Telecommuting – working remotely or virtually from home – is more possible and commonplace now than it has ever been before. A huge number of people work partly or exclusively from home or outside a professional establishment.
Telecommuting can offer huge benefits and perks. Not having to worry about a dress code or daily commute to the office, having a more flexible schedule, or being more available to family members or children can all be radically beneficial. However, telecommuting presents challenges as well. Telecommuting can increase your likelihood of experiencing social isolation and loneliness, limit your access to team members or participating in company culture, and make it difficult to meet normal human needs that are often more automatically fulfilled when you don’t work remotely.
Benefits of a Morning Routine
The good news: these challenges are surmountable. With a bit of intentionality, telecommuting can be a healthy and sustainable form of professionalism that can sometimes achieve the best of both worlds.
One tool telecommuters can employ to ensure this is a solid morning routine. Morning routines help us program the healthy and life-giving habits we all need into our lives to make sure they actually happen. Meeting fundamental human needs for good rest, mental health, healthy nutrition and more is particularly important when our careers or roles are stress-filled or demand a lot from us. Morning routines can be a great way of achieving this.
Creating Your Perfect Morning Routine
A quick google search will reveal countless resources that detail ideas you can mix and match to create a good morning routine. In fact, you can find our version of a morning routine hacks list here.
Of course, the process of creating an effective routine for yourself extends beyond reading a list of good ideas. No two morning routines look the same – what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. That’s absolutely ok but the end goal is still about increasing productivity, happiness and having a better work-life balance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to taking the infinite number of ideas out there and building a routine for yourself that lasts.
Step One: Try
You never know what will affect you, and how, until you try it. On paper, a meditation session or lemon water or black coffee every morning might look appealing. But in practice, how does an activity actually affect you? Does it have an overall positive or negative affect on your day? Have you read ideas or heard of morning routines that didn’t sound appealing but that might be worth a try? You never know what something is like until you experience it yourself. It is almost always an advantage to try new things. You can always try it once and then take it off the list if you don’t like it. Moral: when in doubt, try it out.
Step Two: Test
A morning routine is just that: a routine. Once you’ve tried some different ideas at least once, you’ll begin to create a working set of morning routine elements you know you like. The next step is to turn those pieces into an established routine that you repeat over a period of time.
To do this, order, duration, and combination all come into play. Be creative and curious. Try out different groupings or lengths of time. Try switching out pieces one at a time to see what makes the most sense. Landing on a couple elements you happen to like is great, but oftentimes a little intentionality can help you turn an adequate routine into a rock-solid one.
Step Three: Track
Those who swear by their morning routines have almost always spent time and energy perfecting them. As you experiment with yours, the best way to learn what will work best is to not only test different variations of your routine but to keep note of what has worked and what hasn’t so that you can build on your experiences over time.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Tracking your progress can be as simple as buying a spiral notebook and jotting down a morning routine format you plan to try for a period of time – two weeks perhaps, or a month. At the end of that time, put an alert in your phone or calendar to take stock and decide what you’d change if anything. Keeping these notes can help you remember what has worked and what hasn’t in the past and inform future alterations as you go.
Step Four: Celebrate and Reassess
Morning routines often come in seasons. As our lives change, our morning routines do as well. Moving, getting married, taking a new job or switching careers, assuming different family responsibilities, having kids, finding new social circles, and more can all shift our availability and capacity for morning routines. Changing it up is normal. A good habit to get into is planning for reassessment once a year or once a quarter. This establishes a natural rhythm for your morning routines and gives you segway points at which you can change it up when necessary.
It’s also important to recognize the achievement that morning routines can be. They are valuable and healthy – and they also take discipline. When you assess, take time to celebrate! Whatever your morning routine looks like, it’s worth recognizing and cheering yourself on.
Here are a few last tidbits to help you as you embark on your own morning routine journey:
- Get back on the horse. Creating a morning routine is not about executing your plan perfectly every single day and giving up the first time you miss one. It’s about building habits that last a lifetime. Was yesterday a crazy day? Did your routine go out the window? That’s perfectly ok! Today is a new start and an opportunity to get back into your rhythm.
- Involve other people. Would your spouse, house mate, or child(ren) be interested in joining you for part or all of your routine? Do you have a friend or family member that might join you either personally or virtually? Want to invite a friend group to get onboard? Inviting others into your morning routine not only makes it more fun for you but can spread the wealth and benefits you’re enjoying to those you love.
- Never stop learning. It’s always a good time to improve. Hear a great morning routine idea from a friend? Try incorporating it into your own. Read up on experts or thought leaders and learn from their routines.
It’s never too late or a bad time to work on your morning routine. Especially for the telecommuters among us, every morning is a new chance to start or refine rhythms that can create significant benefits for you over time. Use the template above to get you started and you’ll be surprised at how much a morning routine can benefit your life, health, and career.