Working from home for the first time can be challenging. When you don’t have an external influence giving structure to your days, it can be hard to stay focused and productive. Create an internal structure by establishing a daily routine. This will not only keep you on track, it will also help keep your stress level down.

  1. First, set up a schedule for when you’ll work and when you’ll be “off duty.” It’s easy to feel like you should be constantly “on” but if you never have downtime, you’ll burn out. Decide on specific hours for your workday, and build in regular breaks.
  2. During your breaks and off hours, do something restorative. Sit outside, go for a walk, drink a cup of tea, read, listen to music you love or an uplifting podcast, do something creative—whatever helps you relax and replenishes you. Scatter little treats throughout your day to keep your spirits up.
  3. Don’t hit the snooze button. It can be tempting to sleep late every day, now that you don’t have to leave the house. But this can actually make you feel more sluggish, and getting up at the last minute makes you feel rushed. How you begin the day affects the rest of it. When you start off out of control, you’ll be frazzled all day.
  4. Resist the urge to check email or your phone first thing. Get centered and decide your own agenda for the day before you expose yourself to outside influences. Looking at the news or social media can make you feel tense and anxious—especially these days! It’s much more beneficial to do something to make yourself feel good, which leads to the next tip.
  5. Carve out time each morning for self-care before you get to work. Now more than ever, it’s important to start the day on your own terms. A morning ritual will calm and center you. By putting yourself in a state of serenity first thing, you’re better able to stay there throughout the day. Also, being mindful will help you stay focused on the present, which will improve not only your productivity but also your mental state.  It may feel decadent to focus on yourself first when your to-do list is more than a mile long. But taking this time will make you calmer, happier, and more productive. A morning ritual is like a charging station. Just like your phone, you can’t operate with a drained battery. A morning ritual recharges you every day. It also allows you to set the tone for your day. Life coach Anna Kunnecke says, “My morning ritual gives me a chance to clear my mind of everyone else’s priorities for me. I’m not being shaped by the forces around me; I’m shaping my world from my mind and heart.”
  6. During your morning ritual time, do something that makes you feel good. Meditate, do yoga, journal, paint, take a walk, talk to a friend, dance to your favorite song—whatever puts you in a positive mindset. It doesn’t need to be complex or time-consuming. There is power in simplicity. Life coach Carla Robertson also uses rituals to transition into her work time, like breathing in an energizing essential oil such as orange, or setting an intention for the day. This can be a great way to make that mental shift from “off duty” to “on duty.”
  7. Before you settle into work, take a moment to review your to-do list and decide what is most important to accomplish that day. Kunnecke does this as part of her morning ritual. She says, “I update my Daily Compass, a tool I created, which is a map of my day. I plug in appointments, block out work time, and plan my entire day in advance. Then I identify my top priority for the day—the one thing I must get done.” This helps ensure that you’ll stay on track.

Taking charge of your days with a schedule, and your mornings with a centering ritual, will help you get through this challenging time. For more information on creating a morning ritual, you can check out