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Creating a new morning routine [WFH Series]

You have traditionally worked in an office and now you are #workingfromhome. How can you keep productivity up considering the “emotional drag” we talked about yesterday?

One way: Establish your new morning routine. 

You had a morning routine a few weeks ago. You got up at a certain time, you did morning things like working out, meditating, or coffee. You left the house at a certain time. #Covid19 upended that routine. 

Morning routines create a certain feeling of normal. When our routines are disrupted we can feel untethered. We can feel a bit lost. Like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights not knowing what to do with his hands. We want to reestablish a new morning routine to help us recreate the “normal” feeling.

This is something we can control in a sea of things we can’t. Where should we start?

#1 – Identify Broad Activities

Identify the broad activities. What are the morning things that make you feel normal? Do you exercise? Do you read? Do you meditate? Do you just need a minute to sit and look out the window? List these activities. What activities are important to you?

Now, the real work.

#2 – Recreate a Morning Schedule

It’s likely the regular time stamps for these activities have changed. We are subtracting time we used to commute. We are subtracting time because we are no longer getting the kids ready for school.

So we have to create a new schedule for our morning routine. Draft up what this looks like. No need for perfect. The new schedule will naturally start to emerge as the days pass and you start testing equivalents. 

#3 – Test Equivalents

For any activities that got canned, or for any new activities you have always wanted to do but haven’t been able to until now, we have to find and test equivalents.

You like morning exercise. You have historically worked out in a gym or taken exercise classes. Can’t do that now. What could you do as an equivalent? Could you start running or cycling outside? Do you have the ability and the equipment to work out at home?

You like to read. You have historically read the newspaper at the coffee shop for a few minutes before heading to work. Can’t do that now. Can you get it delivered to your house, or read it online? Do you have a good coffee maker at home?

You like to connect. You drive your kids to school and use the commute to catch up. Can you create some space in the morning to connect with them at home? Could you start a breakfast routine where you are together to chat?

The point is that once we identify what’s important to us, we can start testing equivalents. By thinking about it as a test we give ourselves permission to discard it if it doesn’t feel right. We can then try something else. 

New routines will happen intentionally or unintentionally. Either way we will start to feel “normal” at some point. Each of us has an amazing ability to adapt. We don’t want to leave this to chance, though. We want to be intentional about it because it’s more likely we will get to normal quicker and with a better outcome.

Create your new morning routine. 

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership | Work From Home

Published on March 18, 2020

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