Now that you’re working from home, your workday probably looks a lot different. For a lot of us who weren’t planning on making this transition, the road has been a little bumpy. There are pros and cons to working from home. Many of us are discovering those now.
Avoiding Bad Habits
For one thing, working from home dramatically increases flexibility. With the exception of real time events like teleconference calls and deadlines, most things can be done...well, whenever and wherever you want. Do you want to draft that sales report at 1:00 am while lying upside down on the couch? That’s now possible.
But is it the best idea to take advantage of all that flexibility just because you can? Maybe not. For people that struggle with self-control, it might be a one-way ticket to developing poor work habits that escalate in severity.
It’s important to remember that the situation with COVID-19 will end. When it does, the vast majority of us will go back to our regular routines. That means no more pajamas, people. It also means—brace yourselves—commuting once again. Gross.
Setting a Commute-Adjusted Alarm
Here’s the thing. When things go back to normal, you don’t want to be in for a rude awakening—literally. That 6:30 am alarm ringing in your ears is going to be a pain if you’ve grown accustomed to starting your remote workday at 10:30 am.
For that reason, we suggest following one simple step to keep you on track in the weeks ahead. Not only are we hopeful that it will make transitioning back to your regular schedule easier, but we think it will seriously boost your productivity.
To that end, try the following: set your alarm to its normal, pre-COVID-19 time plus your old commute time. Here’s how it works in practice:
|Pre-Covid-19 Wake-up||Pre-Covid-19 Commute||New Covid-19 Wake-up|
|6:30 am||15 mins||6:45 am|
|6:30 am||30 mins||7:00 am|
|6:30 am||45 mins||7:15 am|
You get the idea. Now to follow this tip correctly, don’t cheat! If your commute was only 15 minutes, don’t pretend like it was more just to eke out a few extra minutes of sleep. And, of course, you didn’t have a commute before COVID-19, then you were already working from home.
Why will this tip work for me?
The rationale is simple. If you want to have a “normal” workday, you should be doing as many things normally as possible. That includes getting started and “clocking in” at the same time you used to.
By adding your old commute time to your old alarm time, you are signaling to your body and mind that the only thing that has changed between then and now is that now you have a zero-minute commute. You will still follow your pre-COVID-19 morning routine: showering, eating breakfast, making coffee, etc., just without all the hassle of packing up and actually getting to work.
Following this tip demands self-control. But here’s the thing about self-control: it gets easier the more you exercise it. And when it’s the first thing you do in the morning, it sets the pace for the rest of the day. You’re expected to make your bed every morning in the military for a reason.
Don’t let your bad habits snowball during COVID-19. Get more out of your day by setting your alarm to a commute-adjusted time. When you “punch in” right at 8:00 am (or whenever your day started before), you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish…from home, no less!
Let us know on Twitter @MachadoConsultg what you can accomplish with all the time you save working from home!