Rituals for starting work
January 14, 2022 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any habits or rituals for starting work in the morning? Things that help your mind focus and get the ball rolling?
posted by roaring beast to Work & Money (19 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
i work from home. get up. wash face. do morning bathroom routine. put on "work" clothes. get my pop/soda in my cup. move my lamp into it's right position (the right working position is a terrible "living in my apartment" position). sit down and log in. staying in my jammies and stuff just wouldn't do it for me.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:21 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]

WFH: change into work clothes, go into home office (not used for anything else).

Office and WFH: indulge Diet Coke habit, read newsfeeds (with professionally-relevant stuff in them, not the regular news).
posted by humbug at 12:37 PM on January 14

Changing into work-specific clothes, even if they’re Other Pyjamas, is definitely a thing that helps me. I also close my laptop lid at night and try to tidy my desk space a bit - it feels really nice to come to a tidy workspace.

For a hot minute two years ago, I would take a 10-15 min walk around the block while listening to a morning news roundup, but I haven’t been able to muster that in a while. This is a great reminder that I could try for that again!

Edit - WFH for me, too.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 12:53 PM on January 14

I don't wear work clothes - WFH for me is casual. But I do put on (indoor-only now) shoes once I settle in my home office. They help me to feel like this is work-time and not home-time. Once my day is done, my shoes come off and I am ready to end my day.
posted by Lescha at 12:57 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]

I've developed a routine that pretty much never changes and that seems to get me into the "work now" headspace: wake up with my alarm, scroll on my phone for 5-30 minutes (depending on the day), get up, pee, make breakfast and coffee, take meds while making breakfast, eat, brush teeth, take my dog to the dog park, give dog his breakfast and meds, open laptop. I don't have the space for a home office, so I usually work on the couch, and the routine before that helps me differentiate work from leisure time.
posted by lunasol at 1:02 PM on January 14

I've been WFH for two years now, and I basically do what I used to do for office life except in sweatpants and with wet hair and no makeup: shower, contacts in, comfy clothes, log into computer (delete overnight emails/maybe answer one or two quickly), then eat breakfast for about 10 minutes and get on with my day.
posted by jabes at 1:16 PM on January 14

I know I'm not the only one that starts the day sipping green tea and puzzling over Wordle to get my brain started.
posted by SPrintF at 1:17 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]

I go for a walk, get some coffee, sit in the park (even when cold out). Really helps to get walk/fresh air/sunshine before starting the day.
posted by bearette at 1:34 PM on January 14

It's helpful to keep a running written list of what you need to do & spend some time reviewing & curating that list before you dive in. Since permanently working from home I was able to get a big paper planner with space for my daily schedule and space to write things down as they happen which has helped me a lot. When I was going into the office anything I used to write things down would get forgotten, bent up, coffee stained, and always be left in the wrong place. And having a digital tool for this means losing things in the time it takes to click into the right interface.
posted by bleep at 1:41 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]

One of my habits to get my brain ready to go is after wakeup, coffee, and ~15 min of scrolling, I do a crossword (10-25 min.) It's nice because it gets my brain out of its morning dread-of-work mode and into gears-moving about something that is focused and neutral/non-stressful in tone. When done, move to wfh desk and start work.
posted by soleiluna at 2:27 PM on January 14

I wake up, shower, eat breakfast, and if I have time sit down at my personal computer and maybe look at Reddit or read manga online.

When it's work time, I unplug my personal computer from the docking station, set it off to the side, and plug in my work computer, which was in my backpack and out of sight until this moment. I check any emails, add what I need to work on to the My Day list in To Do*, and make sure I'm available on Slack.

Then I get up, go make tea, and come sit back down and start my day.

I do have a dedicated workspace in my house, but it doubles as my home computer area and my home office. That's why I always put my work computer away at the end of the day where I cannot see it, and don't pull it out again until just before I start work.

I've worked from home for a long time - probably around 11 years total between my previous job and this job. At first I did the "get dressed like you were going to the office" thing. That lasted maybe 6 months. Now I go most of the week and never put on shoes or pants, and live in sweatpants and t-shirts.

