Now that you have your office set up, consider building in a routine and some boundaries to ensure you maintain a clear work/life balance.
A morning routine.
What did you do each day before going into the office? You may want to do the same now that you work at home. Instead of rolling out of bed and heading directly to your desk, we recommend waking up at least one hour before work. Avoid picking up your phone to check email or social media the moment you open your eyes. Starting your day with intention and clarity will have a resounding impact on the hours ahead. Our co-founder, Bryony, is a big advocate of a morning routine. Every morning she wakes up, makes the bed, gets in a little exercise (usually yoga, or a short spin on the Peloton), showers and gets ready, makes a balanced breakfast, cleans the kitchen, and heads to "work". While your morning routine may be different (especially if you have kids at home, or a dog to walk), here are some non-negotiables:
Make your bed
Studies show that people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more productive.
Avoid your phone (as much as possible)
It is really easy to get sucked into work by opening your email or jumping on social media as soon as you wake up. Adhere to your office hours by prioritizing yourself and your family before starting your work day.
Shower and get dressed
Showering and getting dressed before you start working is key, as you’ll feel more confident and focused. We’re not suggesting you put on a suit and tie, but at least shower, brush your hair, and put on a fresh set of clothes.
We have all heard how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only will eating breakfast give you the energy you need for the day, but it will also help minimize snacking (now that your kitchen is just a few steps away from your office!) and improve overall productivity.
Walk the dog, stretch, or do a few jumping jacks. Spiking your heart rate, even if only for a few moments, before work can help get the blood flowing and regulate stress throughout the day. And there is nothing wrong with doing the same once or twice during the day, rather than being tied to the desk and chair.
Get to work on time
Give yourself enough time to complete your morning ritual without rushing, and get to your office on time. Consistency is key. Following your morning routine will ensure you have a productive day.
A shut down ritual
Just as important as how you start your day is how you end it. Lay out a few steps to take at the end of your day and make it a routine. This will enforce the separation of work and life, and will allow you to wind down and turn off. You are likely under a lot of stress and pressure given recent events, and tying up loose ends will allow you to feel more in control and on top of things.
Create a list
Create a short “to do” list. You may want to do this in Trello or Asana if you are using one of these applications (learn more about these apps in section 4: Apps and tools to run your business). Jot down three things you want or need to accomplish the next day.
Close any open tasks you had planned for the day. Take ten minutes to review the “to do” list you created the day before. If there is something you did not finish, make a note where you left off, and assess if you need to finish it up the next day. If so, add it to your new “to do” list.
Jump into your inbox and check remaining unread emails. Reply to those that you can, and flag the ones you need to do the next day. If you have important emails that you have not yet replied to, add this to your “to do” list. Keeping your inbox clear will reduce stress and ensure you do not drop any balls.
If you work with a team and use Slack, Skype, or another app for daily conversations (learn more about these apps in section 4: Apps and tools to run your business), jump in here and make sure you have replied to pending questions. Then say goodbye and shut down the app.
Shut down your workspace
Turn off your computer, remove any used mugs or cups, wipe down your space, push in your chair, and if possible, turn off the light. Walk away from your work space and do not return until tomorrow.
It is easy to get absorbed into work. We highly recommend taking a break every hour or so. Get up and stretch, or even better, do a lap around your house (outdoors if possible). Make sure to keep your blood flowing throughout the day.
Take a lunch break
Choose an hour for lunchtime and schedule it into your day. Whether you have to break to make lunch for your kids or not, allocate an hour where you leave your workspace to nourish your body. Do not bring your lunch to your desk, and try not to be on your phone while you eat. This break from work can improve productivity, reduce stress, and help you stay sane.