All of us are having to adjust to a new normal these days. Some of you might find yourself in a season of life where you are either working from home or laid off, due to COVID-19. This resource will likely be most helpful for those of you who are either single or don’t have children, though many parents may find it helpful to establish new at home routines while their children are not in school, and may find it helpful to use the general principles.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Often, we have structure unintentionally built into our lives. When the enforced structure of work is dissolved or altered it feels like freedom at first, but we soon discover that we need structure and routine to remain healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. These are life patterns and rhythms I have found to be beneficial in the past 2.5 years of working at home.
- Keep a set wake up time. Make it early. Do plan to sleep in one day.
- Start your day with God before you pick up your phone, check Instagram, or do any work. In fact, order an alarm clock online so you can keep your phone out of the room to help remove the temptation.
- TIP: If you don’t do morning devotions regularly, now is the time to start! Use the commute time you’ve saved and give it to Jesus. I understand that for some people the morning is not ideal, and of course, afternoon or evening is good too. However, I encourage this as a morning routine because it is so beneficial to start off our days with our hearts focused on God. Either way, pick a set time in your day and keep it! And if it is later in the day, at least take 5 minutes to pray and focus your heart on God before you get going.
- Here’s a sample devotional time:
Pray—ask God to be present with you as you read the word and that he would speak to you.
Read scripture—I recommend having a reading plan of some sort. Randomly opening your bible can be nice sometimes but a plan is better all the time.
Meditate—here's a resource on how to meditate
Pray—through whatever God has put on your heart. Spend time praising him, confessing sin, thanking him and of course bringing your requests to him and interceding for others
- Get exercise! Go for a walk, run, do a home strength training routine, do an online video. This is so important for physical and mental health.
- Get dressed (shower first if you need to!)—getting dressed like people will see you even if they won’t is a very good thing to do. Don’t stay in your sweats all day.
- It can be hard to stay focused, so create a space for yourself to consider your “work space” and treat it as such.
- TIP: Have set breaks if you are working from home, and even a consistent lunch break. Try to eliminate distractions if you can. It might seem unnecessary at first, but depending on how long we are all stuck at home, it will be very helpful.
- Plan to connect with someone daily by phone, video, or for a (socially distanced) walk. Actually plan it. This is especially important if you live alone!
- Set a limit on how much media (or whatever!) you consume daily. Seriously, set a limit and keep it! Try not to binge Netflix or YouTube or Hulu, or Hayu or Disney+, or Prime Video (you get the picture...). Consider limiting your idle scrolling time also. Hours and hours can disappear when you were only intending to look at one thing briefly. Include online shopping if you are particularly prone to over indulging this way.
- TIP: If you find any of these limitations really hard, that’s okay. Pray and ask God for help! He hears you and will help. The Holy Spirit is our helper. Even if you slip, don’t be discouraged. His mercies are new not just every morning, but every minute, every moment!
- Give yourself a daily or weekly project. Actually schedule it into your day or week. Organize or clean a part of your home, fix something you've been meaning to get to, purge your closet, work on a hobby or a puzzle, etc.
- TIP: You can even set a daily chore list for yourself. Maybe it seems juvenile, but it's very helpful. Laundry every Wednesday, clean bathrooms every Tuesday and Friday, etc. Just because you might not be having people over regularly any more doesn’t mean you should let your living space slip into chaos. Keep it clean, keep it tidy! Trust me.
- Plan to read or listen to a podcast, audiobook or sermon daily. Choose things that are spiritually edifying. Check out our resource list here for some options.
- Find a way to serve someone else every day. One way to serve is to join Westside’s Remote Help Team. Find out more here!
- Don’t overeat or over-drink! If you are bored or feeling depressed, you might feel like food and drink will make you feel better.
- TIP: Although God gave us these things to enjoy, they can become little gods to us. They will not satisfy you. Only God can satisfy you. If you are paying attention to these things, you may notice a bad habit. Take it to the Lord in prayer. He can help you. He can reveal to you that only he satisfies. Ask for help and accountability from those around you. Even if you don’t have an addiction, it is good to have a godly person check in with you. Overeating and over drinking can lead to further feelings of lethargy, depression, and anxiety. But we can eat and drink to the glory of God.
- Keep a set bedtime for the most part.
- TIP: End your day with prayer and maybe an evening devotional or read a Psalm. Practice letting your heart and mind rest in God as you fall asleep.
You may find it helpful to physically write out or type up a daily/weekly schedule. Here’s a simple break down:
Wake up early.
Spend time with Jesus.
Get some exercise.
Get dressed and shower.
Plan your day.
Do something productive.
Connect with someone in a meaningful way.
Do something that spiritually builds you up.
Keep your home clean.
Limit your TV watching and online time.
Find a way to serve.
Don’t eat or drink too much.
Go to bed at a set time.
Focus your heart on God before falling asleep.
I hope and pray that you find this guide not just helpful on a practical level, but also that it allows you to grow spiritually during this season. One of the most precious things that God has given us is time. The more freedom we have, the more responsibility we have to use our time in a manner that glorifies God, makes us more like Jesus, and lovingly serves those around us. I hope that as you establish a healthy daily and weekly rhythm in this season, it will lead to sweet time with Jesus and a greater concern for the Church and the world around you.