12 Creative Rituals to make the most out of working from home
12 Creative Rituals to make the most out of working from home
For most of us, in countries all around the world, this week began at home, with a deep sense of uncertainty, feeling isolated, sad, frustrated, anxious, and fearful.
Whether you were used to working alone, working from home or at a cafe, or you were part of a team and worked in an office, this week your choices have been drastically reduced, your physical movements have been limited to a single location, a short radius, and possibly less than a handful of people.
On the subject of work, during this time of aggressive social measures against the spread of COVID-19, I want to focus specifically on the new working paradigm, and suggest a few ways that you can face it, successfully and creatively.
I’m offering you a list of twelve creative rituals that will help you make the most of your time working from home, in the days and weeks to come.
Implementing and cultivating these creative working rituals, under these circumstances, will have a positive impact on your work, your creativity, your productivity, and your mindset moving forward, after life goes “back to normal.”
If you make the most of this time and these tools, you’ll come out from this crisis an improved version of yourself; body, mind and creative soul.
I’ve divided the 12 creative rituals in three (3) phases: before, during and after. Without further ado, let’s do this!
Creative Rituals Before Your Start Working
1. Plan and set your schedule. The first ritual you must incorporate or optimize is a time to plan and schedule your day.
When the day in front of you is a complete blank, you run the risk of filling that time with activities and thoughts that leave you feeling drained of all creative energy or potential.
I felt and lived through this before, almost three years ago, when a hurricane tore through my home. By the end of that experience, I was feeling lost and ashamed of all the time I had wasted. I don’t want that to happen to you.
So, you must fill your days with fulfilling activities that’ll keep your mind, body, and soul engaged.
This requires basic organization skills and self-accountability. If these are areas where you need support, everyone at the CreateBeing community is here to help!
2. Set your “creative space”. Even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a studio, you can find, define and design a space to focus on work.
Make it clean and tidy, bright and comfortable.
Don’t let this space be your bed/bedroom!
And if you share your home with a roommate, partner, kids or family, help everyone else find, define and design their little corner of space. This can be a creative activity all on its own.
3. “Dress” for work. By this I don’t mean to put the same clothes you would wear to go to work. What I mean is, get out of your pajamas, and find a comfortable “uniform.” Getting dressed will signal your brain is time to get the day started.
Not only that, but you’ll also be saying to yourself “I’m here, ready to go and make the most of this day.” Clothes are powerful items and you know it, they can change the way you feel and behave. Find the outfit that will say positive, empowering things.
4. Clock in and clock out. With this I mean, you must manage your working time. The time to “clock in and out” will be determined by your plan or schedule for the day. Stick to it the best you can.
The most important takeaway from this point is this: once your time to “clock out” comes, you need to put your work-related items and tasks in order and step away. Enjoy the benefits of working from home, set your hours, and then stick to those hours!
5. Set the tone: Morning Ritual. Set your alarm of choice (music or light are best, you can also ask your early-riser partner to wake you.) When you wake up:
- Turn on a soft light (you could turn on the light in your closet of the hall if the one in your room is too bright.)
- Sit up straight and listen to a 5-10 min meditation (I recommend two apps for this: Simple Habit and Calm.)
- After the meditation, visualize your day for 1-5 minutes.
- Give thanks for a new day, and any other 3 things you’re grateful for.
- Get up.
- You can decide to incorporate a yoga or exercise session.
- Take a quick shower.
- Get dressed.
Creative Rituals During Your Working Time
1. Get to “work.” What are your 3 main goals for today?
After you’ve completed a morning ritual (like the one I described above) and have had your breakfast, get settled in your “creative space.” Take out and review your plan for the day and your to-do-list. From there, you’ll pick the 3 items you want to work on today. These self-limitations are a practice meant to focus your mind and creative eergy.
Of course, if you fly by your 3 main goals and have time left, you have the choice to add something more, the next goal, a “wild card” task, or simply take the win and reward yourself! (more on rewards a little later.)
2. Don’t bite more than you can chew. This is important and directly relates to two of our previous points: “clock in and clock out” and work on “3 main goals”. Taking small bites off of your big goals will make the experience more enjoyable. This is a great opportunity to practice paying attention to what you are doing. Under the circumstances, you are allowed to take your time.
3. Take breaks. This is a great way to stretch your to-do-list. Breaks will also allow your creative mind to recharge, to make each working session even more productive.
Stand up, move around, do a quick yoga flow, get a snack from your kitchen, drink some water, change the music on your app.
You’re allowed to peek at the news or your Facebook feed…but, if you find yourself losing track of time, next time use a timer to limit your breaks.
4. Switch it up. You have an opportunity here to make each new “work from home” day look a little (or completely) different.
If you always tackle one activity first (like checking your email) maybe you can start with a more creative task (like drafting your next post) or an executive level thinking task (like assessing your marketing strategy on Linked In.)
5. Plant the seed: Afternoon Ritual. Once you’ve reached the end of your “work” day, don’t turn off your mind!
This is the time to reset your space, your plan and your mind for the next day:
- Tidy up your creative working space.
- Review your achievements (keep these handy for the “after work” rituals.)
- Set your plan for tomorrow.
- Move on to learning.
For example, after my “work” day is over I “switch” locations from my creative space to the couch, where I listen to some podcasts, a course or masterclass on a topic I love, a new subject I want to explore, or a skill I want to improve.
Creative Rituals for After a Day’s Work is Complete
1. End strong: Reward Yourself. I mentioned it briefly before, but after “work” is over, you’ve reviewed your day and planned for your next one, it’s time to reward yourself!
You must celebrate the fact that you’ve managed to fill your day with activities that give you joy and allow you to be creative and focused.
If you feel you could have done better, reward yourself for the progress you made, no matter how small.
I recently wrote a post on the subject of rewards over at my blog. You may want to give it a read to come up with your own daily celebrations.
2. Simmer Down: Evening Ritual. Once work time and learning sessions are over, comes time for leisure, relaxation, recharging. I like to wind down by:
- Taking a (hot) shower.
- Making myself a cup of tea.
- Watching a romantic comedy or reading a book.
If you skipped your gratitude journal in the morning, this is another perfect time to express some gratitude for the gift of another healthy, safe, proactive, productive and creative day.
Remember, you don’t have to implement every item on this list all at once. Especially under these circumstances. That could be overwhelming and counterproductive. Pick only one or two creative working rituals this week, and give them a try. See how they feel, how well they mesh with your own habits and rituals, and if they add a little something to improve them.
If you do implement any or all of these rituals, or develop your own, I invite you to share it with the CreateBeing community. If you share your story on IG please tag me @creative_atelier and tag Amanda and David @createbeing. Let us see how you’re making the most of working from home and are helping to inspire others.
Take care and #stayhome!