When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and (almost) everyone I knew started working from home, I didn’t really expect my daily routine to change much. After all, I had given up daily commutes and office life six years earlier and started working for myself, all from the comfort of my condo—sweatpants, scented candles, midday sheet masks, and multiple-times daily kitty-cuddling sessions included. What I hadn’t accounted for, though, was how similar and monotonous the days became. I know I’m not the only one who feels like every day, week, and weekend are one and the same.
So, I started tweaking my already well-established WFH habits to keep things interesting, and it really helped boost my overall mood and productivity. These tips aren’t necessarily science-based, but in the hopes that one of them could help even just one person make their days a little brighter during these weird times, I’m sharing them here today.
When I started working for myself, all from the comfort of my condo, what I hadn’t accounted for was how similar and monotonous the days became.
Here are four easy WFH habits to incorporate into your daily routine to boost mood and productivity.
1. Go For a Quick Morning Walk
I know—one of the great things about working from home is not having to rush to get out the door in the morning. And granted, on super hot, crazy cold, or rainy days, it’s nice not having to go outside. But ever since I started taking walks in the morning as a way of doing more physical activity during the pandemic, I’ve noticed that I start my workday feeling a lot more awake than when I simply roll out of bed, get dressed, and sit down at my computer.
It doesn’t have to be an hour-long affair—I often just take a walk around the block for 15 to 20 minutes or however much time I have that day. My partner says he sees our morning walks kind of like a commute, using them to get into a work mindset: When we come back inside, he’s ready to tackle his meetings and projects. And if you really can’t get out one morning, try to fit in a quick walk after lunch instead!
2. Wear Real Clothes!
No, not every day. But I do recommend ditching the sweats at least a few times a week. It’s crazy, because I spent years working in my softest, comfiest clothes, and now, you’ll find me sitting at my desk wearing jeans, a non-stained-or-ripped T-shirt, and maybe even a touch of concealer and mascara. I find that being ready to leave the house or take an impromptu video call feeling good about how I look puts me in a more productive mindset. I know plenty of people who work from home and who had given me this tip before, but it took a global pandemic for me to finally get into the habit (and reap the benefits).
3. Give Your Phone Some Alone Time
With daily video meetings and virtual catch-ups with friends leading to more screen time than ever, it can sometimes feel like your brain has its own Wi-Fi connection. This makes it even more important to disconnect once in a while. Switch to reading on an e-reader (or a real paper book), or do something—take a walk, get coloring, anything!—without your phone. I promise, it’ll feel good not to feel fully connected to the chaos for a few hours, or even just a few minutes.
4. Set a Goal For Every Day
And by “goal,” I mean plan to do one task that isn’t work-related or schedule something fun in your calendar. It can be as simple as “buy milk” or “call mom.” Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you’re having an off day, but setting small goals can really help structure your days and give you a sense of accomplishment, as well as something to look forward to!
Voilà! These small WFH habits may seem simple, but making a conscious effort to implement these tips has really helped my mood and productivity these past few months. Don’t hesitate to share any of your own strategies for staying motivated in the comments below!