How to Create a Routine when Working from Home

For those of us that work from home, I'm sure we thought about it initially as the dream. It really can be, though –– it just takes some work to make sure that you're both living the dream and keeping the dream job. Creating a routine is entirely necessary to keep working from home a productive and healthy lifestyle choice. Here are some tips I've learned from working from home.

Get Dressed

Why get dressed if no one's going to see it? You're going to see it, and you're going to have to hang out with you all day. Getting dressed and grooming yourself sets a routine and gives you a small feeling of accomplishment to start the day, motivating you to keep accomplishing small tasks in your day. Sure, you should be comfortably dressed –– but pajamas just won't cut it if you want to feel productive.

Set Meal Times

It's 2PM, you've forgotten to eat lunch, but you kind of had a smoothie around 10 or so... so it's fine, right? Set up a routine mealtime so you don't miss lunch by an hour or two and then wonder why you can't focus. Take your lunch to listen to a podcast or find a quick YouTube video to keep you company; things that aren't as distracting as getting into a TV show, but will still make it feel like you have "company".

Go for a Walk

It's so easy to roll out of bed, walk to the computer and sit there for eight hours. Don't let yourself lose out on exercise simply from the convenience of working from home. Take walks and get fresh air. Let your body take the break that it needs. That email can wait –– your health can't.

Communicate Frequently

Working from home can feel a bit lonely and isolating at times. Use this as an opportunity to connect with your coworkers (if you have any), whether that's through IM, email, video or phone calls. Don't allow yourself to shut off from the rest of the world just because you're working by yourself. If you're feeling too isolated, find a coffee shop to work at for the afternoon to change things up a little bit.

Ignore the Distractions

That sink full of dishes can wait until your workday is over. If you're getting up to stretch and you notice the dishes aren't done, or the floor isn't vacuumed, or something needs cleaning –– it can wait. Separating your work life from your home chores is vital to keeping your working time productive. Being able to work from home isn't like taking a day off and catching up on responsibilities. Keeping those boundaries separate allows you to keep your working drive and motivation.

On a similar note, leaving Netflix and Hulu behind while you work can be difficult but important for some to maintain a working mindset. We've all fallen into the trap where we leave a show on in the background and suddenly, it's an hour into it, you're enthralled and must know what happens next. Save yourself the heartache of having to catch up on work because you were too into your binge-watch and leave the TV out until after your day ends.

Do you work from home? What's an essential part of your routine?