Just because your work-from-home routine isn’t terrible doesn’t mean it can’t be better. In this article, the author outlines three reasons why you might want to make a change: 1) You feel tired of the same old, same old. If you find yourself in a WFH slump and it’s affecting your motivation and productivity, it’s time to change things up. 2) There has been a change in your family routines. Maybe your spouse is back at the office, or your kids have changed schools, so pick-up and drop-off times are different. These changes in your environment are important and mean you need to think carefully about all parts of your day. 3) You want to develop healthier habits. For some, the shift to working from home increased their self-care as they changed their commute times to enjoy more sleep in the morning or fit in some evening walks. But for others, not going to the doctor’s office affected their healthy habits. If this sounds a bit like you, try changing your plan to better support your health needs. Small changes in your routine can have a big impact and can give you a new approach to the new year.
We’re approaching three years since the original office exodus, where millions of people settled in at home full-time overnight. The initial shock of that transfer is gone. So, if you’ve ever taken a corporate flight, you’re probably used to a routine.
But is it time to make a change? As a time management coach, I’ve helped clients around the world get from the office to home and back again. What I have seen is that some small changes in your schedule can have a big impact and can give you a new approach to the new year.
Here are some reasons why you might want to change things up—and how you can make those changes effectively.
Reason #1: You’re bored of the same old, same old.
One of the reasons you may need to change your work schedule at home is that nothing has changed in the last two years and monotony is getting to you. Instead of actually getting started on time, you log in and then procrastinate some more. You miss the social interactions with your colleagues. And every day is like the previous day.
If you find yourself in that WFH slump and it’s affecting your motivation and productivity, it’s time to turn things around.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by changing the scenery. I’ve seen people go to coffee shops, libraries, or even hang out by the pool if they live in a warmer climate. If you want a real office space, you can also put yourself in a co-working space. Going out and being around other people may add some time and distraction. But if it helps you feel more energized and motivated overall, it’s a productivity win.
If your work isn’t easy to transport because you need multiple computer screens or other specialized equipment, there are still ways you can add variety to your routine. One can be through a virtual friend. You can ask a colleague or friend to work alongside you in a video call. Or you can use a service like FocusMate, which pairs you with someone else in the world who needs to do something at the same time as you.
Finally, you can add some spice to your routine by incorporating something new and fresh. For example, if you sign up for ClassPass, you can try a variety of gyms in your area. Every week can be an opportunity to experience something new. Or you can search MeetUp.com for events happening in your area. Sometimes having something to look forward to in the afternoon can help you focus more during the day. Clients I’ve worked with have also said that being in an environment where it’s rude to be on their phones helps them get their minds off their work.
Reason #2: Your family routines have changed.
Another reason to adjust your work schedule from home is to pay attention to the turns that may happen not to you, but to those around you. For example, maybe your spouse is back in the office so he’s gone most of the day, or your kids have changed schools so the pick-up and drop-off times are different, or you have a puppy and now you have to walk. put in your program.
These changes in your environment are important and mean you need to think carefully about all parts of your day. For example, should you adjust your start time later or earlier? Do you need help with a car for school or sports? Does your workout plan need tweaking?
Acknowledge how changes in your family routine give you more or less time, and then readjust your expectations accordingly.
Reason #3: You want to develop healthier habits.
For some, the shift to working from home increased their self-care as they changed their commute times to enjoy more sleep in the morning or fit in some evening walks. But for others, not going to the office affected their healthy habits, leading to no defined downtime, so they worked later and went to bed later. Others gave up their exercise routine when they stopped going to the gym at work and never regained momentum. And others may have swapped the office cafeteria salad bar for DoorDash and realized that even their stretchy pants no longer fit.
If this sounds a bit like you, it’s time to change your plan to better support your health needs. Some potential solutions include giving yourself a firmer start and end time so that you have time to relax and go to bed at a reasonable time in the evening. If you want more flexibility than a set schedule, but also want clarity about when you’ve done “enough” for the day, another method is to break down the blocks of work you complete, aiming for eight or nine blocks. Count by the hour. Once you set your work hours at 4pm, 6pm or 8pm, give yourself permission to quit without feeling guilty.
You can start small to start falling back on physical movement. Some of the people I work with even start with 10 minutes of exercise a day that they can do at home. Apps like Sworkit can give you short routines, and you can find lots of free videos on YouTube. Another strategy is to take short five-minute walks as a break instead of checking your phone. It takes almost as much time and improves your health and focus rather than detracting from them.
Finally, if you’ve had trouble eating since you’ve been working from home, you may need to take a weekend or a weeknight to shop or order groceries. Most grocery stores have pre-made salads and quick meals that are cheaper and often healthier than eating out. You can also grab apples, bananas, baby carrots and other quick and easy snacks to encourage nutritious eating.
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Just because your work from home schedule isn’t terrible doesn’t mean it can’t be better. If you need a new relationship with your remote work schedule in the new year, use these strategies.