Starting to work from home can be like your regular work routine and schedule flew out a window. The challenge is now: how to adapt to work from home in a home office and maybe even work at home alongside your partner.

You won’t be going home tonight knowing that your office is going to be there for you tomorrow, because now you officially work from home full-time, for the first time.

What’s THAT supposed to look like in my schedule?

Everyone feels comfortable with a different type of work-from-home schedule. The best I can do is give you some tips about how to optimize your day when working at home.

What’s true is that having no schedule at all can be one of the most common mistakes for people who start working from home.

As you read on, we’ll give you a layout of a typical work-from-home day that’s bound to lead you close to satisfactory productivity levels, while keeping you sane and in survival mode. Okay, let’s go onward, to our work-from-home schedule template.

Helpful Tip

Working from home with your partner? We have a working from home for couples guide for that!

Set your alarm for an agreeable time

This ‘agreeable time’ is one that you agree to today and one that you’ll agree to tomorrow. I find that waking up minutes before the first meeting or the first point at which I need to be ‘seen online’ is less than great.

Set your alarm for a time that gives you between a half-hour and two hours before the start of your workday (or when you tell yourself your workday needs to start). This will give you time to get ready, feel fresh, feel ready and feel prepared.

7:32 am: Wake up at the time you agreed to and stop snoozing

The more you snooze, the more you lose. It’s simple. Snooze more, and lose out on prep time, sanity time, time to relax before the day kicks in and time that could be used for morning rituals.

7:55 am: Use a handful of standard morning rituals

Morning rituals will give you a sense of balance. Do some of the same things every morning. For me, it’s: put on the NYTimes “The Daily” podcast on a JBL portable speaker while making sure all dishes are done, dried and put away and that my kitchen is impeccably clean. I do this every day.

Dan subscribed to the Morning Brew email, which has been a great way to get a consolidated update of the news. It’s a great way to check your news all in one place, instead of having to hunt around in various different places.

Helpful Tip

Did you know that Morning Brew has accelerator programs, courses and more? Check it out! Use the code Halfhalftravel and get $100 off. I took a program from them and really enjoyed it. Read me review of the business class.

Your ritual could be: pop out of bed, put on something reminiscent of a yoga outfit, do a 15-minute online yoga warm-up (search terms like “morning yoga” on YouTube if you don’t already have a subscription to your favorite online yoga star) and shower immediately afterward.

8:35 am: A morning coffee ritual for working at home

As a self-proclaimed coffee addict who’s had coffee daily without fail since around age 24, I can tell you that I feel like I’m not yet at work, even if I am, without coffee.

Making coffee at home can be done in a few ways, but we recommend:

If you learn to brew coffee well, like we did in this coffee brewing expert class, the art of brewing coffee will already make you feel productive by the time it’s 8:55 am.

9:00 am: Starting your “work-from-home workday” on time

Start work with a bang, because you’ve already been up for more than an hour. You can do this. You don’t need your office, and you’ll get doses of human interaction throughout the day. (We’re going to tell you how with our human interaction guide).

Sign in to your remote desktop, check your various work emails and check updates from clients, vendors and events. It depends on your profession, of course — if you’re a teacher, writer, client services manager, lawyer or developer, this can look very different. Let’s use our imaginations.

10:15 am: Make a plan for having human interactions today

Mental check: Have you been sucked into writing an article (like this one), doing data entry, creating a proposal or sucked into a webinar? Make sure you’re interacting with real humans in real-time, and take a moment to think about your next move.

It could be pinging a coworker, checking in with a client, posting a status update in Slack or proposing an online get-together later in the week with your team.

For a freelance daily schedule, keep in mind if there are opportunities to schedule time with clients, or block off time for ‘no distractions’ from other client work. This is how to make working from home work for you.

Then, make sure you look decent for human interactions. That means toss the pajamas, and at least put on something like a loungewear pullover that hides the ratty T-shirt you slept in. Zoom meetings only show the waist up, right?

10:20 am: Back to work. Plow through until lunch break with productivity tools

Do you have any meetings? Remember to be present, and to put away your phone, one of our favorite tips for working remotely from home. This is key for working from home productivity.

Scheduling work and meetings from home? Make the most of and benefit from technology, and consider how you can keep up your momentum. Are you using planning tools like Trello? Communication tools like Slack?

11:25 am: Okay, remember to hydrate

Are you drinking water? It helps you feel energized and less lethargic. Fill up that reusable water bottle, or your favorite drinking glass or jar.

If you opt for another cup of coffee, make sure you are consuming just as much water in order to avoid dehydration or over-caffeination.

12:30 pm: Lunch break! Get up to cook a healthy lunch, or order something to support a local business

Here are a few things that give us peace of mind while cooking during the middle of the day:

  • The joy of dicing onions and peppers
  • The satisfaction of fresh quinoa or rice
  • The success of frying the perfect egg
  • The crunch of a salad with a new self-made recipe for a dressing
  • The spice of putting a brand-new hot sauce you ordered online into essentially anything that needs a kick

Cooking makes you feel like you created something, and that’s why cooking can be so therapeutic. Enjoy that you can take advantage of home cooking now, as opposed to the feeling of eating your previous desk lunch at work.

1:15 pm: Shift locations

Gasp! After all this talk of having the perfect home office setup, we’re now telling you to get up and leave it? In terms of working-from-home-tips for productivity, a physical change of setting can work wonders.

If you have an alternate surface at which to work, or a laptop stand to use on a couch, you can take a break elsewhere in your home, and not lose out on work time. As a tip, you can also consider laptop desks to use from bed that also work for use on sofas and couches.

