Remote work is a dream come true for many people. However, for those unaccustomed to the nuances of the practice, starting out can be difficult – especially if they still haven’t learned to cope with the additional free time.
Obviously, the first illusion is that there is enough time for everything, but this isn’t necessarily so. If you get too relaxed, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised when the tasks you left for later come back with revenge.
Another downside is slacking off. Many new remote workers unjustly think that remote work isn’t “real work,” so they waste time on meaningless tasks (as a rule, browsing their social media feedback or obsessive checking of incoming emails).
Both of these obstacles can be easily dealt with – the only thing you need to do is start the day on the right foot.
Let’s see how you can enrich your morning routine to improve your day.
1. Don’t Check Your Email First Thing in the Morning
As mentioned above, obsessive checking of emails is one bad habit capable of ruining your whole day. Like Michel Desmurget, research director at Lyon’s Institut des Sciences Cognitives, illustratively explains in his book The Digital Cretin Factory, this practice wreaks havoc on our cognitive processes (let alone the fact that it makes us less productive).
Make a new habit: reserve two time-slots for checking emails during the day and limit it to half an hour or an hour. Make sure to address all new messages for the day so that they don’t pile up.
2. Don’t Skip on Making Your Bed and Dressing Properly
Yes, seriously. Remote workers and especially freelancers know all too well how easy it is to start and end a day in pajamas. Keep in mind that the fact that you don’t have to live up to your appearance because there is no dress code doesn’t mean that you should revert to a couch potato.
Make your bed when you get up. As Admiral William H. McRaven stated during his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task… and another… and another.”
Next on, put on some proper clothes. Nobody is saying that you should wear a business suit – just don’t spend the day in your pajamas. (Yoga pants are perfectly acceptable, right?)
3. Add a Morning Activity
Some people prefer to work out in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some in the evening. It all depends on your biorhythm. If you happen to fall in the category of people who like to start the day with some light exercise, now you have the chance to do it.
If not, well, just add some activity to boost your energy levels. You can take out your dog or have a stroll outside your house and then enjoy a cup of coffee on the porch.
4. Make a Short List of Daily Goals
Okay, so most people are really grandomaniacs. Everyone is striving to beat some imaginary business “top list” day after day. While there’s nothing wrong with being dedicated, there is still a limit to the things you can accomplish in a day.
That’s why it is best to limit your daily goals to 3 to 5, on average. Remember to allocate enough time for each of them and still be left with sufficient time to take regular breaks. Never skip on breaks! And don’t eat your lunch in front of the screen. Otherwise, it will soon become a habit difficult to unlearn!
5. Do the Hardest Tasks First
Needless to say, in order to be efficient at work, you’ll need to be able to identify priorities. However, this should be done AFTER making your bed, taking a walk/enjoying a cup of coffee/taking out your dog. Remember that the most dangerous trap of remote work is to jump from bed and start working right away.
Once you’ve started working, do the hardest task first. This will give you a sense of accomplishment early on and leave you with enough time for any unforeseen circumstances.
Wrapping Things Up
By applying these little routines every morning, you’ll soon learn to make the best of your day with ease and enjoy both your work and leisure time. Experiment a bit with different activities or add a different exercise routine for each day. Either way, you’ll feel much better once you get used to your new-found freedom – with purpose.