Working remotely, while convenient, can sometimes make it difficult to get work done or to unplug after a long day. Thankfully, creating a routine for working remotely is a great way to tackle these issues. Your routine, though, should not just be about the work itself. Instead, it’s more helpful to have a routine that encompasses the majority of your day, starting with waking up.

First Things First

Waking up in the morning with a plan already in mind sets you up for a more productive, less stressful workday. To start with, make sure that you are leaving enough time for yourself in the morning to adequately get ready and prepare for your day. This includes getting dressed, eating a nutritious breakfast, and of course – your favorite coffee. Getting dressed, instead of working in your pajamas, helps your body and brain switch into “work-mode” – chances are, if you stay in your pajamas, you’ll want to climb right back into bed. Breakfast is important to give you enough energy to work until lunch, without getting bogged down with hunger or low blood sugar.

Space Is Key

Having a routine also means having a designated place to work. It’s important to have some space that is used only for work and not for any other purposes. With a dedicated workspace, be that a home office or just a spare corner of the house, it’s easier to minimize distractions, both internal and external and spend your time productively. As part of your routine, use your established space when starting to work—this means no checking emails on your phone while you lay in bed in the morning, as well as not scrolling through Instagram while you sit at your desk.

Get To Work

Now down to the hard part—actually working. Without the hum of a big office and colleagues that are working, it can be hard to know where to start. Working remotely generally means a less structured day, so create your own routine instead. It makes sense to start the day with a to-do list of all the tasks you are hoping to accomplish that day. If your list is long, sort each item into categories based on its importance and urgency. Label each task as important and urgent, important and non-urgent, not important and urgent, or not important and non-urgent. This gives you a great place to start so that every day you know what to tackle first.

After Hours

Having a remote work routine is not just for the morning, however. Having a routine for the end of your workday lets you put work out of your mind and unwind for the day. It can be tempting to let work creep into free time, especially if emails and notifications keep coming into your phone. Make it part of your routine to silence work emails on your personal phone, or leave your work phone in your desk. This way, you can truly unwind, without work demanding your time.

A routine is key when working remotely. From morning to evening, a thoughtful routine helps keep stress at bay and make you more productive. Stick to your routine daily, and you’ll be an expert at working remotely!