Just because your work-from-home routine isn’t terrible, doesn’t mean it can’t be better. In this piece, the author outlines three reasons why you want to change: 1) You feel bored with the same old, same old. If you find yourself in a WFH rut and it’s affecting your motivation and productivity, it’s time to change things. 2) There is a change in your household routines. Maybe your spouse has gone back to the office, or your kids have changed schools so pick-up and drop-off times are different. These changes in your environment are significant and mean that you need to think carefully about all parts of your day. 3) You want to build healthier habits. For others, the shift to work-from-home has improved their self-care because they use their commute time to enjoy an extra morning’s sleep or to fit in a few walks in the park. night But for others not going into the office has undermined their healthy behavior. If this sounds like you, try tweaking your schedule to better support your fitness needs. Small tweaks to your routine can make a big impact and give you a fresh approach to the new year.
We’re approaching three years since the initial office exodus, where millions of people found themselves holed up at home full-time, overnight. The initial shock of that transition wore off. So if you’ve joined the office rush, you’ve probably settled into a routine.
But is it time to change? As a time management coach, I help clients around the world navigate the transition from the office to home, and back again. What I find is that a few small changes in your schedule can make a big impact and give you a fresh approach to the new year.
Here are some reasons why you might want to change things – and how to make these changes work.
Reason #1: You feel bored with the same old, same old.
One reason why you need to change your work from home schedule is that nothing has changed in the last two years, and the monotony gets to you. Instead of starting work on time, you log in and snooze more. You miss the social interaction with your coworkers. And every day feels like the day before.
If you find yourself in WFH difficulties and it’s affecting your motivation and productivity, it’s time to change things.
One of the most effective ways to do that is with a change of scenery. I see people going to coffee shops, the library, or even hanging out by the pool if they live in a warmer climate. If you want a real office feel, you can also set yourself up in a co-working space. Going out and interacting with other people can add a little time and distraction. But if it overall helps you feel more energetic and motivated, then it’s a productivity win.
If it’s not easy to carry your work because you need multiple computer screens or other special equipment, there are still ways you can add variety to your routine. One can be through a virtual co-worker. You can ask a colleague or friend to work with you on a video call. Or you can use a service like FocusMate, which matches you with someone in the world who needs to do something at the same time you do.
Finally, you can add a little spice to your routine by including something new and fresh. For example, if you sign up for ClassPass, you can try different 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 at night can make you more focused during the day. Clients I’ve worked with have also said that being in a situation where it’s not good to be on their phones also helps their minds not to work at all.
Reason #2: Your household routines have changed.
Another reason to adjust your work-from-home schedule is to account for the changes that may have happened not to you, but to those around you. For example, maybe your spouse went back to the office, so they’re gone most of the day, or your kids changed schools so the pick-up and drop-off times are different, or you have a puppy and now you. steps must fit into your schedule.
These changes in your environment are significant and mean that you need to think carefully about all parts of your day. For example, should you adjust your start time to later or earlier? Should you look into carpooling assistance for school or sports? Does your exercise schedule need changes?
Recognize how changes in your home routine give you more or less time, and then reset your expectations accordingly.
Reason #3: You want to build healthier habits.
For others, the shift to work-from-home has improved their self-care because they use their commute time to enjoy an extra morning’s sleep or to fit in a few walks in the park. night But for others not going to the office has undermined their healthy habits, leading to no specific downtime so they work later and then go to bed. Others also give up their exercise routine when they stop going to the gym at work and never regain the energy. And others may have traded the office cafeteria’s salad bar for DoorDash and found that even their stretchy pants no longer fit.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your schedule to better support your health needs. Some potential solutions include giving yourself stronger start and end times so that you have time at night to rest and sleep at a decent hour. If you want more flexibility than a set schedule but also want to have clarity about when you’ve “done enough” for the day, another method is to count blocks of work that you finished, referring to eight or nine hour blocks. If you have set your hours if it puts you at 4 PM, 6 PM, or 8 PM, give yourself permission to stop without guilt.
To start folding back into physical activity, you can start small. Some of the people I work with start even 10 minutes of exercise a day that they can do from home. Apps like Sworkit can give you short routines and you can find tons of free YouTube videos. Another strategy is to take short five-minute walks as breaks instead of checking your phone. It takes about the same amount of time and improves your health and focus instead of damaging it.
Finally, if you are struggling with nutrition since working from home, you should include an hour on the weekend or a weeknight to choose or order groceries. Most grocery stores have premade salads and quick meals that are less expensive and often healthier than takeout. You can also pick 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 get better. Use these strategies if you need a new relationship with your long-distance work schedule in the new year.