Make sure you gravitate back to your home office set-up for ultimate efficiency.

2:40 pm: Check in with a friend who also works remotely from home

I hope you’ve been remembering this whole time that you’re not alone in your work-from-home environment. Well, you might physically be alone, but there are thousands of people in the world who do all their work from a laptop in a home.

Text, call or Slack a friend who also has a “WFH schedule,” and maybe it’s someone who has the potential to feel a little bit distanced by work, or professional life or circumstance. Make a connection, and share a remote work tip!

3:05 pm: Break time! Get up to stretch or take a walk

One of our favorite work from home tips is to choose break-time activities.

Something we keep mentioning is that we have a permanent YOGO yoga mat laid out in the living room, right outside the confines of our home office space.

This makes it easy to walk by the yoga mat and drop in for a stretch, push-up plank, camel pose or vinyasa exercise.

Not into yoga? Take a short walk, enjoy your outdoor space, meander through your apartment building hallway or run up and down the stairwell steps (as long as it’s not too loud, disturbing any neighbors who also are work-from-home professionals). These are all part of our remote work fitness tips, and we have so many more!

When you feel refreshed, it’s back to work.

4:15 pm: Take a minute to do a daily assessment of your home office environment

How has today been going? How are you feeling about your home workspace?

Are you getting proper natural light, limiting your distractions, avoiding body pains by having ergonomic products and blocking out noise? Keep in mind what you could address by picking up some home office products for the coming weeks or months.

5:15 pm: The day is almost over! Put final touches on your work

I don’t really know anyone these days who up-and-leaves their office at 5:00 pm on the dot. So, if you’re like us, you’re probably still doing things until 6 pm or onward, simply because you chose to take healthy breaks during the day. Hopefully, you have a lot to do.

If you’re a freelancer and your day looks a lot more liberal than the standard corporate office employee who is tied to stricter obligations like meetings, consider making your own freelance schedule template.

A freelance work-from-home schedule should be based on your deadlines with clients, business strategizing and outreach needs. Turn it into a freelance calendar that you can even share with other freelancers.

6:27 pm: Time for a virtual happy hour

Put an event on the calendar for a virtual happy hour either with your coworkers, members of your professional network or your friends.

Use Zoom, Hangouts or FaceTime. Make sure everyone has a drink in hand (seltzer is totally acceptable if you’re addicted to a SodaStream like we are).

Enjoy the human interaction and feel closer to these people than ever before!

6:27 pm: Alternate plan — go for a run

I used to really not like running. I still don’t love it, but after a day of sitting in a sedentary position, I find that I’m so full of energy, I just need to run around the park in my neighborhood, or give myself a destination of a scenic viewpoint where I can see the sun set.

If you own a bike, that’s even better. Snap-on your helmet and put on your biking shorts, and get out there, to move parts of your body that haven’t experienced cardiovascular activity since the day before. This is SO important!

6:27 pm: Last alternate plan — do a 60-minute online yoga or pilates class

It depends on your fancy, but if you don’t have the capacity to go for a run, bike ride or stair climb, choose from any of the heaps of online fitness classes that exist online for free, and get down to do some stretching out.

Helpful Tip

I love trying yoga classes on YouTube as part of my work-at-home fitness routine. Have you ever tried pilates, or calisthenics, or a HIIT workout class?

So many parts of your body tense up, especially your shoulders and neck, during a day of work, while your hands are in a typing position.

Give your body a lift and a treat, and make sure whichever route you choose, that you’re being active.

7:12 pm: Cook dinner, and put on a video or TV to keep you company

For us, there’s nothing like cooking while watching a professional cooking show. We usually default to BonAppetit because the chefs are young, cool and super informative about cooking methods, professional tips and expert food information. We’ve learned so much.

If you have a TV near the kitchen or in the kitchen, turn on Food Network or something related (or, watch whatever it is you like to watch as long as it makes you feel good).

If you don’t have a TV, prop up an iPad or use your phone to watch something long-form on YouTube (again, BonAppetit comes highly-recommended, by us).

7:56 pm: Eat dinner with a virtual friend date

Surprise a friend with a dinnertime FaceTime call, or plan ahead of time to eat dinner “together.” FaceTime can be so cool because you could be eating dinner with a friend one neighborhood over, or three time zones to the west. Unbelievable!

If you don’t have any friends or family members to “eat with” during dinner, leaf through a magazine to have some time to limit screen time, and put on a podcast.

8:34 pm: Do dishes and clean up, to clear your mind

Make sure you clean up after yourself, whether you live alone, with roommates or with your partner (or dog/cat). Having a clean house at night leads to a more productive day the next day.

9:10 pm: Take some time for relaxing activities

Are you in the middle of a good book? Or do you belong to a book club? This is a great time in the evening to do some reading.

9:55 pm: Catch up with more friends

Give a friend a call. Check-in with your parents, or grandparents. FaceTime that cousin who just had a baby (hi, baby!).

10:17 pm: Running out of things to do?

Neaten up your room. Make plans for the next work-from-home day. Water your plants. Dust your floor. Clean the clothes off the infamous ‘clothes chair’ in your bedroom.

Have a glass of wine. Make a fun cocktail with an online recipe. Hydrate.

Congratulate yourself for another productive day at home, even if you thought you couldn’t do it.

If you could, congratulate yourself anyway. Take care of your mind by relaxing, your soul by being connected and your body by being kind to it.

Now that you have your routine, bookmark our work from home expert tips to make sure you’ve got all your WFH skills ironed out.

Looking for home office inspiration? We’ve even outlined how we made our home office in a Brooklyn apartment.

Lastly, are you working from home as a couple? We got you covered.