How a Solid Routine Can Boost Productivity

Ever since most people started working from home, people have been struggling with loneliness and the loss of productivity and motivation. This has opened people’s eyes to the importance of a structured routine, and how it can benefit them. Having a solid routine in your everyday life can make a huge difference when it comes to levels of tiredness, motivation, and productivity. In general, it’s a known fact that impulsively doing one action after another without any structure can result in feeling scattered and exhausted at the end of the day.

A routine provides a chain of actions that prepare your mind and body for upcoming tasks, such as going to work or doing chores. This is why many people feel “lost” without their morning coffee. Other than that dose of caffeine, drinking coffee each morning for a long time can result in your brain relying on that specific action to feel ready for the day. These triggers are present for everyone and it’s present throughout the day. Noticing and utilizing them can make a huge difference. And other than your morning and evening routines, what you do during the day can also make a huge difference in your overall well-being and productivity, especially in your workplace.

Photo by Wade Momberg on Unsplash

Having a well-thought-out routine means that every action we do has a purpose and is closely connected to something else. There are triggers – as mentioned above – that can help prepare your mind and body for maximum focus, which translates to faster and better results. Some actions are tied together with your workday, while others serve a successful day spent at home doing chores, or prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Over time, if you do the same actions right before big tasks, your brain will get used to preparing for it and focusing on it. For example, if every day before work you drink a coffee and go for a walk or shower, in a few weeks, your brain will know that it’s time to get into “work mode”. In contrast, if you start your Sundays sleeping in, eating homemade breakfast, and reading, your brain will automatically know that it’s time for “home mode”. The same goes for routines before sleeping. Some people write in their journals, some meditate, while others read something, or listen to a podcast to get themselves ready for deep rest. The reason that movies or other action-filled things cause bad sleep is that they’re associated with a different part of your day, and therefore a different use of the brain. These tasks wake you up rather than calm your mind, resulting in weird dreams, uneasy sleep patterns, and so on. 

The importance of separating these two aforementioned “modes” became clear to people once they started working from home due to COVID. They realized that because of the misleading home setting, they lose productivity because of the lack of separation between the two areas of their lives. People don’t dress up in the morning, they don’t go into their office, and in their breaks, they do chores or watch an episode from their favorite show. This level of freedom can be a breath of fresh air for some, but it’s counterproductive for all if they can’t balance these tasks well.

A perfect example of this is among students who are now attending school remotely. One of the reasons for their loss in productivity is the home setting that confuses their minds and bodies. They no longer wake up early, catch the bus, most students don’t even leave the bed, and in their short breaks, they start playing a video game. Each of these actions is counterproductive, as they interrupt their schoolwork and focus.

The same goes for office work as well. When in “work mode”, you typically go into an enclosed office, full of office-type objects and furniture, and most people have one longer lunch break and maybe a few short breaks along the way. But the fact that these breaks are spent in the same atmosphere, with the same people and objects surrounding them helps keep them in “work mode” even when on a break. All of these mundane settings, furniture, and objects – while not beloved – help keep people in the same mindset. “I am in my office, therefore, the only thing I can and must do is work”. It might be worth, then, updating your office furniture using office monster, or similar sites, as having a more pleasant environment might make you more productive.

Mixing this with being at home can be confusing, as these two worlds merge, and our brain can’t handle switching from one to the other 5-10 times a day. It’s confusing, tiring, and unnecessary. This is why, when we watch an episode of Modern Family on a 30-minute break, we are reluctant to go back to work. The couch seemingly has a gravity to it that doesn’t allow us to get up. We’ve switched back to “home mode”, and when in it, our eyes start scanning for things to do. Soon, you’ll find yourself cleaning your house, cooking, and playing instead of working.

Thankfully, once people began to recognize this pattern, they began to build structures that can boost productivity whether you work at home or in an office. Having a designated space for office work is key, whether it’s a desk or a room. And keeping that space tidy at all times, not allowing any home-related objects to “infect” that space is the other big key. Also, when you’re working from home, it’s important to strictly manage your breaks as well. Dressing up instead of working from your bed all day can also help set your brain into “work mode”. Treating your breaks as you would in an office, and turning off your phone and other electronics can also help keep you in that focused cocoon.

Some people implement “airplane mode sessions” into their day which means they spend 60-90 minutes each day doing focused work, turning off all of their electronics, just like on a plane. After doing it a few times, you’ll see that this results in completing 3 hours of tasks in just 90 minutes. These small conscious steps can help you stay focused, motivated, and productive throughout your workday. It’s incredible how much focus alone can change productivity. After only a few days of implementing this thought process into their lives, people realize that only the act of staying in one “mode” can boost their productivity greatly, making a huge difference in their everyday lives.

Overall, the structure of your routine can be the key link when it comes to tiredness, fatigue, and decreasing productivity, and once you implement focused patterns into your everyday life, and you use specific triggers for specific tasks, you will be a better asset both in your work life and in your personal life when it comes to deep cleaning, chores, and more.