Remote work is certainly convenient, but there are also a lot of distractions that come with working from home. You may even start to feel like work is intruding on your time with your family and housemates. When can you find distraction-free time to do your work while also making time for your family? For some people, working in the early morning before anyone else in the house is awake is the solution. This might be easier than you think. Consider these tips on how to work from home before the house wakes up each day.
Prep the Night Before
With a little preparatory footwork, you can make working in the morning a smoother ride. For example, if you have school-aged kids, you could pack their backpacks and make any lunches in advance. You can even prep lunches for a significant other who commutes to the office. If there are family members who rely on you to help them choose their clothes each day, try laying the clothes out at night so they’re ready for the morning. You can even do this for yourself to make it easier to motivate yourself to dress for work each morning. You can also involve your family in the process so that you aren’t taking on all of the prep work yourself. Whatever makes your morning smoother and can be done in advance, try doing it the night before.
Go to Bed at the Same Time Each Night
Sleep is essential if you want to be able to focus and be at your most productive when you wake up. It’s a good idea to establish a sleep schedule and stick to it. Choose a time to go to bed each night and set an alarm to wake you up at the desired time. Sleep experts generally suggest that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Everyone is different, so go with the amount of sleep that works best for your body. Try to limit distractions, such as checking your phone while in bed or falling asleep with the television on.
Keep in mind that the earlier you plan to wake up, the earlier you’ll need to go to bed the night before. It may be difficult at first if you are making a drastic change to your sleep schedule. Give yourself a few days to a few weeks for your body to get used to a new internal clock. You should eventually grow accustomed to the schedule and, hopefully, find waking up early easier as time passes.
Establish a Routine
Although you probably want to do as much work as possible while everyone in the house is still asleep, creating a routine that involves a little more than just working can help you use your time more efficiently. You’ve already hopefully chosen the same time to wake up each day, so you need to decide what the first thing is that you will do after that. Some ideas include:
- Taking a shower
- Getting dressed in work clothes
- Making your bed
- Going for a walk or exercising
Your routine can help you mentally prepare for the tasks ahead of you that day, so choose activities that you enjoy and that help to wake up both your brain and your body.
Take a Moment Before Diving Into Work
Giving yourself a little time to clear any sleep fog is a good idea instead of jumping immediately to working when you wake up in the morning. Your routine can help build a natural buffer that gives you time to fully wake up before clocking in. If you are the type who still wants to just sit down and get in your job headspace, still consider taking a few minutes to get some coffee, eat some breakfast, read or do some other short activity you enjoy.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to give yourself a time limit, or allow enough time before your desired clock-in hour. It’s important to stick to your chosen or assigned work schedule, so build in your personal moment before starting work into your routine or schedule to ensure you have the time needed to reap the benefits of such an activity.
Write Down Your Goals or To-Do List for the Day
If this wasn’t part of your nightly prep work, consider keeping a pad of paper handy and making one of the first things you do in the morning writing down what you want to accomplish for the day. Try to list your goals in order of priority if you can. As you complete each of your goals, mark them off of your list.
You can also download a to-do list app on your smartphone, tablet or computer. If you like working off of apps and not having to worry about finding paper and writing utensils, then search through your phone’s app store to see which to-do list options are secure and convenient for your needs.
Try Tackling the Hard Things First
This depends on the type of person you are and the work that needs doing. In many cases, if you tackle the big, scary, difficult task first and complete it, all of your other tasks for the day might seem easier and more doable. On the other hand, it can be intimidating to go after the biggest, most time-consuming part of your to-do list right off the bat. If you are the type of person who likes to roll up your sleeves and dive right in, you might try to complete your hardest tasks first. If this doesn’t sound like the kind of person you are, do just the opposite: start with the small items and work your way up.
Make Time for Your Family or Housemates
It’s likely that the biggest reason you’re reading this information and wanting to start working in the morning before everyone wakes up is that you want to spend more time with your family. To that degree, make sure you do not busy yourself with so much work that you’re unable to be meaningfully present for your family members or housemates when they wake up. You might consider sticking to your start work time and just completing whatever you can until the first person wakes up.
If you wish to help your kids and significant other get ready for school or work and you want to see them off or take them where they need to go, be ready to set your work down and leave it for a while. Don’t try to sneak back to your computer or office to squeeze in an extra task or two just because the bus doesn’t arrive for another few minutes. If the goal is to be there for everyone else in the house, then choose to really be there. The work should hopefully be able to wait until everyone is out the door for the day.
For those people who enjoy doing things in the morning, waking up before everyone else in order to get some work done is an effective strategy. With a little bit of prep work the night before, your mornings can go smoothly, and you just might surprise yourself at how much you’re able to accomplish while working free of distractions. Ready to try working in the early morning? Start creating a list of things to prepare right now to make that happen. With the right motivation, you can do it.