We’re in an unprecedented time in history – remote work for millions across the country has become the new norm for the foreseeable future. The idea of working from home (WFH) may have given you an immediate thrill and then the panic set in. For many this is uncharted terrain and we wonder if our productivity will decrease, curious how some projects will be completed, and question if this has the power to alter our attitude and creativity. 

While these questions ruminate in our minds, here’s the truth: This is a new adventure to learn more about yourself, rekindle your creative spark, trust in your power, and the power of human connection. Here are some tips to help tune-up and tune-in to the new experience, keeping wellness top of mind during this novel WFH experience.

Avoid Morning Madness – While it’s tempting to turn on the TV or put in a load of laundry, these tasks won’t get your deliverables done on time. Treat this like any other work day. Set your alarm, get up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, meditate. Then you’re ready for business as usual. It’s okay to be flexible during the course of the day, however a solid morning routine sets the roadmap for accomplishing your daily goals. 

Paper First, Device Second – Most of us start the day by immediately checking emails, social media, and getting on the computer. By starting the day in this way it won’t be too long before the brain fog and fatigue set in. Here’s how to recalibrate and change that strategy to increase your productivity and help you better manage the day:

Grab a journal or notepad and write down the 3 tasks/goals to work on today. What do you need to accomplish? What are the priorities? By writing this down on paper, before falling down the rabbit hole of notifications and news alerts, it gives our brain the opportunity to sync into the daily plan. Use this tool so the day doesn’t evaporate into a distant memory.

Remain a Team – Human connection and camaraderie are important elements to experience when working from home. We can feel isolated and forget that we have co-workers to rely upon. Once a week schedule a group video call as an opportunity to connect with each other. We may not be together physically, but emotionally and spiritually you’re still a team!

Use this call to bond, build, and be more human with each other as you focus on consciously connecting by silencing phones and giving the gift of being present. Prior to the call organize your thoughts on paper, in bullet point style, for quick and easy reference during the call. The brain will be bursting with oxytocin which increases trust and helps to decrease stress.      

Screen Fatigue is Real – While digital tools have helped us achieve more than we’ve ever imagined, we know how important it is to have balance to be our most efficient, effective, and productive. Take mini breaks during the course of the day; bathroom breaks, get up for some water, or look out a window at something green and beautiful. 

Taking micro breaks from screens gives our brains and eyes a rest. Nature nurtures. When looking at something green it relaxes our brain and lowers our cortisol, the stress hormone. And if you can’t take a break right away, maybe go off camera on that conference call and doodle in the margins of your notebook to give your eyes a break. Research states that doodling actually increases listening. And printing out long form documents to read in a new location instead of on your computer can also make a big impact. 

Paper Part Two: Use a datebook or planner. It’s so much easier to glance at an open datebook, as opposed to toggling back and forth digitally all day long. Online calendars are great when multiple users need access to the same information, however it’s a nice break for the eyes, the brain and you, to use paper. At the beginning of your day decide when you’re leaving the office. Mark it in your planner and take action on your commitment otherwise it’s too easy to look up and see 10 pm on the clock. 

WFH may not feel normal for most, but it’s the new normal for now. In reality this is much bigger than geography, it’s an opportunity. This is the moment to begin practicing digital discipline, balancing your day with analog tools, committing to self care, and leaving burn-out behind forever. This is the moment which can define us and give us the perspective on workplace wellness so we’re ready to return to the workplace culture redefined, refreshed and reinvented.    

Holland Haiis is a Speaker, Author of Consciously Connecting, and Productivity Expert for How LIfe Unfolds.