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Six morning work-from-home rituals to keep you motivated

By Mo Zeitouneh

Working remotely certainly has its merits, but setting up a home office can also come with distraction, procrastination and a general lack of drive.

Nodding sagely? These six morning habits will help you to maintain your zest for an autonomous work arrangement.

Make your bed

Start your day off right by making the bed. Photo: iStock

While researching her book on happiness, best-selling author Gretchen Rubin found that making the bed was the number one most impactful change people mentioned. The two reasons cited were that it creates a more peaceful environment and provides satisfaction, given it’s such an easy habit to stick to.

Creating order in your physical environment will help to set off a chain of equally positive habits throughout the day, not to mention it feels much nicer walking past a tidy bedroom than a disheveled mess.

Move your body

Allowing 15 minutes each morning for stretching or yoga will wake the muscles. Photo: iStock

There are myriad studies linking regular exercise to a boost in mood and productivity.

“Long days of Zoom calls and working in one spot without moving around much are mentally and physically draining,” says Dr Libby Sander, assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Bond Business School, Bond University.

“Implementing some simple steps to keep active during the day are important for our mental and physical wellbeing.”

Allowing 15 minutes each morning for gentle movement such as stretching or yoga will wake the muscles and help you limber up for the day. Follow this with a brisk walk or cardio session, which releases mood-boosting hormones.

Dress for success

Aim is to feel like you’re in ‘work mode’ rather than lounging around the house. Photo: iStock

“While some people love the freedom of working in their pyjamas, others find that having a clear routine that is similar to their days when working in the office can be helpful,” says Sander. “For example, studies have shown that getting dressed in work attire helps people assume their professional identity.”

One study found that dress can influence key work-related factors, from the way people approach decision-making to their amount of focus on a specific task. The definition of work attire is different for everyone, but the aim is to feel like you’re in “work mode” rather than simply lounging around the house.

Eat a nourishing breakfast

Try to avoid scoffing down breakfast while you check emails. Photo: iStock

Enjoying a nutritious meal before you start work will give you the energy needed to stay focused, with many studies linking a healthy breakfast with better memory and concentration throughout the day.

It’s not only what you eat but how you eat that counts, so rather than scoffing down your oats while you check emails, take the time to mindfully chew your food, paying attention to the tastes and textures. A wholesome breakfast can also help to curb sugar cravings later in the day.

Get a dose of nature

A walk in the park can help boost positivity. Photo: Greg Briggs

“Spending time in nature has proven benefits for our mental and physical health,” says Sander. “Sitting outside with your coffee or taking a walk in the park before work can be very beneficial.”

2015 study found participants experienced increased focus and positivity and lowered stress levels following just 40 seconds of exposure to the natural world.

If you’re unable to leave the house, you can still trigger your brain into a more attentive state by tending to indoor plants, taking in some fresh air and sunlight, or even looking at an image of natural scenery.

Organize your day

A clear workspace will likely enhance your productivity. Photo: Stocksy

Sander says that starting the day feeling organised is always a good thing, her own research showing that physical work environments can play a large role in influencing employee performance and wellbeing.

“Our brains dislike clutter and disorganisation,” says Sander, “so starting your day rummaging through old coffee cups and piles of paper on your desk while trying to figure out what you have on that day is not going to be a great start.”

She suggests setting clear goals and priorities, so start with a quick tidy up of your workspace and write a to-do list for the day ahead.


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