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28 Days of Mindfulness

DAY 17

Strategies to help you optimize your work-from-home routine

How to make the most— and feel your best— while working remotely.

To be successful while working remotely, you need to exhibit a number of key competencies, according to two researchers. Those are: excellent communication, self-motivation, discipline, initiative and curiosity, trustworthiness, adaptability/flexibility and high self-efficacy.

To achieve these competencies within the context of your new normal, establish healthy habits and strategies that work for you and stick with them. While we all figure out how to best navigate new challenges and stresses, be kind with yourself and your colleagues. What will help you feel productive, efficient and organized at home?

Let’s start with how you can optimize your set-up to make the most— and feel your best— in your new work-from-home routine.

We spoke to Patisha Grant, a Merrithew Coordinator for Education Services (and a day-of Wedding Coordinator in her spare time), about how she stays on track while working remotely.

1. Create habits and routines that work for you

“I start my day as if I were still going into the office. I try to keep the time I wake up the same every day— even on weekends. I prepare breakfast and get out for a 30-minute walk before I log on.

“Throughout my day, I schedule two fifteen minute breaks for stretching or a small workout and a half-hour lunch. I like to listen to music (with no lyrics) to keep my mind from wandering.”

At the end of her workday, Patisha’s made it a habit to write a to-do list for the next day. “I find scheduling time to work on each item also keeps me on track.”

2. Freshen up your workspace

Make your at-home workspace comfortable and pleasant. For Patisha, that means as tidy and clutter-free as possible. “I tend to get easily distracted, so this is important for me,” she says.

“I like to have fresh flowers or a plant in my at-home workspace and I enjoy having lemongrass in the air from my diffuser. I would recommend finding a well-lit location – move furniture around if you have to, and on occasion, even change locations in your house to get work done.”

3. Keep your digital space organized

While you might be dealing with a lot of switching around of tasks, pivoting on different assignments and emails back and forth, try to maintain consistency in where and how you file your digital documents.

“I try to remind myself to keep a filing system that is clear for others who may need to access the documents in the folders. I like to create short and concise file names, and avoid abbreviations that are difficult to understand. If there are multiples of the same type of document, I use consistent labeling (ex. Type of Document_Education Type_Order #_Date).”

“The other key thing to consider for filing is that generally you want to create a system that allows quick access to files. Take time to consider what type of information you need to see right away, and how the files can be sorted easily – numerically, alphabetically, date created, etc.”

4. Leave room for the unexpected

“When working on weddings, I’ve learned to set realistic goals and leave room for the unexpected. I approach my work at home the same way – especially during this time, where we are implementing ongoing changes to support our partners. Each day looks a bit different, so when I generate my to-do lists, I keep it to no more than five points and add or adjust it throughout my day.”

Read more from the 28 Days of Mindfulness