026: Creating Pre-Work and Post-Work Routines to Help Define Your Workday

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Do your days tend to run long and always seem to run into each other? You might need to establish some definitive routines to help signal the start and end of your work day. In this week’s episode, I discuss why it might help you to establish a pre-work routine that will signal the start of your work day and a routine that will also signal the end of your work day so you can wrap it up and transition into your evening work-free.

Your action step this week: Create your routines and tag me on IG with a pic of your space or you doing your routine!

Discussed In This Episode:

  • Why creating a pre-work routine is crucial at the start of your day
  • Why ending the day with a post-work routine can help you wrap things up
  • How to create pre and post-work routines

Mentioned in this episode:

Related blog posts:

Other Helpful links:


Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems, equipping women with actionable steps to overcome, overwhelm and streamline business and life. So grab your favorite drink and come hang out with me. I'm your host, Miranda Merten. Welcome back to Coffee Powered Systems, I am Miranda Merten, and you are joining me today to talk about free work and post work rituals. But before we do that, I want you to go ahead and grab your favorite drink so you can join me as I drink my perfect cup of coffee.


You know what I'm talking about? I normally drink my coffee with either sugar or cream and never have been able to drink it just black. But on Sundays especially, I'll do both. Or when I just feel like it, I'll do sugar and cream.


So right now I'm drinking sugar and cream and I have made the perfect cup of coffee.


And you coffee drinkers out there, you know what that feels like, right? When it's like the perfect temperature and the perfect amount of sugar and cream, it's like bliss, right?


So that is where I'm at today. I want you to join me as you grab your favorite drink and come chat as we talk about pre work and post work rituals.


So what do I mean by pre work and post work rituals? We're all familiar with morning routines and nighttime routines.


We get up in the morning, we try to get into our day, get into the correct headspace, or maybe it's just you have to get up and take care of your family. And that's kind of a routine, right? When the school year and everyone gets up, we're doing breakfast, we're doing brushing the teeth, we're doing all those things. That's part of your routine. But I want to talk about pre work and post work routines, especially during this time when a lot of people are working from home.


If your days are now tending to run long or they all seem to run into each other, you can't tell if it's Monday or Wednesday. You probably don't have definite routines or rituals when it comes to your work schedule. And it's harder when we're working from home and we have family here, we have kids or we don't have the accountability of being inside the office or the driving to work to and from work that signals the end of our workday or grabbing the coffee from Starbucks that signals we're getting ready to go work.


That's part of our routine.


But now if you're at home a lot, your pre work might just be after your morning ritual or you get out of bed or maybe you don't even have a morning ritual. You dredge around the house for a bit. You do some stuff with the family, maybe have breakfast, maybe sit, have a coffee, read a book, or maybe you check your phone while you're even still laying in bed. I want to talk about making a routine that signals you are actually working.


This is especially important, too, if you have young kids at home or if you have a partner at home and you want them to know that you are at work and this is focused work time for you.


A lot of us don't have office doors that we can close.


Some of us do. You can close the office door and say, this is when I'm working. You know, maybe you can even put a sign on the door. But if you don't have an office door per say, or maybe you work in the bedroom because your bedroom is big enough and you just have a desk in there or you work in the dining room at the dining room table, which can make it really hard because people are walking by all day long and it's easy for them to stop and pull you away and say, hey, can you help me with this or whatever.


So you want to have specific times that you are working and focused and those are your work times. And then when you're done, then that's family time or relaxation time. So let's talk about the pre work routines.


Why would you want a pre work routine after your morning routine? Think about do you need a work routine? Do you need something that signals your mind that you are ready for work? A pre work routine helps you get in the mindset for work, just like your morning routine, helps you get in the mindset to start your day.


And that's super important because not only does it signal to you, yourself and your mind to get in the zone, it also signals to anyone in your household that it's time for a do not disturb session.


So let's think about how you would want to do your pre work routine.


I want you to get out a sheet of paper or, you know, take notes on your notes app, whatever you like taking notes on.


And I want you to think about the things that you naturally do right before you start work and the things that also might help you when it comes to starting work.


Number one, you could straighten up your desk space if it's not already straightened from the day before because it's a lot easier to get focused and get busy when everything's in order and you're not fumbling through. Things are moving things out of the way because they're distracting.


Number two, you can get your water, your tea or. Coffee, whatever it is that you drink throughout the day three, you could turn on your productivity playlist or some ambience or music or, you know, maybe you've got a humidifier or something that makes some sort of a noise like those noise sound boxes turn on one of those. I've got a productivity playlist that you can have. It's free. It's in the Productivity Powerpack and you can get that on my website, Miranda Merten dot com forward slash Powerpack.


