Virtual Vocations - Morning Routine Hacks

19 Morning Routine Hacks When You Work from Home

When it comes to morning routine hacks, working from home offers many benefits that working in an office doesn’t. Not worrying about picking out a different work-appropriate outfit every day and skipping a long commute are just two of the ways remote workers save time and reduce their stress in the mornings.

19 Morning Routine Hacks When You Work from Home

But what are some other adjustments you can put to use to get your day started in the best way possible when you work from home? Here are 19 morning routine hacks to get your day going when you work remotely.

1. Do as much as you can the night before

The best morning routines actually start the night before. The more you can do the evening before, the less you’ll have to face in the already-hectic morning. Making kids’ lunches, packing backpacks, and laying out school clothes the night before can go a long way in making your mornings smoother.

2. Unbusy your brain

After the busyness of the day, sometimes it can be hard to calm your mind to the point that you can fall asleep easily and get the restful sleep. One of the best morning routine hacks is to do a brain dump the evening before so you can get everything out of your head and get a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate—just take a piece of paper and write out anything and everything that comes to your mind.

This can include things the kids need to take to school with them the next day, forms that need to be signed, groceries or school supplies that need to be purchased, appointments that need to be scheduled or rescheduled, or projects that you need to focus on at work or around the house. The trick here is not to get wrapped up in the planning of the items on your list—instead, just get them out of your head and onto a piece of paper so you can fall asleep.

3. Get enough sleep

This one can be tricky, as we all know. There are only so many hours in the day, and trying to fit everything in can be challenging most days. But getting enough sleep is one of the most important morning routine hacks—if not the most important—when you work from home. It can be tempting to stay up an hour later just to get some quiet time after the kids are in bed, but the more sleep you can get, the easier it will be to wake up in the morning, and the better you will feel as you get your day going.

4. Wake up earlier

Many of the most successful people in the world wake up earlier than the average person—some as early as 4:00 a.m. While it’s important to get to know your own natural body clock and what works best for you, waking up earlier can help you accomplish everything you need to get done before work without the added pressure of the time crunch.

5. Don’t hit snooze

Sometimes, it can feel good to just rest for five more minutes before you need to get up. And if using that time is your version of meditating or starting the day with a mindful moment, then maybe it’s worth it to you. But don’t be fooled into thinking that hitting the snooze button actually allows you to sleep more because all it’s really doing is confusing your brain. Allow yourself to get the seven to eight hours of sleep your body needs every night and you won’t need to hit the snooze button in the morning.

6. Make your bed

As morning routine hacks go, this one might be one of the quickest ways to feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s such an easy way to start your day with a win. In fact, this advice became a viral sensation after Admiral William H. McRaven spoke about it during his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin that it became a bestselling book soon after. As Admiral McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

7. Don’t check your phone or work email first thing in the morning

Most of us are victims of habit, and this is one of the worst ones. Since many of us use our phones as our alarm clocks, it can be easy to pick up the phone to turn off the alarm, and then jump right over to email or social media and start scrolling. But this is also the easiest way to derail your productivity before your day even begins. Turn off your alarm and then keep your phone silenced and out of your hand as you go through your morning routine. Those work emails will wait until you’re on the clock, and the social media updates can wait until you need a quick brain break later in the day.

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8. Take a mindful moment

One of the best ways to break that phone habit first thing in the morning is by replacing it with something else. Instead of scrolling for five to 10 minutes, use that time to begin your day in a more mindful way. It can be as easy as doing a quick five-minute breather with a guided meditation you find on YouTube. You can also just close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and visualize your successful day ahead as you listen to the birds sing outside your window.

9. Drink a glass of water

As you’ve been sleeping, your body has been fasting. Before you dive into that pot of coffee, quench your body’s thirst by drinking a glass of water. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy with apple cider vinegar or lemon—just give your body the hydration it needs first thing.

10. Don’t wait to shower and brush your teeth

Anyone who works from home has, at some point, fallen into the trap of rolling out of bed and sitting down at the computer right away. Before you know it, it’s four hours later and you have to rush to get your teeth and hair brushed before your video call starts in five minutes. Take care of basic hygiene as soon as you wake up and you won’t be caught off guard if someone wants to hop on a quick call.

