If you’re one of many who have had to make the adjustment to working remotely, you probably know by now that it can be harder than it looks. Maybe you haven’t gotten the whole “morning routine” thing down just yet, or at this point, you may be feeling like you’re stuck in a rut with your daily routine in general. It’s easy to feel that way, and if you do, you’re certainly not alone—but that doesn’t mean you can’t break out of the rut and set yourself up for success as much as possible.
If you’re reading this, chances are you want to make a change. The first step? Being more intentional about your mornings. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to create a successful morning routine, especially if you’re still adapting to working remotely.
Create a go-to morning routine with these habits
Plan ahead according to your needs. If you’re not a morning person, chances are you won’t be at your best at 7 AM. If you’re foggy until 10 AM, don’t try to force yourself to join the early risers club right away—make it work for you instead! Or, if it can’t be avoided (say you’ve got an early meeting on Zoom, or have a tight deadline), then prep ahead of time. Jot down some notes for the meeting or set an alarm on your Fitbit watch as a reminder to get you in the zone and ready to make moves, no matter what time it is.
Create a to-do list the day before. This will help you mentally prepare for the day ahead in advance, organizing your brain so that you can get straight to work the next morning. Be sure to list the tasks on your list in order of priority, with the more significant tasks ranked higher up than the rest. In his book, Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, author Brian Tracy tells us, “‘If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.’ This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.”
The idea is that most of us have lengthy to-do lists on any given workday, and we’re not always likely to finish them. If we eat the frog first and get it out of the way, we’ll be more naturally motivated to check off the rest of our less difficult tasks in a more organic way.
Find out what wake-up time is right for you, then stick to it. Bedtime consistency is key. You already know that a regular bedtime betters your health by improving energy, focus, and even immunity, helping you to power through your day. Keeping your circadian rhythm dialed in will also help your body to adjust and wake you up naturally at the optimal time the next morning. But if you’re still working on that, you can try using Smart Wake on your smartwatch to avoid waking yourself up while in deep sleep.
Want to start waking up earlier? Try doing so in five- or ten-minute increments, so that you can introduce it to your schedule on a gradual basis, and make it less of a shock to the system.
Change out of your pajamas. If you’re working remotely, this is crucial—even if it’s just changing from your sleep pajamas to your work-from-home pajamas. Hey, we’re not judging! And, if we’re looking on the bright side, it certainly is cozier to be able to work in your sweatpants. So, even if you are putting on sweats for the third time this week already, what matters here is the shift that changing from your PJ’s into your “work attire” creates in your brain, signaling that you are now ready to get to work.
Another big one is moving from your bed to a designated work station—even if it is your couch. Need tips on creating a better work-from-home environment/ergonomic workspace? Check them out here.
Eat a healthy breakfast. A meal with 20 grams of protein will help curb cravings and keep sugar crashes at bay. Try any (or all!) of these high-powered breakfast ideas to power your morning and get you through all those Zoom meetings on your calendar with plenty of focus.
Go for a walk. Simulate a commute by going for a walk. Of course, this depends on what your schedule’s like on any given day, but even fitting in a brisk walk around the block can help “trick” your brain into thinking that it’s going somewhere, which will, in turn, get you to gear yourself up for work mode. If you’ve got the time, listen to an inspiring or motivational podcast during your walk—or, make it more mindful by leaving your phone at home and observing little details about your immediate scenery that you might not usually pay attention to.
Take it easy on yourself. If you’re not able to fit in all of the components of a successful and consistent morning routine every day, that’s okay. The shift to working remotely is a new one for many of us and one that is likely to have lasting effects on our society. The same goes for productivity levels—go easy on yourself. You’re doing your best, and every day is an opportunity to start anew.
If you need help adjusting, consider talking to a mental health provider to receive care by phone or virtually. If you’re in the US, you can use the COVID-19 resource tab in your Fitbit app to book a virtual doctor’s visit with PlushCare, a team of board-certified doctors that can address medical needs from ongoing conditions to prescription refills and more. Learn more about it here.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.