The Best Morning Routine For Remote Workers
by Josien - 05 Jun, 2020
Work from home? Don’t have to go to the office? Don’t let this be the reason why you’re wasting your morning! I’m not saying you need to be super active from the moment your alarm goes off, absolutely not. But you will be much happier and feel energized with a morning routine when you work from home! So get out of those pajamas and spend the time you don’t spend on commuting useful.
What your morning “routine” looks like right now:
The first thing you do in the morning is to check your phone. You’re probably still in bed. After making a strong cup of coffee, you turn on the TV. While you are half-listening, you’re answering WhatsApp messages, while you are browsing over your social media feed. As soon as the caffeine finally kicks in, you open your laptop on the couch and start a productive day at home.
For everyone who works from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this is currently the way they start their day. Working from home is new to them and they have no idea what they are doing. They no longer have to commute, meetings take place online, and having lunch outside is not possible. For many, the reason to take it a bit easier in the morning. No clue that they destroy their daily productivity in the first hour of their day.
After all, why would you get up extra early? You do not have to bring the children to school and the gyms are closed anyway. Still, the outbreak doesn’t have to be the reason to waste your morning. Yes, you do indeed have fewer obligations now, but this is a great time to give your morning a useful interpretation.
I have been working remotely for three years now and I love it, but only because I found a good morning routine. In the beginning, I also slept in, walked around in pajamas, and was taking it easy. I now better know and have seen my daily productivity skyrocket after sticking to a morning routine. It gives me more energy, I dance through my agenda, and I have peace of mind in the evening.
What does my morning routine look like? Well, something like this:
1. Don’t check your phone before breakfast
Leave your phone alone for a while when you get up. I use my phone as an alarm clock, but a separate alarm clock would be best. No phones in the bedroom at all would be the ideal scenario. But that is a step too far for me. Every morning I force myself to put my phone back on the nightstand without checking messages. No WhatsApp, no email, no socials. Nothing.
What happens if you do check your messages? Your brain is immediately switched ‘on’. Because of that one message about work, you have already started working in your head. You start your day with questions and agendas of others, not your own. Postpone that moment until you sit at the table for breakfast. Just take a shower and wake up slowly.
2. Start your morning routine with making the bed
I can’t do without this in my routine: making my bed in the morning. Several studies have shown that this promotes productivity. I don’t know to what extent it helps me, but I love it. It distracts me if I don’t.
It might be a small accomplishment, but making the bed sets the tone for the entire day. Perhaps no one has extolled this virtue of making the bed each morning as well as Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations. In a 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin, Admiral McRaven shared his thoughts on the matter. “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another,” he said. “By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
These are powerful words, and you don’t have to be able to bounce a coin off your military-style-made bed to benefit from them.
3. Dress as if you are going to the office
When you work from home for days on end, it is tempting to put on comfortable clothes. A comfy sweater and sports pants are simply more comfortable than the representative outfit you normally put on.
And let’s be honest: you are not going anywhere and if you have a skype conversation, a neat blazer will suffice. Nobody who sees you in your pajama pants behind your laptop… Do it anyway.
A very simple, but very effective way to have a productive day at home is to pretend to go to the office. So you dress and take care of yourself as you normally would.
Why? How you feel affects how you behave. And spending your working day in a comfortable outfit quickly creates the idea that you can take it easy. If, on the other hand, you do something in which you feel representative, you will carry out your work more seriously.
4. Meditation in your morning routine
Rarely do you take a step back to look at your own work, actions, or life. That way you keep making the same mistakes and it becomes difficult to let go of old or wrong beliefs.
Therefore, take a moment every day when you consider these matters. The morning is ideal for this. Find a place where you will not be disturbed and ask yourself a number of questions. Write down and answer them, or meditate on them. The choice is yours.
- What is my intention for today?
- Which actions can I achieve this?
- What am I looking forward to today?
- What can I do to give myself or someone else a nice day?
Quite simple questions can make a big difference in your day and mood. You will notice that you start your working day with more intention and start working more purposefully.
No time you say? Normally you spend at least 30 minutes to get to the office. Meditation takes no more than 10 minutes. I see an opportunity!
5. Stretch or work out
Your cortisol level (a stress hormone) is at its peak early in the day. This hinders your cognitive functions and makes clear thinking difficult. Sports lowers this substance and complements it with two other (better) substances, namely dopamine, and serotonin. These give you energy and provide a feeling of happiness so you have a very productive day. And no, you don’t have to do an intense workout. A simple walk (fresh air!!), yoga, or 10 minutes of stretching will do just fine.
6. Use the morning to read
Even if it is half an hour; starting the morning with reading is an excellent way to start your (working from home) day. Not only does it ensure that you start your day calmly and quietly, but reading also provides many insights. And if you make this a daily habit, you will find that you can easily take a few books a month off your ‘to read’ list.
So open a book instead of scrolling directly over your social media feed upon awakening. Better for your brain and your mood.
Instead of reading, you can also use this time to learn something new. Think of Spanish lessons, write a letter, read the newspaper, or do a puzzle. As long as it has nothing to do with your phone or computer! No screen time, please.
7. Make breakfast
Take the time to make your breakfast. And make something healthy. There are so many healthy and quick breakfasts to make, delicious! Do you live with people? Then try to make breakfast together and eat together. Start your day socially in person instead of on your phone. And after all, your breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Enjoy!
Do you live alone? You can grab your phone during breakfast. Scroll through your social media, answer WhatsApp messages, and sort your emails.
8. Discuss the day with your partner and children
Of course, you’re busy. You will not only have to perform your normal activities but also take care of your children and the household. Due to this, you might forget to pause for a moment and connect with your family.
Try to do this anyway. I understand better than anyone that you prefer to start that project as soon as possible so that you can stop a little earlier at the end of the day. Still, you start your working day better after a social moment with your family members.
After all, your partner also suffers from different working conditions and it is also strange for your children that they are now sitting at home instead of their school desks.
Therefore, before everyone starts their own tasks or homework, you go through the day. For example, during breakfast, or while making breakfast. What will every one do today? What do you look up to? What is important for you?
Taking the time to do this ensures that you start your working day in a positive way and strengthens your mutual bond in this strange situation.
9. Have a clean work desk
It is important that you have a fixed workplace at home with a tidy desk. No messy papers or unnecessary things around. Make it tight and tidy for a better focus. Make sure you have daylight on your desk and can occasionally look outside. It is also important that you have a comfortable office chair and desk. It is not always easy to create this, but it is super important to have a permanent workplace, so the rest of your home is work-free.
A morning routine in short:
Don’t let the fact that you don’t have to show up at the office be the reason you’re wasting your morning routine. Make good use of the time you normally spend on commuting. Take a look at your partner and children. Work out, do some self-reflection. Oh, and please get out of those pajamas!
I also have an evening routine, which will follow later!