11. Put on real clothes

Yes, one of the many benefits of working from home is being able to wear whatever you want, whenever you want—including pajamas. But one of the best morning routine hacks for remote workers is to actually get dressed in real clothes. Just like dressing students in uniforms at school can positively impact their behavior, dressing in “real” clothes can help you feel more professional and ready to get to work. That doesn’t mean you have to wear clothes that you would wear to a regular office job, but definitely get out of those pajama pants or yoga pants and see what it does for your productivity.

12. Exercise—or just get outside

Is there any better way to start the day than with a little fresh air? If you’re a morning exerciser, go for your walk or run before sitting down to work for the day. Or, if you prefer working out mid-day or in the evening, take a moment to water the flowers, walk the dog, or enjoy your coffee on the front porch. The fresh air is good for your morale and will give you the natural energy you need.

13. Make easy-to-grab healthy breakfasts

Making breakfast for yourself and your family can take a lot of time in the morning, but you still want to get your day started right. First, try not to make different meals for everyone in the family—make the same thing for everyone. You might even try batch cooking over the weekend so you have breakfast options, like burritos or egg and potato muffins, ready to reheat and eat on the go if needed. If you’re not a big breakfast eater, make a week’s worth of smoothies on Sunday and have one each morning of the workweek.

14. Limit the decisions you have to make

Another one of the best morning routine hacks is to try and limit the decisions you have to make. That’s why many successful leaders adopt a “uniform” for dressing every day, or why other people eat the exact same thing for breakfast or lunch every day. The less time you take in making decisions about what to wear that day or what to make for breakfast, the more time you have to put toward the things that really matter to you.

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15. Create a staging area

If you’re lucky enough to have a mudroom in your home, this tip might be one you already put to use. For the rest of us who spend our mornings gathering shoes, backpacks, hats, mittens, and school library books from all corners of the home, creating a staging area for these items can save a lot of time and frustration on busy mornings.

A staging area doesn’t have to cost a bundle or take up a lot of space—it can be as simple as two wall hooks for each family member with a basket or bin on the floor below it. This way, each family member can hang up their bag and coat then place any shoes or accessories in the basket the night before, and everything is right where you need it in the morning.

16. Connect with your family

We all know mornings are hectic. And that some people are not morning people. But connecting with the people we love first thing in the morning can be the best way to get your day off to a great start. The more connected you feel with others, the more fulfillment you will feel as you go about your days at school and work, and the more you can look forward to being together again at the end of the day.

17. Connect with your coworkers

If you use Slack or another messaging app for your remote job, take a moment at the beginning of your day to check in with your coworkers. If you need advice or assistance on a project, you can give a coworker a heads-up at the beginning of their day so they can plan better. Or you can simply use it as a team-building moment to check in with others and see how they’re doing today. Working from home can be isolating, so take time to connect with your team.

18. Make a list of 3-5 goals to accomplish that day

When you first sit down to work in the morning—or even at the end of your workday the day before—create a list of the next 3-5 things you want to accomplish. You might already know in your head what you need to get done, but writing them down will help you keep your focus throughout the day. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from crossing those items off your list.

19. Do the hardest thing first

When you work from home, one of the best morning routine hacks is to do the hardest thing first. Crossing that major or project off your list first will not only get it out of your way but also give you the boost you need to tackle the rest of your day.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, reading articles like this can feel more overwhelming than helpful—like when you read articles about successful leaders and the hours they devote to their complex morning routines. Those routines might not always work for those of us who have families to take care of before we even get our day started. So just remember to create a morning routine that works for you.

Lemon water and staging areas for backpacks can be helpful, but if it doesn’t work for you, forget about it and try something else. Take a look at your morning routine and see what areas are a constant source of frustration for you—and if a little change might help. Those little things—like making your bed—might just be the small change you need to improve your mornings and change the world.

Do you have additional morning routine hacks to share with remote workersConnect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us your advice. We’d love to know what you have to say! 

iStock Photo Credit: 1. ThomasVogel; 2. fizkes; 3. DonNichols

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