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Danila Petrova
Danila Petrova

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What are your Quarantine Home-Office Habits?

Habits are the base structure of everything we do. The way we walk, our speech patterns, how we brush our teeth and all other repetitive activities are some form of habit. That being said, we can put in more of an effort as to what our daily activities are and how they result in our day to day lifestyle.

Our lifestyle habits, in turn, can affect every aspect of our lives such as work, how we communicate with people, relationships, working practices and how we manage our time as a whole. Habit management can be detrimental to productivity, as well as personal growth - slowing down or straight up stopping our progress towards the goals we have set for ourselves.

Environment changes lead to habit changes

Currently due to the coronavirus epidemic, as many of us as possible are working from the safety of our own homes. As a part of a flexible company developing healthcare technology, I am no exception. And while this is the best way to limit the spread of the virus it comes with a neat little pack of challenges.

Now that the main structures of our day are taken out of the equation there is room for other habits to settle in. Removing commute to work, strict working hours (for some), social activities, going out to the gym etc. Be honest with yourself, how much of this, suddenly free time has been gradually occupied by leisurely activities? Did you become an avid Netflix watcher, or ended up spending hours on end in social media or whatever your downtime preferences are?

With the changes of environment and activities, you are bound to find yourself changing up your routines and substituting now obsolete habits with ones that seem to be better for you at the moment. However many of those come with side effects that are prevalent. Too much sedentary lifestyle can result in bad physical health as well as back and neck pain and headaches.

What makes a habit

There are a few key aspects to any habit. As a habit is a repetitive action, it is nearly the same every time unless there is a different command.


A cue is some kind of signal that sets the habit in motion. For example, a cue for eating would be to see the food you enjoy or to feel a sense of hunger.


The routine would be to go on and grab some food and eat it. The action becomes more and more intuitive and easy to complete without much thought, the more it has been performed.


Once you have responded to the cue by carrying out the routine you get a reward of some sort. In this instance, you feel full and feel satisfaction from the tasty food.

Good vs. Bad habits

Habits are a basic function of your body, the basis being that with repetitive action it is not a matter of decisions but simply auto-pilot. The effort you put into your habits is significantly less than if you make a decision that contradicts them.

There are widely spread conceptions of “good” or “bad” habits to have. And this is definitely valid. If you allow an action that has negative consequences repeat multiple times with a cue, routine and reward it will become an automatic habit.

This is where being aware of your habits serve you. You can observe your current repetitive actions and make a conscious effort to direct them towards a healthier lifestyle if this is what you choose.

Cornerstone habits

Those can create a ripple effect on your life. For example, one such habit could be stabilizing your sleeping habits. If you wake up roughly around the same time every day you will be able to make other activities more consistent as well, such as cooking healthier meals instead of running out for junk food because you didn’t have the time to meal prep. Or having sufficient time for chores, leisure and hanging out with loved ones.

The things that have the potential to turn into a cornerstone habit depends on your personal preferences and your own goals. However, keep in mind that those are habits that in turn change many other smaller ones.

Three important habits for home office

Most of us are working home office. So it is worth being said that there are certain habits that factor into our productivity, mindset and overall mental and physical well-being while adapting to the situation.

The following three habits are those I have observed to be the most important for me, and for many others, I have been in contact with.

Work/leisure separation

Surely I am not the only one who noticed this. But at home, it is so easy to get distracted by the usual leisure activities that you end up interrupting your workflow time and time again. The way this played out for me is I would be on and off work for twelve hours a day. In total, I would have worked roughly eight hours, but because I kept stepping out of work and into chill time, I always felt the I-need-to-get-back-to-work feeling hanging over my head.

In order to combat this, I have introduced two main habit changes:

  • Work in blocks of two, three or four hours straight. This helped me get through the bulk of my work quickly. And as an added bonus, two-three sessions in I was all done! So I could enjoy the rest of the evening guilt-free, which proved much, much healthier for my mental health.
  • Dedicated work vs. leisure spaces. I set up a desk and a couch in my room, that both serve as an impromptu office area. So all my work I do in one of those spaces. And if I want to take a break to scroll on my phone or go on youtube, I physically get up off my workspace and go on my bed, the living room, out on the balcony, kitchen etc. Having the work mindset in my “office area” was a game-changer. It helps me keep up with my work sessions and ultimately with my deadlines while allowing me to relax as I need it in a healthy way.

