Stuck in a Remote Work Rut? Don’t Let Your Routine Get Static

Whiles in the throes of working and while listening to advice about working from home, it’s easy to forget that there is no one way to do it right.

Some people operate best when they wake up at the same time every day, have a morning routine, and get started on high-focus tasks at a fixed time. Other people truly function at their best when they can sleep in until they feel ready to get up, lounge around in their pajamas for a bit, and slowly ease into the day with low-priority tasks, like email and filing reports.

Those two types of people can in fact co-exist in one person. In other words, it’s entirely possible that having an early morning, up-and-at-’em attitude works for you now but a pajamas-and-email morning is what you’ll need eight months from now.

Too much advice about working remotely begs to tell us that there’s one optimal way to work. But there isn’t. There’s only what works for you in this moment, and it’s subject to change any time.

The hardest part of figuring out what does work for you now is sometimes you have to try a new habit or routine that feels uncomfortable at first but has a positive payoff over time. It’s a bit like running or picking up exercise. The first few times you do it are not fun, but in most cases, you eventually experience the benefits.

If your remote work habits aren’t working for you right now, ask yourself why. What do you not like? What’s getting in your way? Then ask yourself if there’s something you can change, even if you aren’t sure it will bring a positive effect right away.

Based on my own experience of working remotely for many years, I recommend people change something about their remote work routine before they feel stuck. Proactively doing something different, whether it’s setting your alarm clock for a new time, taking a longer mid-day break, or dressing up for work hours. By changing your routine, you may be able to thwart that feeling of being stuck in a rut before it happens.

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