And I will also drop those in the show notes for you.


Put on your music playlist. That's a great way to get in the zone and get focused and ready for work. Next, you could close your door like I said before, or somehow let it be known that you are starting work. So if, for instance, you do use a dining room or an open room where you are working, let them know that once I sit at this desk between these hours, that is my time to work. So if it happens to be between nine and 12 and one to five, if I am sitting at that desk, I am working OK?


And you can open up your task manager browser's or apps if you are using a task list or productivity list like from Asana or Todoist or wherever you keep your project management, once you open that up, that's going to be your cue that you are starting to work.


And lastly, you can create a step by step plan of what you will do. So if you're one for writing steps down or writing things down, you can definitely, you know, for the first few weeks, maybe write that down, get my water, turn on my music, close my door, you know, make a list, boom, boom, boom. And then whatever that list is, that is your pre work routine. So once you have figured out what those are, you can try that for the next couple of weeks and see if that works for you, gets you in the right headspace and that is going to set you up for success.


Now, let's talk about the post work routine. Why would you need a post work routine?


Because and I will tell you from experience, I could work all night long. I can sit there on my computer and work all day. I can move from one side to the other. And even though I have moved from the desk to the living room couch, I could still sit there and work or learn or do whatever, creating graphics, tinkering around.


And technically, I'm still working. Right. But that's not really where we want to be. We want to especially if you have other people in your house you want to spend time with or you need to incorporate some relaxation for yourself. You want to make sure that there's a definitive stop so that you can then close down for the day, because just like how we open our minds to get started and get in the mindset, we also want to close down our minds and get in the mindset of winding down for the night.


So let's talk about these post work routines again. Just like the beginning of the day. You want to think of the things that you naturally do at the end of the day. Sometimes if your to do list isn't finished, you might want to keep going.


So you want to transfer some of those to do list items over to the next day. One of your routines might be to journal.


You know, you can make note of how things went for the day, what went well, what could be improved, what you accomplished, what you didn't finish.


That could be, you know, a 15, 20 minute thing to signal the end of your day, you can physically clean up your space again, just like the morning you want to go ahead and straighten things up and physically clean it up, just like if you were working in an office.


Most people don't leave their desk a mess when they are leaving the office. You typically tend to straighten up your papers and tidy up before you leave. So same thing goes for when you're working at home at your own desk.


You can check your email one last time. You know, once you check your email, it's, you know, whatever time you finish work, five, six p.m., go ahead and check your email, make it known. That's going to be the last time you check your email. And that's a mental thing for yourself.


If you're going on holiday or vacation, go ahead and set up your do not disturb notifications. And the last thing that you can do is close or turn off your computer. That is probably the biggest signal to your mind that work is done.


Once you close your laptop or you turn off your computer and leave the desk, leave the workspace, then, you know, OK, no more work. I'm going to go make dinner. I'm going to go play in the yard with the dog.


Whatever it is that you do at the end of the day to wind down, that is going to be the best thing to do. And also a change of scenery will help as well, because if you tend to work at the same place throughout the day, changing your scenery, maybe. You go from your work desk to your bedroom area or to your living room area or outside to your yard, that's also going to signal it's the end of the day and it kind of gives you that break that you need to kind of close it all down.


OK, so just like we did for the morning routine and the pre work routine, I want you to go ahead and create the chain of events that sound the best to you and that resonates to you. Think of the things you already do naturally that you didn't realize you already did. To signal that the workday is over, organize all of your steps in the order that seems to make the most sense.


You know, you wouldn't close your computer before you checked your email, so write down your steps in the correct order and then, you know, you don't want to make it super lengthy, maybe like four or five things that are quick and easy to signal that your day is over or your day has just started and go ahead and get those down.


You can pin those on your desk, taped them up somewhere, put them on an app or a reminder, put them on a sticky note. And that's your action this week. Create your routines. And I also want you to tag me on Instagram. When you are done with your routines, snap a picture of you in your workspace or doing it some part of your routine. You can find me on Instagram at Miranda Merten if we're not already friends and tag me, let me know how your routine is going.


And if you have just started one or if you've been doing a couple of routines, pretty work or post work, let me know about it.


OK, that is all I have for today. Join me next time.


Thanks for listening to Coffee Powered Systems. You can find links to everything mentioned in the episode. Down in the show, notes are on the website at Miranda Merten dot com, if you enjoyed this episode, rate and review it in iTunes or where you enjoy listening so others can find it too. And join me here next time.


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