Finding a new routine

As anyone who experiences anxiety or who has gone through a period of change knows, routine is one of the key ingredients that can keep you on the straight and narrow. If you’re new to working from home (or let’s face it even people who usually work from home are all at sea at the moment), routine conquers all. Without a daily structure, the temptation to procrastinate, open and shut the fridge a hundred times and generally be ineffective can leave you exhausted and deflated by 11am.

Morning Routine

Get up at your usual time, have a dose of endorphins and treat yourself with kindness. This might look like:

7am: Wake at usual time; drink tea perhaps whilst scrolling through uplifting instagram posts like @mattzhaig @natgeotravel @snoopygrams @tinybuddhaofficia @midult @jamjar_flowers (you’ll have your own favourites – please share with us). If you want news, we recommend the brilliant new @thismuchiknow and Tortoise.

As soon as you get up, allow yourself five minutes’ stretching.

8am: Walk real or imaginary dogs and notice spring unfolding before your eyes (double dose of endorphins – three if you count the dogs).

9am: Shedloads of coffee accompanied by a chat with someone who uplifts you – have a bit of a laugh/moan.

9.30am: Shower and get dressed in your favourite clothes. Don’t save for ‘best’; we don’t know when that will be; and don’t skimp on the lipstick and perfume.

Create an office space of your dreams. Experiment with how best you work: with/without music, candle, flowers/plant, favourite beverage, ideally some natural light and settle down to a specific work task or work deadline. If it’s an option, make contact with as many fellow office workers and other people as possible.

Break mid morning: Whilst you are still feeling invincible, call a parent or someone you know needs to hear your voice.

Lunch: Take an hour off work (it’s harder than you think not to have a desk lunch). If you don’t, it’s definitely tough to get to the end of the day.

Afternoon Routine

Unless you are on a tight deadline, it can be difficult to motivate yourself after lunch, especially if you have attacked the carbs at lunch. This might be the time to do an online exercise class. The beauty of many of them is that you can put in a super quick ten-minute work out or – seeing as you are effectively your own boss now – longer. However long a break you decide, it’s important to stick to your timetable. Back at your desk, remember to keep drinking enough water – it helps keep fatigue at bay. I have a jug of filtered water with sliced fruit on my desk.

Fixing a time in the day to keep a connection with your immediate community might become more important as the days go by. More information about how you can get involved will be issued shortly but you could consider dropping notes around to your neighbours to stay in touch.

Before you leave your work space, make a plan for the next day of what you plan to achieve at your desk. And schedule in a few phone chats where before you might just have sent an email.

Final tip: if you are working at home with your partner for the first time, it might become necessary to find a ‘co-worker’ you can blame things on. Thanks to @mollytolsky for the following: ‘In our apartment, “Cheryl” keeps leaving her dirty water cups all over the place and we really don’t know what to do about her.’ And my favourite for keeping it real is this picture from Instagram (@djfattony) about keeping to rituals:

Evening Routine

This is when it’s important not to have a routine! Mix it all up: movie night, cards night, my suggestion of bingo night went down like a lead balloon but you get the idea. I have stock-piled Peroni Blue so that I resist the temptation to get stuck into the rose before the season’s even begun.

— Annie Reid
18th March 2020