When and How I Work

Working from home can be a challenge. Being in my apartment all day (on most days), I feel the need to do various household chores throughout the day, at times probably when I should be working. There are also distractions, with no threat of a boss walking by my cube and seeing what I’m doing and forcing me to refocus. However, over the last two months I’ve developed a relatively consistent schedule that works well for me, so I thought I’d share it in case it can be helpful! It obviously varies a bit from day to day, but I’m picking nice, round times here just to make it easier.

7:15Wake up. This is actually earlier than I was getting up before; my alarm would go off at 7:15 but I didn’t get out of bed and get moving until 7:30. But surprisingly, this has been working for me. I’ve never been someone who hears the alarm go off and jumps right out of bed. I much prefer to wake up gradually, so when I do get up I feel awake and I’m not shuffling around in a fog for those first 20 to 30 minutes. Jeff’s alarm goes off at 6:45; that’s the beginning of my wake-up process. When he comes back into the room after a shower, he turns the light on; that’s step two. Then he goes out to have breakfast, and that’s when I haul myself up. When we first moved I was sleeping later and actually felt groggier throughout the morning, so I recommend getting up a little earlier than you’d like. You get used to it and get more minutes in the day!

7:30 to 8:00 News time. After Jeff leaves for work, I take this time for myself (I know that’s a funny thing to say considering I’m by myself all day, but you’ll see what I mean). I watch CBS This Morning, which is my morning news program of choice, and read my Vanity Fair during the commercials, of which there are quite a few in these morning shows (more on magazines here!). This is my time to absorb news and interesting things before I actually start using my brain.

8:00 to 9:00 Blog time. I don’t blog every day. I try to do either three posts per week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or two posts per week, on Tuesday and Thursday. But on the days I do blog, this is when I do it (it’s 8:29 now!). Getting it done first thing in the morning makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, and then the post appears in feeds earlier and for longer, things like that. On days I don’t blog, this hour becomes an extension of news time, or I’ll do something around the house.

9:00 to 9:30 Breakfast. TV is off, podcast goes on, and I make breakfast. I’m a big fan of podcasts, and when we moved I wasn’t sure when I was going to listen, since before I had been listening during my commute. Well, that was silly, because there are countless things to do in the house, like cooking, tidying, eating, even getting dressed, for which a podcast serves as the perfect accompaniment. I also like to push breakfast to later in the morning because then I can push off lunch later, which means I snack less in the afternoon. My current favorite breakfast is two scrambled eggs on toast with chive and onion cream cheese; two eggs take about 5 minutes to scramble and keep me full for hours.

9:30 to 12:15 Work. This is when I get most of my work done. My belly is full, I have my cup of tea, I’ve already posted on my blog, and I’m ready to be productive. I typically spend the morning working at the desk in our apartment as opposed to elsewhere, since I’m usually still wearing sweats or pajamas at this point—though I do put something on that will be appropriate for me to walk the halls of my building when my Fitbit goes off every hour. This is probably when I get the majority of my work done.

12:15 to 2:00 Exercise and lunch. I’m starting to lose focus a bit and I’ve been sitting for a while, so I’ve found that this is the sweet spot for me to work out. I haven’t talked about exercise much here on the blog, but I will in the future, so I won’t go into specifics, but I usually do a 30 to 60 minute workout in my apartment. We have a subscription to Beachbody on Demand, which has tons of workouts, and I also have a few DVDs that I love. Then after exercising I shower and have lunch, and by then enough time has passed that I’m ready to get back to it.

2:00 to 5:00 Work/miscellany. This is the time that varies the most. If I only have some work to do on a particular day, I’ll get it done in the morning and use the afternoon to relax, catch up on TV shows or work on other things. If I do have more work to do, I might head somewhere else to do it. My favorite places to work in Bethesda are the Peet’s Coffee, where they make a mean matcha latte with honey, the Quartermaine coffee shop on Bethesda Ave., where I’m currently obsessed with the vanilla chai, and Joe and the Juice, where they have a carrot, apple and ginger juice that is quite delightful. If I know I’m going to have work to do in the afternoon, I’ll leave the things that don’t require as many notebooks and papers, as these places tend not to have as much space to spread out. If I’m home and working, I might move from the desk to the couch just for a change of scenery and position.

Of course, this schedule varies and I don’t always stick to it, if I’m teaching a Zumba class for example. But I’m someone who is much more productive if I plan out my time, and I’ve found myself returning to something resembling this schedule repeatedly since I’ve been working from home.

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