PsychologyTips for a routine at home How’s working from home going for you? Are you spending a lot of time thinking about all the things you should be doing, but not actually getting any of them done? Is “working from home” more like a kid-wrangling, Zoom meeting, endless snacking, procrastination station with a pile of dirty washing on top? Whether you’re weathering the storm of the COVID-19 lockdown or this is just everyday life for you, creating a good routine could be just the ticket to getting things flowing. Writing lists, planning out your day/week/month, keeping a calendar and scheduling in work, play and personal time can significantly change your mood and clear your mind, so here are some of our top tips for getting your home life into tip-top shape. Write a to-do list Keep yourself on track for the day ahead by writing a to-do list the evening before. Having all your tasks written down will help create a sense of clarity, rather than clutter. Prioritise tasks by order of importance and cross them off when they’re done. If you don’t get around to everything on your list, don’t stress! Just add it to your list for the next day. Get the kids involved by asking them to write down a couple of things they’d like to achieve the following day, too. This helps give some predictability to your child’s day – and yours – knowing what they’d like to do with their time. Schedule down time and me time Include “me-time” activities such as exercise on your to-do list or schedule them into your calendar. By scheduling these into your day you’re less likely to let them fall by the way-side. Likewise, plan breaks for phoning a friend or catching up on what’s happening on Instagram and Facebook. A sneaky scroll through the ‘gram could end up chewing through a huge chunk of time, but if you know you’ve got 20 minutes set aside at 2pm, you’re more likely to avoid procrastinating. Don’t forget about lunch Having proper meals is one of the best parts about being at home; you’ve got access to all your appliances and there’s no chance of leaving your lunch behind in the morning! Stock up on ingredients to make easy and nutritious lunches and look at it as the perfect way to take a break and reset for the afternoon ahead. If you’re notorious for forgetting to stop and eat, schedule your lunch break into your calendar and set an alert to remind you, if your stomach won’t do that for you. Plan your dinner menu for the week While we’re on the subject of food, nothing makes you feel like you’ve nailed life quite like planning out your dinners on a Sunday and doing one big supermarket shop. If the idea of pre-planning has you breaking into a sweat, why not work to a loose weekly food schedule to make things easier? Think, Monday night – pasta, Tuesday night – tacos, Wednesday night – curry, etc. That way, you can mix up the meal itself but give you and your family a bit of predictability when it comes to the week ahead. Use commute time as exercise time If you’ve recently started working from home and it’s not the norm for you, take the time you would normally spend commuting to get your body moving. We all know how important exercise is for the mind, body and soul, but it’s also a good idea to schedule time away from home for a much-needed change of scene. If you’d normally spend 45 minutes sitting in traffic then you’ve got no excuse not to use that time for a bit of a sweat sesh. It’s a great way to start or finish your day. Create clear separation between day and evening With that being said, do something specific each day to help signify the end of your daytime activities and the beginning of the evening. This could be as simple as having a shower, going for a walk around the block, a few minutes of meditation and breathing or even pouring yourself a glass of wine. Whether you’re working from home or on lockdown with the kids, having some separation between your day and the nighttime dinner/bath/TV/bed routine is important for establishing a rhythm for the whole family. And whatever you do, make sure you actually clock off. Having a good work-life balance is key to staying sane. Remember, tomorrow is a new day If your routine falls completely to sh*t and you get absolutely nothing useful done, just let it go. Some days are just meant to be a shambles and that’s life. Whatever you do, don’t go to bed stressing about it if you can possibly help it. Put your phone away, flick on the TV or grab a book and surrender to any sense of calm you can muster. It can all wait until the morning. by rock the house.