WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
Self-care is all about daily rhythms and routines. If you're like many people around the world, you're finding yourself at home much more than you usual these days. Without the routine that was set into motion each day starting with your commute, the days can leave you feeling lost and ungrounded. Your habits and routines are activated primarily by your environment. Your desk and co-workers play a part in what you're doing, what you'll do next, and when. These environmental cues eventually fall into a predictable rhythm that becomes your routine. That's part of what can make the sudden transition to working from home both challenging and disorienting. Your home environment is cued for a different set of behaviors--a completely different way of being in your day. So, what can you do?
START YOUR MORNING RIGHT
How you feel in your body, and your mind is greatly determined in the first hour of your day. Here are a few tips for setting yourself up for success:
Start your day with water. Drink up to 4 cups of room-temperature to warm water when you wake up to hydrate your body and invite it into the day
Keep your phone away from you for the first hour of the day. No email. No news. No social media. Just you, your body, and your space. If you share your space with others, take a few moments to connect with them. Make eye contact. Say good morning and smile.
Invite in a little movement in your body. Stretch, do a 7-minute HIIT workout or a few sun salutations. Start to wake up the body and get your juices flowing!
Meditate. Aim for more than zero minutes a day.
Write in your journal. Get thoughts out of your head before new information into it.
Have a nourishing breakfast.
HOW TO CREATE STRUCTURE WITH YOUR TIME
Time can start to get muddled when working from home. There isn't a marked transition like a commute to differentiate between "home life" and "workday". Using rituals and time blocks and calendars become helpful tools to support greater clarity and focus in your day.
Set a start time for your day, and create a morning ritual that signifies that your workday has started. A workday ritual could be something as simple as turning off your phone and opening your laptop, or something more complex. Here is what mine looks like: I sit down in front of my computer, put my cup of tea down, and set an intention for the day. I turn the sound off on my phone, pause, take a few slow breaths and close my eyes. I think about how I want to feel at the end of the workday and connect to that emotion. The intention generally comes to me from that moment. I say it out loud. Sometimes I write it down on a sticky note and place it on the wall in front of me, so I see it throughout the day. Then I open my computer, look at my project management tool and see what I need to get done that day and move forward from there following my time blocks. Since there is no formal transition from work to home, its easy for work to bleed into evening connection or wind-down time. An evening ritual can be immensely helpful here. Here are some things that can be helpful:
Set a timer for 15 minutes before you want to stop work for the day.
When the timer goes off, finish up what you're working on and start to review the day.
Look at your task-list or project management tool and see what did and what didn't get finished today.
For everything that did get done, celebrate it for a moment. This could look like just saying to yourself, "Hey! That gone done. Awesome!"
For things that didn't get done, be gentle with yourself. Look at the task, see what happened, and reassess. Course correct where you can, and give yourself grace where you can.
Take a moment and plan out the next day.
Close your workday with a moment of gratitude. What gifts did you receive throughout the day--small, tiny moments count here!
Close your workspace and leave it for the next day.
CREATE TIME BLOCKS:
Creating a new routine to support working from home can be a fun adventure in what I like to refer to as "sculpting time." The day has many hours in it. Start with choosing how many of those hours you want to spend working. You can look back at a previous workday schedule for reference. Next:
Block out chunks of time for general activities such as essential projects, administrative tasks, emails and correspondence, and breaks (these are important!).
Schedule these times in on your calendar. When you're doing one, close off the other things. For example, if you're working on a project, close your email and silence your phone. This will help you hold your focus undisturbed so you can complete the task.
Use timers: Set a timer for the duration of time you want to spend on any given task. Honor the timer. When it stops--so do you. Stand up, stretch, and move on the next time block.
Honor your breaks. Taking breaks is important business. When you take breaks, you refresh your sense organs and refocus your attention. Your mind may object, telling you that you don't have time for a break or tell you, "let me just finish this one thing…". That's a trap. Notice it, pause, and take your break anyway. The break doesn't have to be lengthy--just long enough to stand up and step away from a screen for a bit.
Stay in integrity with your calendar, AND be flexible. Initially, allow more time for things than you think you need. Things can come up at home that wouldn't when you're not at home. If you have young children at home, expect that your calendar will be more fluid and that your time blocks may not be exact. That's okay. Be gentle with yourself. The key here is to keep your focus on one thing at a time as much as you can.
HOW TO CREATE STRUCTURE WITH YOUR SPACE
As I mentioned earlier, your actions--and next actions are primarily determined by your environment. It's human nature. In Awaken, group members spend time looking at their environment to assess how to make small adjustments to help support the habits they want to develop. This practice is referred to as Engineering or Architecting Your Environment, and it's surprisingly fun to do!
Assess your workspace. What do you need to have readily available to do your work efficiently? Writing utensils? Pad of paper? Chargers?
Check to see how many distractions are in view. Is the television in sight? That's a great cue to adjust your space!
How cluttered is your workspace? Where can you create some space around you so that your mind can settle in on the project at hand?
Water. Do you have water nearby? Staying hydrated throughout the day is essential to maintaining clarity and focus. If you have a water bottle with you at your workspace, you are more likely to drink it throughout the day.
In all of this, remember to include a few basic things:
Be gentle with yourself
Let go of perfection--it's okay if things don't go exactly as you planned
Take breaks--get up and look out the window, stretch your body, and drink some water.
Did I mention to be gentle with yourself?
These are some ideas for things that work. What do you do to structure your work-from-home experiences?
Learn more about how to deepen your self-care practices here.