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One of the best ways to stay productive when you’re working from home is keeping a structure to your day, and a great morning routine is often the key to starting off your day well. However the UK recently entered lockdown due to COVID-19 and it’s taken me a few weeks to find a routine that works for me while working from home.
With everything that’s been going on in the world, many people’s worlds have been turned upside down and it can be extremely difficult to focus, especially when working from home. So here’s how I balance a productive morning routine with self care.
Wake up naturally: 7am – 9am
One of my favourite parts of lockdown is the freedom to wake up when my body wants to. As long as you get all your goals for the day done, it really doesn’t matter when you wake up, and I’ve been much happier since I’ve started waking up naturally.
I leave my blinds wide open the night before (I live on the top floor of a flat with no neighbours so privacy isn’t an issue for me) and let the sun wake me up anywhere between 7am and 9am. I’ve found that waking up naturally leaves me feeling more refreshed than ever, and I’m not looking forward to waking up to loud alarms again.
I’m someone who is much more productive in the mornings, so if I ever started waking up after 9am I would take steps to start waking up earlier, but for the time being my body has been loving waking up with the sun so I have no reason to change anything as of now.
Play animal crossing: half an hour
Animal Crossing New Horizons came out on the Switch last month, and checking on my village is the first thing I do when I wake up. I’ve found it’s a relaxing way to start my day and puts me in such a good mood so that when I do get started on my work, my anxiety is low and I have a clear mind.
When there’s so much going on in the world, it’s easy to become stressed as soon as you wake up. But I find doing something soothing first thing in the morning helps improve my productivity throughout the day. Yoga and meditation are also great options for this.
Scroll social media: 10 minutes
I then check my social media and reply to any new messages. I always go to bed before midnight so I normally have a few friends to respond to. However I try to limit my social media consumption to 10 or 15 minutes in the morning. Again I’m most productive in the mornings, so I try use social media most in the evenings, when I’m trying to wind down and am less likely to get productive work done anyway.
I also try to avoid the news for as long as possible. I’m all for knowing what’s going on in the world, but the news is so upsetting at the moment so I try and put it off until the afternoon so I can stay happy and ignorant for as long as possible.
Get dressed and wash my face: 5 minutes
As much as I’d like to stay in my pyjamas all day, for me getting dressed is an important part of getting work done in lockdown. Getting dressed every day helps puts you in the right headspace for productivity. I usually keep it simple with jeans and a t-shirt – still comfy but enough to remind myself that this isn’t a holiday.
I’m usually someone who likes to take a quick shower in the morning. I find it wakes me up and makes me feel refreshed for whatever I have in store that day. However since we entered lockdown I’ve been skipping on the morning showers and taking baths in the evening. It’s more relaxing for me, and we all need to do everything we can to relax in such a stressful time.
So instead of showering I’ve just been cleansing my face when I wake up. It does the same job of making me feel refreshed but means I can still have a bath later without drying out my skin.
Make coffee: 5 minutes
Coffee for me acts as a way to get me started on work as early in the day as possible. I tell myself I can do whatever I want with my mornings but I’m not allowed my first coffee until I start doing work. I love coffee and my body has a slightly unhealthy dependence on caffeine so it’s usually enough of an incentive to get me out of bed and at my desk.
I’m lucky in that I have a wonderful coffee machine at home, and I’d suggest any coffee lover to invest in one as soon as they can afford it. My coffee machine has been such a blessing in a time when all the coffee shops are closed.
Sit down at my desk plan my goals for the day: 15 mins
I sit down with my coffee and outline everything I want to get done that day. I make sure my goals are ambitious so that I have no excuse to slack off that day, but also achievable. Achieving all my goals for the day is extremely motivating and allows me to keep up momentum every day.
After I’ve finished my coffee I start getting work done. I don’t usually eat breakfast because I’m never hungry in the mornings, but I can normally fit in two or three focused hours of work done before I get hungry and make myself lunch.
It’s been such a strange time for everyone and I’d be interested to know how your morning routines have changed. Let me know in the comments below!