*At the end of every work day, I go through my items in To Do and add reminders for the ones I need to work on or otherwise deal with the next day. That lets me clear all work related thoughts out of my head instead of suddenly realizing at 10pm that I need to remember to do that thing when I log in tomorrow...
posted by ralan at 2:28 PM on January 14

I only set alarm if I have a deadline / meeting / trip (latter are rare now with Covid), I usually wake early. Trying to do a simple workout before as it clears my head. I read Daniel Pink talking about not doing anything webby first thing and just getting creative work done - trying to make that a 2022 habit, as it works. Trying to keep signed out of SM on work PC.

After breakfast inc. I try and do something fun that's worky - filing unnamed plant photos (there's always a backlog), or reviewing a search and checking off papers found gets me in the mood for more serious things. It also surfaces things to mind that otherwise I'd miss.

WFT here too (have since I started my business), in a dedicated very basic space attached to house. Dress casual, unless I have a zoom (I don't run a webcam but I feel more on-the-ball if dressed 'properly' - although I don't own a tie, just wear a nice shirt).
posted by unearthed at 2:51 PM on January 14

I don't have a set time where I start work but I do have a morning routine which helps. The big deal is that other than logging my sleep and meditating I have NO PHONE TIME in the morning (unless there are emergency texts - there are almost never emergency texts). I get up, set a timer for 45 minutes, make coffee and get into my WFH clothes and do some reading. When the timer goes off, I sit down at my desk, check twitter real quick (no, really) and then dig into email which is where my work day starts.
posted by jessamyn at 3:28 PM on January 14

Sort of vaguely get dressed. Coffee (quadruple espresso is my AFHD med), feed and then pet cat who insists on getting in my lap, write in journal about th previous day, how I feel, and what I plan to do today, meditate for like two minutes, and then I’m alert enough to understand my task list and formulate some idea of what I have to do next.

This a literal list I keep on my phone because I can’t think first thing.
posted by Peach at 3:36 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Wake up, ten minutes to convince myself that I need to get up, then shower, teeth, dress. Under eye concealer (my workday starts at 6am as I’m on East Coast time and boy does the early start show on my face in those Zoom meetings). Coffee for the same reasons and a few minutes on Words with Friends to kickstart my brain. Then I launch into it. The whole routine takes 40 minutes.
posted by Jubey at 4:45 PM on January 14

I try my best at the end of each workday (and especially on Fridays) to clear out my work email inbox, return any messages, and write out a clear list of goals/tasks for the next day, so I can leap right into productive work when I sit down in the morning at my desk.

My morning routine is pretty typical, but I shave and go through all the oral hygiene tasks (brush, floss, mouthwash) as soon as I get out of bed. I don't shower until after time on the peloton bike later that morning and I find having done the rest of the hygiene beforehand helps gain momentum.
posted by fortitude25 at 6:30 PM on January 14

Seems like most of the answers are WFH oriented, but for me that's not an option. I like to start the day with a "slam dunk" task- something easy and straightforward so I can feel like I accomplished something and got the day off to a solid start. (About 1/8 of the time, the slam dunk project is not as straightforward as it first appears, things go horribly sideways and the day is off to a shaky start.)
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 11:57 AM on January 15

When I was working (maternity leave woot woot!) I had an A5 "visual art diary" that I used as a kind of bullet journal. I would sit down, write out the date, any tasks that needed doing, and any 'events' that I was doing (classes, meetings etc) and organise my brain on paper.
posted by freethefeet at 5:53 PM on January 15

I was a waiter for many many years, and now I am a restaurant manager. Before every shift, whether I'm being maitre'd or expo or Capt Curbside, I take a cloth restaurant napkin, fold it a certain way, and hang it over my belt the way I would when I was waiting tables. It is my way of telling myself "I'm working now, game on, remember to represent the profession proudly and properly."
posted by vrakatar at 8:01 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

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