(Art credit: Karen Fischer, "Everything Under My Wings Prospers")
It goes without saying that the last two years have brought about drastic changes in how and where people work. Whether you worked in clients' offices, co-working spaces, or just your local coffee shop, you're probably spending much more time working from home these days.
Now that you've got a WFH routine set up, it's time to get serious about making positive changes to bad habits you've been holding on to.
1. Winging Your Day
We've all heard the saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Imagine starting your workday without a list or schedule set up. Distractions are going to easily slide into your day, like mindless social media scrolling, binge-watching shows, or household chores.
Before you know it, your day is over, and you didn't get much work done. Try doing that day after day, and you can see how it can hold you back.
When you're at home, a daily plan is even more important because you need to stay self-motivated. Set a schedule for yourself: think about lunchtimes, break times, deadlines, meetings, and setting aside hours to accomplish specific tasks.
Use a calendar (paper, digital, whiteboard, doesn't matter what kind!), set reminders, and schedule everything, including personal tasks like exercising, organizing, walking the dog, or meditating.
2. Making Poor Meal Choices
Help yourself out by adopting meal prepping habits.
With time-saving appliances like instant pots, air fryers, slow cookers, rice cookers, and even egg cookers, you can have several meal options cooking at once. Then, place meals in containers for the next few days so they're ready to go.
This will help when you wait so long to eat that you will devour anything in sight.
Some great options to avoid mindless snacking on junk food are:
● Precutting some veggies and keeping them in the fridge for quick, healthy snack options
● Boiling eggs, so you have a quick, protein-filled option ready to go
● Keeping fruit in a visible spot, so you reach for that instead of a bag of chips
Rather than cooking every day, you can meal prep once a week and reap the benefits by having several days worth of meals ready to go.
If that's even too much for you (we're not judging!), get a rotisserie chicken and throw some into a salad, soup, casserole, tacos, or add some veggies to the side.
The point is, stop eating junk because you're used to rushing or skipping meals based on your learned eating behavior from your previous work environment.
You may have been conditioned to grab fast food on the way to work, at lunch, and on the way home for dinner.
You're not that person anymore, and that's no longer your routine. Let your updated work hours and environment work to your advantage.
3. Not Drinking Enough Water
You no longer have the excuse of forgetting your water bottle or that the vending machine only had soda. Cut out the soda or caffeine drinks, and replace them with healthier options like green tea, flavor-infused water, or just plain water. You now have access to your fridge at all times. Keep a supply of filtered water handy so that you can continuously drink it throughout the day.
If drinking water is not currently a habit for you, there are apps and even water bottles that can prompt you to drink water. You have to start somewhere; there's no shame in using technology to help you stay hydrated.
4. Not Taking Time to Slow Down
You've probably heard of the benefits of meditating but may feel like you're too busy to fit it in.
Stop putting up roadblocks to self-improvement.
Meditating doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process. You don't have that heavy traffic commute that would zap the life out of you, so use some of your time to be in the moment, allowing your body and mind to just breathe.
If you're new to meditation, you may find that sitting still in silence is difficult. You can start with as little as 3-5 minutes and use a meditation app or a free guided meditation online to follow. Make it fancy with a unique meditation cushion you can sit on - it could encourage you to sit in your spot and unwind for a few minutes.
5. Ignoring Your Finances
Let's face it: Reviewing your finances can take time. It can be a task that gets pushed to the side out of sheer avoidance for many. If you're trying to save money or pay off debt, a budget is crucial to this goal.
The word budget may make you squirm, but it's just a way of you telling your money where to go.
To do that, you need to know your actual income and what your necessary expenses are, such as home, auto, electricity, and water, to name a few. That means scheduling some time into your day (as we discussed in the very first point. See how important it is?) to review your finances.
Don't assume your bank account is fine without regularly checking in either. Mistakes and fraud happen and can have a domino effect on your money. Not to mention, financial institutions often have a time limit to claim items as fraudulent to get your money back.
6. Sitting For Too Long
You may have heard the saying "Sitting is the new smoking." Yes, it's that serious of a health risk. Exercising for as little as 15 minutes is enough to reap positive health benefits. Be honest with yourself; without a daily commute, you've surely freed up at least 15 minutes, right?
Many fitness wearables have reminders to nudge you into walking or standing every hour. Or, set a timer on your phone or computer.
7. Allowing Clutter to Take Over
Sometimes it can seem so overwhelming to organize or tackle clutter that you avoid it because you don't know where to start.
It involves making decisions, which at the end of the day you could be all decision-ed out. Yes, decision fatigue is real. If you’ve been ignoring the pile of paper that has grown so high that it's in danger of falling over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s time to tackle the clutter.
To get into the groove, start small. If you try to take on everything at once, you're likely to burn out and go right back to avoiding it.
While you're in your home office, start with one drawer of your desk-not the whole office. You may find that you have the momentum or interest to tackle another drawer or area of a room.
Add one specific area you want to tidy up on your calendar (see how point #1 in this list comes up again?), so when it's time to declutter, you know exactly where to focus. If it's too big a task, assign a time limit so you know when to stop, and you can work on it the next day.
Summing It Up
By having steps to follow and making your environment conducive to your goals, you can change the poor habits you've adopted over the years.
When you were working outside of your home, you were required to adapt to the time and needs of others, not your own. Now, it's time for you to adjust your ways to match your needs and daily demands.
Be kind to yourself; it can take time to adapt to new changes in your routine. After all, you didn't develop bad habits overnight, did you?