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Most difficult tasks come with step-by-step instructions (assembling flatpack furniture, cooking homemade meals, assembling rockets….) The list goes on.

Working from home presents a whole number of challenges – there’s the remote meetings with the boss, the awkward team exchanges, and the signing off of emails with ‘hope that makes sense’ when you’ve already explained something 3 times. Doh.

So we figure it’s time there’s a step by step on how to have the most productive work from home day ever (all according to productivity experts of course).

Routine or No Routine: That Is The Question

It all starts with a routine…or does it? We’ve all heard the idea that having a routine makes us more productive, but there’s evidence to suggest not every day needs to be strictly scheduled.

Whilst there are many benefits to having a regular work from home routine, feel free to mix it up every now and then. After all, sameness leads to lameness.

However, Productivity Expert, Donna McGeorge says ”a normal working routine is crucial for most to be able to maintain a ‘working’ from home mindset’.

For your sanity and health, build good routines. But don’t forget to disrupt them once in a while too to keep you from falling into the boredom trap.

The Productive Hour by Hour Schedule For Working From Home

6:30 AM

While productivity hackers suggest that an ultra-early wake call means you get more done, the best time to wake up depends on what time you went to bed.

Rather than setting a goal of 7 hours of sleep per night, it’s best to complete at least four-five 90 minute REM sleep cycles per night. If you want to get up at 6am, you’ll want to go to bed at either 9pm or 11pm. Don’t feel the need to get up at 6:30am if it doesn’t work for you!

7AM

After you’ve risen from your deep slumber (you got your REM sleep right?), you’ll want to make your bed.

Are you having flashbacks to your teenage years? While you’re no longer 13, keeping to normal household ‘chores’ will make it seem like you’re actually getting ready to go to work (even if you’re working in your PJs all day).

Tidying your room is also a good idea suggests McGeorge.

7:30 AM

Food time! The best time of the day. Make sure not to skip breakfast, or skimp on nutrients either. When people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they’re not lying.

Breakfast helps to control your appetite throughout the day, as well as your overall energy levels. Dietitians recommend chowing down on breakfast within 2 hours of getting up.

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8AM

Use the hour before work starts to get some fitness in. I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes. But seriously, just 15 minutes of light exercise boosts the happy chemicals called dopamine in our brain, and boosts our energy levels for the day.

McGeorge recommends trying some yoga or light stretching, but if you’re not into either of these, do whatever workout works for you. Youtube is a great place to find quick and effective workouts.

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8:30 AM

Shower time! You’ve just done some fitness remember? Or…you can shower when you first get up. Up to you.

Either way, we recommend splashing some cold water on your face. COLD water? Yes, cold. Cold water not only wakes you up, but it also helps to brighten your complexion and minimise your pores. Self care still counts on work from home days.

9 AM

The first thing you should do to stay productive is to do one task. Don’t immediately check your emails or your social media feeds! This is a common pitfall.

Once you’ve jumped onto the email bandwagon, an hour has passed and before you know it, you’ve done nothing more than hit ‘reply’, ‘send’ over and over again. After you’ve completed the task, then check your emails.

If you need to tune into a work meeting, now’s the time to do it.

Clear communication with your colleagues is more important than ever, especially if you suffer with ‘homeitis’ – the inability to not get distracted by all the goodies at home (and yes, we’re including the goodies in your pantry).

Also make sure to schedule later calls so you’re free the rest of the day.

If there’s nothing urgent that requires your attention, focus on tasks which require high focus, alertness and mental alertness.

9:30 AM

Scientifically, the best time to drink a cup o’ Joes or a cuppa for our British readers. Drinking caffeine at this time ”helps to regulate our insulin and reduce inflammation”, says Neuroscientist Steven Miller, so drink up!

10 AM

Still feeling focused? McGeorge recommends keeping the your momentum going. ”The first third of the day is when home workers are most productive”, she says. ”When you are in a flow state, don’t interrupt it, plug away!”.

11 AM

Still feeling focused? McGeorge recommends keeping the your momentum going. ”The first third of the day is when home workers are most productive”, she says. ”When you are in a flow state, don’t interrupt it, plug away!”.

Try to fit your most important to-do tasks between 8 and 2, since cognitive performance declines rapidly after these hours.

12 PM

Lunchtime! But, before you crack open your sandwich box, you should know that eating lunch whilst you work is counterproductive. You’ll typically eat your lunch slower and work slower trying to eat and work at the same time.

If you had a filling breakfast (and don’t have any health issues), you can typically eat a lighter lunch. Make sure to avoid a post-lunch sugar crash by filling up with a balanced combination of carbs, proteins and fats.

1 PM

Feeling sluggish? This is when we are most likely to start losing our focus says McGeorge. Why not have a ‘nappucino’?

In certain regions of East Asia and Japan, 15 minute power naps are taken to maximise working energy. Drinking coffee before napping will have you waking up buzzed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

2 PM

After waking up with all that energy, you’ll want to dedicate this time to your to-do list. Pick the next 2-3 items that require a good amount of energy.

Left your super cool to-do list in the office? Try the online platform To-do-ist instead. (Psst, it’s free and we LOVE it!).

Pro Tip: Working on a computer? Blue light from screens can negatively impact sleep, so you’ll want to use this hour for your screen work too.

Ideally, you’ll want to turn off blue light emitting devices no later than 4pm. In cases where that’s not possible, try wearing specially designed blue light glasses for working.

3 PM

Glug. Glug. Glug. You’re heading for the coffee pot aren’t you? At this time, we’re least likely to be productive. Use this time to catch up on emails, write your to-do lists for tomorrow, join that ‘end-of-day’ work meeting and plan calls for the next few days. Basically, do anything that doesn’t require a lot of brain power.

4-5 PM

Wrapping up. At this point, you’ve probably been looking at the clock for the past hour wondering when it’s time to flip the lid and call it a day…and don’t feel bad about that! Even if you love your job, there’s only so many hours a day we can be productive.

”We’re only truly productive for around 3 hours and 25 minutes a day,” explains McGeorge. Use this time to look back at what you’ve accomplished, and


And there you have it, an hour by hour schedule to ensure your work from home day is super productive.

Now you’ve finished work, why not reward yourself by reading one of our entertaining posts? Go on, you know you want to!