I want to do more than just survive this time of being on maternity leave while being in quarantine. I want to thrive. That means I've had to be extra intentional with my daily routine. I'm used to working from home, but with a new baby and my mom and sister here to help us, my day-to-day looks a lot different. For years, I’ve had a work-from-home routine that I’ve adapted to serve me in different seasons of my life. So it was fairly simple to fall into a new rhythm with my little man. If you’re struggling to find a productive routine in this new normal, I’ve got you. Here’s 3 tips to creating your best work-from-home routine:
Focus on creating a routine over a schedule
To thrive in your days working from home you need to find a rhythm that works for you. And it’s really important we recognize that a rhythm or a routine is very different than a schedule. If you try to maintain a rigid schedule every single day, you're going to get frustrated. Each day presents different challenges and opportunities that you’ll be able to respond to best when you create a routine that has space and flexibility. Plan your day around when you’re most likely to want to do certain things. When you exercise is a great example of this. I’m usually most productive when I exercise after I’ve spent time working on the computer and enjoying my morning coffee. I’ve tried to be the gal who jumps out of bed, puts on her tennis shoes, and starts her day with a hard workout. But in reality, I love slow mornings working from the kitchen table so it’s important for me to honor that in my routine.
Create enough space in your routine
I think that we can all relate to that feeling you get when you put way too many things on your to-do list and end up totally defeated when you only check off one thing. That’s exactly the feeling we want to avoid. So it’s important to create a rhythm that has enough space in it. What does this really look like? It looks like not packing so much into your daily routine that there’s no room to mold it to your needs for each day. You can do this by creating your routine around your priorities. If your health is a priority for you, make sure exercise and meal planning are a part of your routine. If you want more one-on-one time with your kids, put it in your routine. When it comes to getting work done, prioritize three things that you want to get done for the day. And be specific! Something that keeps me productive in my routine, is having specific tasks I want to get done on specific days of the week. Monday I vacuum, Tuesday I water my plants, you get the idea.
Design your day in blocks
The way I create a flexible routine is by blocking. Blocking is when you divide your day into blocks of similar amounts of time and fill those blocks of time with activities that work well together. This technique is a great way to bring both variety and structure to every day. The magic of blocking is that it allows you to easily adapt to different needs the day brings without losing structure. For example, usually I exercise in the morning, but on Tuesdays my cousin teaches a 5pm Zumba class on Zoom. When I block my schedule, I’m able to swap the block of time that contains my exercise with a different block so my day maintains a structure I know works for me but also let’s me exercise at a time that works for me that day.
Here’s a peek into how I’m blocking my days taking care of a new baby and being in quarantine.
Because I’m breast-feeding, and baby eats every 3-3 1/2 hours, our routine is divided into 3 hour blocks.
Block 1 : 8am-11am(ish), I’m focused on getting some work done for my business.
Block 2 : 11am-2pm(ish), After the 11 AM feed we usually go on a walk and I'll try to get a short exercise in. I also make myself a smoothie during this time (yes, even something as small as making a healthy smoothie for myself is part of my routine because otherwise I don't take the time to do it).
Block 3: 2pm - 5pm, This time I spend on miscellaneous tasks that I want to get done. This can look like bath time, taking photos for Instagram content, cleaning the house, ordering some household supplies, anything that needs to get done.
Block 4: 5 PM to 8 PM, I’m focused on getting dinner ready, cleaning the kitchen from the day, and getting ready for the next day. After the 8 PM feed we start our bedtime routine and are sleeping as soon as we can be after that.
What I love about building my routine with blocks is that it’s designed to evolve. So as my baby gets older and and his needs change, our rhythm can easily change with them.
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