Telework - Creating Your Routine

man sitting at desk

  1. Create a morning routine. As enticing as it might be to stay in PJs all day, it’s actually detrimental to your health. Not only does it impede productivity, but you might be more likely to make poorer food choices or forget to get up and move around. Get ready for the day as you normally would. Get dressed, have breakfast, make coffee. It helps your brain get ready to work and creates separation from when you are at home relaxing versus working. Pro Tip: Dress for the day in your exercise gear. Wearing workout clothes is a subtle reminder to get in some physical activity during the day. When you’re already dressed for the occasion, it may be more difficult to find excuses.
  2. Get up and move at regular intervals. With Stay at Home orders in effect, it might be tempting to sit at our computers and/or in front of a television all day. It’s easy to let the hours get away from us, but sitting for long periods is detrimental to our health AND our productivity. To combat becoming sedentary while teleworking, make a commitment to get up at least once per hour. At minimum, try to follow the down for 60, up for 3 rule. For each hour you spend sitting, get up and move for at least 3 minutes. The best way to ensure you’re actually taking the movement breaks your body needs, is to SCHEDULE them! Use the tools you already have at your disposal, like setting Outlook calendar reminders to move every hour. If you wear an activity tracking device like a Fitbit or Garmin, don’t ignore the built-in movement reminders (Pro Tip: many devices now also include a “Relax” or mindfulness feature). Even a load of laundry or an oven/crockpot can provide a timer, and bonus – peppering these activities in throughout the day gets you up and moving, too! If you need a little extra motivation, you may want to download an app to remind you to move or take a moment to relax and regroup. Check out these apps!
  3. Take breaks in their entirety. Don't short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. You can use an app, such as Break Reminder for Windows and Time Out for Mac, to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes. Or launch a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. Rather than just opening YouTube or a social media site, give your eyes a rest and use your breaks to get away from your desk. If you return after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20.
  4. Leave the house. A funny thing can happen when you start working from home. You might find that it’s easy to spend the entire day working away and never leave the house. Problem is, if you do this for too long, it can affect your mental health. Make a point to leave the house, even if it’s only to grab a mid-morning cup of coffee at a local coffee shop or take a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood. Even while practicing social distancing, you can still get outside in nature for fresh air, vitamin D, and a break from the same scenery of your home day in and day out.
  5. End your day with a routine. Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be signing out of Teams and Jabber, an evening dog walk, or a 6 pm virtual yoga class. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite podcast will do. Maybe even set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your normal workday is coming to an end. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.

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