Whether working or schooling from home is new for you this year or something you’ve always done, one thing is for sure … having a structure definitely has its benefits.
Adding structure isn’t about mimicking exactly what you’d do at an office or school building. It’s about adding comfort and minimizing distractions and making sure you are in the right mindset to maximize productivity.
6 Ways to Create Routine for Working (and Schooling) from Home
- Have a designated space.
Just as you would go into an office or a place for learning, have a specified place where you work. Ensure that the space is clean, well-lit, and not in the main areas of your house, if possible.
I’ve worked at home for 15 years now, and there are definitely days that I try to set up shop at the kitchen table. But then I’ll notice the dishes next to the sink, I’ll think about picking things up, and of course, there’s the dreaded pantry. Having a designated space to “go to work” will put you in the right mindset and help your brain know that this is “where you work.”
- Get yourself ready.
Sure, it’s nice to be able to stay in PJ’s all day, or even a pair of ol’ pajama pants with a decent shirt on top (fools your Zoom’ers every time, haha). But there’s something nice about actually showering and putting on a fresh pair of clothes, or if nothing else, washing up and getting mostly ready. This gets you in the mindset that it’s a new day, there are new goals, and it’s time to get motivated.
- Have a specified schedule.
Having structure means having a schedule. Prior to the week starting, have a plan in place. You may find that putting it into your Google, iCal, or another online calendar is what works best for you. Some still prefer having things all laid out in an old-school planner that they write in. There’s no right or wrong way, but however you do it, just be sure to have a plan in place for when you’ll start work or begin attending school classes, when you’ll take breaks, and when your workday ends. And just as important … when you end, you end. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean that work needs to go all day and night! Now there is one caveat – obviously if you are doing remote school, there will need to be time carved out to work on schoolwork.
- Plan meals.
We couldn’t write a piece on creating structure/routine and not touch on food, right?! I referenced the pantry above; the refrigerator can also be a foe when working at home. When boredom strikes, it’s too easy to head that way! But not when you have a plan. Over the weekend, take time to plan out your meals, prep some foods, and have an idea of what you’re going to eat vs. just grabbing things as desire strikes.
We find that lunches without a plan can be especially tough, which is why I created Real Lunches, Real Easy! It’s a series of packed lunch plans (6-weeks each) that guide you through three recipes you make each weekend to be the foundation for a week’s worth of healthy lunches. Each day has a visual of what the meal looks like along with a coordinated shopping list for each week. If you want a fail-proof plan so you can minimize all those dreaded midday distractions, this is your answer! But you should hurry on this one—Real Lunches, Real Easy! is only available through 8/24 this year. So don’t miss out!
- Ignore distractions.
Easier said than done, I know, but this one you have to trust me on. The laundry will still be there when work is done. Personal phone calls should not occur while on the clock. If you implement the above suggestions—having a set space, time, being in the right mindset, and not allowing yourself to consider other thoughts that come into play—this should be easier to do. You deserve the focused time and likely need to stay focused. Honor that with yourself.
- Stay connected with others.
Working and schooling at home can feel lonely at times. Make sure to have an outlet. Sure, virtual calls with others can help, but getting out and having social interaction (safely, of course!) is very valuable, too. Make time for a break so you can take a walk with a friend, grab a cup of coffee outdoors, or anything of that sort.
So, there you have it. Have you worked from home in the past, has your child done remote learning, and do you have other tips to share? Are you a homeschooling parent who can offer tips specifically for keeping kids on track? Share your suggestions in the comments below!