Creating the perfect (work)day

Kat – April 2018

What would your perfect day look like if it was completely up to you? That’s the luxury question I got to ask myself at the beginning of February. I’d decided to leave my full-time job and go out on my own. Which was 110% the right decision for me, but I didn’t think it would take me so long to adjust. There is such a thing as too much freedom as everyone who has worked from home will tell you! When do you wake up? When do you work on what project? Until when do you check emails? Is running errands or meeting friends during the day an okay break or a no-go distraction? Questions over questions! Since one of CoWomen’s goals is to help driven women create their perfect day, I thought I’d share what have been my three key findings to help anyone looking for inspiration on crafting theirs – be it because you’re doing home office for a day or switching completely to working from home!

1. Get into a sleep schedule

This has been one of the toughest challenges for me because before I even left my job I had made a big decision: No more alarm clocks unless completely necessary. I really, really dislike alarms. They make me wake up grumpy and unhappy and more often than not I will hit the snooze button ten times as is, making me run late anyways and start my day hurried and stressed. But I thought they were a necessary evil that I had to find a way to live with. And I did it all: put my alarm far away so I had to get up to turn it off, buy an actual clock instead of using my phone, etc. etc. Nothing helped. And then I read that long-time entrepreneur Regina hasn’t used an alarm clock in years, and thought, “Whaaaat? How is that possible? How can someone that runs a pretty involved and big business work productively without an alarm clock to get them up and going on time?” She inspired me to see that possibility for myself, and my life has been 110% better for it. How do I make it work? 1) I try to go to bed at the same time everyday, also on the weekends, to get in a rhythm of waking up around the same time. 2) I try to avoid morning meetings or calls. This is also the best time for creative work, so that’s a double win. It isn’t always perfect – sometimes morning appointments are unavoidable, and I still need to use my alarm clock. Sometimes I oversleep and have to work longer to make the time up. But in general this has made me more rested and relaxed. So even if you don’t want to or can’t get rid of your alarm clock, I can highly recommend trying to get on a sleep schedule and keeping your morning free from external obligations.

2. Develop morning & evening rituals

One of the other benefits of keeping my mornings free is that it has given me the space to start off the day with rituals that give me a positive boost rather than the rushed have-to-get-out-of-the-house-as-quickly-as-possible mornings I had before. I try to keep it simple to not make this feel like a chore: A glass of water when I wake up, 20-30 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes meditating, then shower and breakfast. I also try to not look at my phone or emails before all of this but that is still a work in progress. Likewise, I’ve found having a small evening routine helps me wind down and sleep better: I check my phone one last time, then put it on silent and away, write down my schedule and to-dos for the next day as well as what have been my wins for the day and what I’m grateful for, and then I read for 20-30 minutes before lights out. These rituals have made a huge difference in making me feel more focused and also just happier about my days.

3. Schedule enough time to get out & meet up with others

While I love the freedom of working from home, there’s is one thing I miss: People. I am at the end of the day still a very social person, and while I work best on my own, I also feel cooped up fast if I don’t see anyone else for too long. I’ve learned how important it is to make sure I schedule enough time for meeting with friends after work. This also helps me stick to having an actual “workday” and not working too late into the evenings as you can be tempted to do. During the day, I try to schedule in an errand or two that will get me out of the house. Fresh air and moving is equally important for recharging!

I have by no means perfected what it means to work from home, it will always be a work in progress, and there are many more areas than just these three, but I hope my experience helps you discover something new for yourself! Whether you work for yourself or in an office, the main thing is to try to create days that bring the most joy to you.