How you can make Homeworking less stressful, happier and more productive in seven days


3 Home Working Rituals guaranteed to make you less stressed, happier, and more productive in seven days.

Work is a stressful place; home life has its own stresses and strains. Combining the two can in some cases make both types of stress better and in some cases make both types of stress worse.

For most of us, it will do something in the middle.

Jordon Peterson postulates that stress originates from the world being chaotic and that order reduces stress. Personally, I would agree that bringing habits, routines, and rituals into your home working life will create order and reduce stress over time.

However, we do need to understand what a ritual is in the first place.

What is a ritual?

According to the oracles known as Wikipedia a ritual is:

“A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized, but not defined, by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance”

Now when you think about rituals, we have all sorts of rituals that form part of our lives that are so habitual and automatic that we forget their significance and importance. The workplace and how we work are no different.

We will cover three rituals to help your working life, Morning, Lunchtime, and evening rituals.

Morning Rituals

As someone who has worked from home for a very long time, I have and still do find starting the day be one of the most stressful parts of the day. The reason for this is like many people I began my career working in jobs where I got up for work, got ready for work, went to work, and then came home from work.

The working day had a ritual all its own, and that ritual helped me into the working day mindset.

What is needed in a Morning Ritual?

Essentially, working from home gives us so many possibilities and options, whilst taking away the traditional signposts to starting work can create a very stressful start of the day, or make it hard to start the working day, thus making the day overall more stressful and making it hard to stop working as well.

Do you have a ritual, or do you wing it? Or is your ritual chaotic? Before you start, you need to understand the key tasks that need to be completed before starting work, e.g., do you need to shower, do you need breakfast, do you need to take the dogs for a walk, or get the kids to school or do you Llama needs to be mucked out. Knowing the tasks as your morning can be planned.

Next, once you understand the tasks that need completing, try to figure out the activities that help you get into the mindset for work, this might take some experimentation.

For example, some people put on work clothing, including a full shirt and tie, to get started working so that they enter the mindset as they start work. Others might take the dog for a walk as part of a “fake commute”.

Knowing what works is important and once you know what works repeat it.

Lastly, have three activities that you take at your desk every day, that you do every day, and do them, and put them on your to-do list so that you build that start-of-the-day momentum that you need.

What does a start-of-the-day ritual need?

Example Morning Ritual

1.       Get up at 7am

2.       Shower etc

3.       Beans on toast for breakfast.

4.       Listen to the news on the radio whilst drinking a coffee.

5.       Take the dog for a walk at 8am

6.       Make another coffee.

7.       Sit down at your desk at 8:30.

8.       Start the computer.

9.       Open Outlook.

10.   Process emails to inbox zero.

Lunchtime Rituals

Rituals around lunchtime are often neglected, just like the way that lunchtime is neglected by most home workers and office workers.

The reasons why lunchtime is overlooked, especially by office workers are the culture around lunch that seems to exist in many offices. We have all been there, dashing out of the office to buy a pre-packaged sandwich, dashing back to the office past all the other people dashing to or from the sandwich shop, you then get back into the office and then, sitting at your desk half-eating/half-working as a way of demonstrating to all your ‘other eating at your desk’ co-workers that you are a dedicated worker.

This culture sadly seems to have penetrated our home working lives as well. Frankly, this is pointless as we cannot show off to our bosses, co-workers, or cat like this. Our boss and co-workers cannot see us eating at the desk, and nothing impresses a cat. They are as cool as cucumbers.

Lunch in many cultures is far more respected and indeed is seen as part of the process of a company’s workers gaining experience for co-workers. For instance, in many German companies workers will all sit down to lunch in the canteen at the same time.

What does your Lunchtime Ritual need?

·         A dedicated lunchtime that is the same every day of the week (emergencies withstanding).

·         Time to make your lunch.

·         Time to eat your lunch.

·         The time that is not dedicated to work or our smartphones (if possible).

·         A back-to-work ritual.

Example Lunchtime Ritual

1.       Turn the computer off at 1pm.

2.       Leave the home office, and close the door.

3.       Go downstairs.

4.       Say hello to your significant other who makes lunch while you fill the dishwasher.

5.       Eat lunch together.

6.       Chat about the day's news whilst watching a news channel.

7.       Head back up to the home office at 2pm.

8.       Turn the computer on whilst reviewing the to-do list.

Evening Ritual

Ending the day with an appropriate ritual will help reduce stress as it allows you to put the working world behind you for the day and emerge fully into home life without any undue stress.

For several years, I travelled to work via public transport as I am both rubbish at driving tests and unable to walk from Hampshire to central London every day. This formed a large part of my end-of-the-day ritual, leaving the office, walking to Waterloo from St. James Park, and hopefully getting a seat on the train back to Hampshire. This process helped me transition from work life to home-life. Although the only thing it did was make me exhausted and broke.

So, without this ritual when I first started working from home (running my own business) I found it very, if not impossible to switch myself off and I would spend hours extra each day than was needed working, even though it was counterproductive.

At the end of the day (as footballers say) the end of the day ritual is there to signal that the working day has ended and that it is now time for rest, relaxation, or just housework.

What does an Evening Ritual need to include?

·         A fixed end-up (genuine work emergencies excluded).

·         15-minute email purge (with the email sent timed for 7am the next morning unless urgent).

·         Update and write tomorrow's to-do list.

·         Tidy and clean desk.

·         Leaving the work area, either closing the room off or putting work gear away out of sight.

·         A routine post-work task/thing e.g., walk the dog, go for a run, eat a mars bar.

Example Evening Ritual

1.       At 4:45 – Make any quick update calls to clients, boss, etc that are needed.

2.       Then start an email purge, aiming to clear out emails.

3.       At 5pm put an end-of-the-day playlist on Spotify that has 30 minutes of tracks you love so you start priming yourself for home. 

4.        At 5:15 Write tomorrow's to-do list out on paper.

5.       Number the to-do list.

6.       Tidy desk, including putting all paperwork away and straightening it up and ready for you to get started.

7.       End work at 5:30 on the dot, leave the home office (with coffee cups) and close the door to the home office.


Keeping and maintaining habits, routines, and rituals around working from home is hard as there are so many ways that we can be distracted or ways that we can bring old ways of working into our new situation. The benefits of being purposeful with the rituals we undertake as home workers can have a real and profound effect on how we work, how stressed we are, and ultimately how contented and happy we are.

Further Reading

If you are looking for more information on productive mornings try this book, and if you are looking for inspiration on what to make for lunch try this book.

If rituals have piqued your interest, why not check the price of this book out on Amazon.

More Information

If you are looking for more information on productive mornings try this book, and if you are looking for inspiration on what to make for lunch try this book.

If rituals have piqued your interest, why not check the price of this book out on Amazon.


Thank you for reading this article.

Please note that I have written these books that you might find interesting:

Recruitment Hacks 

Political Careers 

My First eBay Sale 

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