Importance of Routine (AKA being productive and surviving working from home)

With the current state of the world / country / state, most of us are officially working remotely or telecommuting. Myself included.

I’m a self-described full workaholic. I love my job, and I love being able to spend my nights and weekends doing everything related to 4-H. 50+ hour work weeks don’t bother me when I’m able to work with the 4-H’ers and their families. I’m also extremely extroverted, and our office is full of other agents that I love to collaborate with and partner with to offer programming or come up with new ideas.

Now I’m working remotely from my apartment, which is about 500 square feet of just me, myself, and I. My roommate Ripley is very needy and insists on being disrupting phone calls or Zoom meetings depending on what is happening out the window.

New Office
My new office and filing system. Also known as my kitchen counter and an old file box

Routine is a vital part of keeping a successful and productive schedule, both in our personal and work lives. I might be in the comfort of my own home instead of my office, but I try to keep most things about my days the same

Get Set

Don’t do watch webinars on your couch, or answer emails in bed. Set up a work station in your home that is well-lit and comfortable. It’s much easier to be productive and working when you’re at a table or desk.

Replicate your usual working space as much as possible. I always work with post-it notes and to-do lists to keep track of what I’m working on and new ideas that might pop up. When I packed supplies to transport to work remotely, I was sure to grab my to-do lists and sticky notes.  Pick out the tasks you’ll do that day, and write them down as a reference point to make sure they get done during the day.

Set-up a designated work station that replicates the conditions you’re used to working in.

Get out of bed

I’m a morning person. I wake up without an alarm about 6:30 or earlier everyday. It would be so easy to roll out of bed, grab my computer and get back in bed to check emails and do other computer work.

Sitting in bed and getting work done might work at first, but depending on the amount of time you work remotely, your work might start bleeding into other areas of your life. Your bed is for sleeping and relaxing. Not worrying or stressing about whats going on at work.

Get out of bed, make your bed, and get in work mode.

Get Dressed

Even if you’re participating in video calls, you might just live in your pajamas or sweatpants while working remotely. No office dress code, it’s probably chilly, and comfortable is best right? Putting on real pants can help you get into the mindset of being productive. Getting dressed can help to wake you up and get ready for your day.

Even putting on a pair of shoes can help you feel more awake, and ready to take on your work load.

Get Moving

I’m sure you don’t sit at your desk the entire workday, and just because your office is now your home, doesn’t mean you have to sit still the entire day either! I usually take walks around the courthouse in the winter, run some stairs on my lunch, or walk around downtown Fargo in the summer.

Take breaks the same you would at work. Stretch your legs, walk your dog, do some HIIT, go check your mail, get up and get away from your work space. Be sure to keep exercising and moving around even while you might be self-isolating or trying to stay home as much as possible. YouTube, Instagram, and a myriad of workout apps can all help you to stay active during this time.

Get Fed

Just because you panic bought 200 rolls of toilet paper and a ton of junk food doesn’t mean that you have to spend all day snacking on chips. Try to approach your meals like you would at work. Eat a good breakfast, and even schedule out the times of day that you’ll be having a snack. This can give you something to look forward to, and also break up your day all while making sure you’re not over eating.

Measure out your snacks and meals so you don’t mindlessly snack, and make sure you fuel your brain and body with healthy foods as well as some of those great snacks! Also guys, just drink some water. Not only does it help keep you healthy and hydrated, your body needs more than coffee or energy drinks to run effectively. Try drinking some at the top of the hour as a reminder and another routine to add into your day.

Get used to it

Keeping the schedule and routine going doesn’t have to be life-changing. Keeping a similar structure of when you wake up and go to bed, your lunch, coffee breaks, and even scheduling in a time to video chat your coworkers can help you be the productive person you are in your office.

It’s a scary and uncertain time in the world right now, and many of us aren’t sure what timeline we might be back to work, or how long we’ll be combining our homes and offices. But remember that life will continue, offices will reopen, be sure to enjoy the present.

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