A healthy routine is key to success while working from home. Use this daily work schedule to help keep yourself on track.

Working from home can sound like a dream come true. There’s no need to commute to and from work, and your kitchen offers better lunch opportunities.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, many workers are working remotely. Some larger tech firms predict remote working may become the norm when the outbreak passes.

Without the structure of office life and being around co-workers, it can feel difficult managing a working day.

You can still create a daily work schedule to get the most out of your time. If you're wondering how to make a daily schedule for yourself, read on to learn more.

Start With Your Working Hours

The first step to creating a work schedule is to define your working hours. Sticking to the same schedule you'd use at the office is a good place to start.

Start at the same time and end when you'd normally leave work. Take your lunch break as normal and add a 15-minute break in both the morning and afternoon.

If you know you're more productive between 10-6, rather than 9-5, then shift the hours accordingly. Just make sure people know when you're available.

At the Start of the Day

Find a way to signal to signal the beginning of your day. Getting dressed is a good choice because it makes you feel more professional.

Some people choose to meditate or journal before they start working. You may prefer to exercise.

Giving yourself a starting point makes it easier to transition from 'home' to 'work'. Trying to fire up the laptop in bed doesn't build the same work habits.

Ending the Day

Avoid 'work creep,' where the amount of time you spend working slowly expands throughout the day. It's harder to draw that line between 'work' and 'home' when you're working from home.

Set an alarm if you need to and mark the end of your work for the day. Finish up whatever you're working on at the end of your working day. Walk away from your computer and do other things.

Block Out Your Calendar

Your next step is to break up your working day. If you normally have meetings with colleagues, you might move these meetings onto a platform like Slack or Zoom.

You might want to spend an hour on project admin, followed by two hours of creative work. Then after lunch, you might work on idea generation or project research.

You will know exactly what to work on and when based on your calendar. Best of all, you can adapt your work from home schedule to suit your productivity patterns.

If you prefer more flexibility, you can always lengthen or shorten these blocks depending on the project you're working on. 

Tell Others When You're Working

One of the problems of working from home is that others don't always know when you’re available. Freelancers will tell you that friends won't always understand if you're not available to chat on the phone.

Those around you need to realise that you're working, even if you're at home. Do you have a separate space within your home that you can use as an office? Then use it.

Create boundaries so that people know you're unavailable between certain times. You need this work and home structure as it will assist you with getting into, and staying in, work mode.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be easy to avoid invitations to meet for coffee. Turning down the chance to talk on FaceTime may be harder.

We recommend that you schedule these much-needed social interactions for non-working hours to preserve your daily work schedule.

Add Exercise to Your Daily Work Schedule

It's easy to underestimate how much movement you do during your working day. When you switch to working from home, you suddenly have less reason to move around.

There's no walking as part of your commute. You won't be navigating large workplaces or moving around to use the photocopier.

Exercise is still important in your work from home schedule. It can help reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. It will also be beneficial for your mental wellbeing.

Instead of sitting at your desk all day, build some exercise time into your schedule. You can find lots of 15-minute home workouts on YouTube.

Consider replacing your afternoon coffee break with a workout. If that's not possible for health reasons, or you have limited space you can try yoga or meditation.

Reduce Distractions

Consider turning off your email notifications for an hour. This lets you get deep into a state of 'flow' where you'll do your best work.

Try to avoid the temptation to work with the TV on in the background. It's easy for a programme or news item to pull us away from what we're doing.

The easiest rule of thumb is 'would this distract me at work?' If the answer is 'no' because you don't have it at the office, avoid it while you're working at home.

You might try a productivity technique like the Pomodoro technique. For this method of working, you break time into chunks.

Work for 25 minutes then take a break for five minutes. You might walk around the house or make a drink during the break. Then, repeat the block.

You can only do actual work during the 25 minutes. So, you can't scroll through your emails or social media. 

This technique makes it easier to stick to your daily work schedule. You can assign different tasks to each block, or use it to make a larger project more manageable.

Stick to Your Schedule for Best Results

This is a simple way to create a daily work schedule. It's flexible enough to allow you to plan your day to suit your preferred way of working.

Yet, it's also structured enough to avoid time-wasting or distractions at home.

You'll get more done and will be able to reduce the stress of switching to remote working during a difficult period.

Are you wondering how working at home may affect your business? Click here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The advice and guidelines recommended in this article may change in the future as more and new information becomes available.

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