long—around 30 minutes. I sip on warm tea, nibble on a cookie, and either read up on the news or dig into a book.
If having an afternoon tea time sounds like something you need, here’s my list of tea essentials you can snag to get you started.
Blog writing / creative work
More work after a workday? I know, I’m nuts. But this blog doesn’t magically happen! I have to work on it as well, and I find I actually get stuff done if I set a time to actually sit down and do it. So for an hour or two in the evening, I work on blog posts. During the week is usually when I write my posts, and on the weekends is when I set up times to take those pretty lil’ pictures you always see.
I also write “creative work” because there are other projects I am tending to outside of this blog. While I do set a goal to write one blog post a day (even if I’m writing it to be published in the future), sometimes I’ll take the rest of the early evening to focus on whatever creative project I want to pay attention to at the time.
Cook dinner & relax!
I have a new hard stop at 7 p.m. No more working on the blog. No more emails. I get off my desktop, walk into the kitchen, and cook whatever dinner I have planned for the night. I usually keep it simple—in the winter I’ve been obsessed with making warm casseroles for just the two of us, or sheet pan dinners. Something I can easily throw in the oven to cook while I sit on the couch and either read, crochet, cross-stitch, or catch up with some family or a friend. Having those few hours in the evening feel precious, and they help me to relax and prepare my mind, body, and soul for the next day ahead.
What other work-from-home tips would you like me to share? Let me know in the comments below, I love to hear from you!
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