Dedicated working hours

I already touched on this, but the first couple of weeks I stretched out my working schedule, and as a result, I ended up fatigued and tired and I had to work late into the night to finish up work I had neglected through the day. This, in turn, resulted in me sleeping in late and having to work late again to keep up.

Doing this introduces a dangerous precedent. One after another my habits became less sustainable and having a healthier mindset became more unattainable. So I decided to pull up my working hours a little bit at a time. And while I do not exactly work strictly “9 to 5” I am much more able to plan out my work and feel better doing it.

Maintaining pre-existing habits and routines

What would your day look like pre-quarantine? When did you wake up? Did you usually have breakfast? Did you work out before or after work? Did you talk on the phone with a relative on your break?

There are so many things out of our control right now, but our daily activities are not one of them. So you should make a conscious effort to maintain your usual routine as much as possible, whatever it may be. Of course, you may have to make some alterations to fit in your current lifestyle, but you should focus on making your habits now maintainable back into the world.

The importance of habit mindfulness

If you want to gain a sense of control you need to take a look at your daily actions and identify the underlying habits that guide the way you spend your time. By knowing what your habits are you can then take steps to maintain those that add value to your life. And on the flip side, you can make an effort to add ones that make a positive influence and limit those that are hurting you one way or another.

While I would not recommend making drastic or restrictive changes in your life right now, I would recommend taking account of your habit as an observation. Simply being mindful of your subconscious actions will make it much easier to guide them in a healthy way, when you decide to do so.

What are your home-office habits? What is important for you to maintain through the quarantine? I hope this article was at least a little helpful, and if you have any suggestions I may have missed, please add to the discussion below!

Top comments (10)

felipperegazio profile image
Felippe Regazio • Edited

i "wake up" 8:00 am (keep turning in bed till 8:40 am), make a black coffee (no sugar), open up the computer, say hi to my colleagues, on the second coffee mug i start a long and normal day with a very common routine. then i do physical exercises around 5 pm, continue to work till 6, 7 pm sometimes, then im done. Its almost automatic, the code/work challenges will guide the day.

i have 3 basic golden rules:

  1. im working (thats it)
  2. always on the same place in the house
  3. don't skip meals

I tend to be a very homely and lonely person (I don't think this is bad at all), so I've been dealing relatively well. curious about the other answers.

danilapetrova profile image
Danila Petrova

Thank you for sharing your experience!

Personally I am pretty self-sufficient as well and most of my favourite activities beyond work are very indoors. So as soon as I made some arrangements to work effectively, I have been able to find a balance that I consider healthy.

I love seeing how different people tackle their challenges, so I am very curious about the other answers!

mayankjoshi profile image
mayank joshi

Wale up at 5:30, then meditation for 10 minutes. 1 hour of Dev scrolling and commenting. The. 7:30 to 8:30 (1hour) daily workout.

Then get into the zone(working on my startup project & and other company stuff) from 10:00 to 1:00, luch time, and back to work till 6:30 in the evening.

Most important thing is workout to rejuvenate myself and no distractions (notifications etc).

danilapetrova profile image
Danila Petrova

That sounds amazing!

Personally I have a goal to do some form of activity every day so it is inspiring to hear about your habits. Some of it is structured and planned out such as my weightlifting/bodybuilding type sessions, but other days I would at least go out for a walk (it is allowed if we keep our distance, and I live in a remote area from the city).

I am trying to first build the habit of daily activity, and then build up on top of that with more structured and challenging training.

mayankjoshi profile image
mayank joshi • Edited

Activity in any form( both physically and mentally) is important as it give you a push to keep moving and not to be lazy.

I am trying to first build the habit of daily activity, and then build up on top of that with more structured and challenging training

It's good to hear that you are doing some form of activity. Continue it, keep making slow progress and in long run there will be gigantic progress.

Good luck.

P.S I am planning to work on a blog, that's all about diet and workout especially for the developer need to figure out a lot of things. If you are interested can contact me.

danilapetrova profile image
Danila Petrova

Keeping up your usual routine is definitely a healthy thing to do!

At my previous job, I used to work late shifts due to time difference with clients (4 pm to 1 am). Once the quarantine started, I slowly reverted back to those habits I had been building for two years. This led to me waking up at noon, and spending the day grinding at work and inevitably heading to bed around 2 or even 3 am - all on loop.

Now I wake up at 9:30 - 10am latest (trying to go to 8 am, but gradually). I only work structured blocks of time, and as soon as I am done, I shut down my work PC. Workouts and taking walks (safely) is something I do on the daily. My goal is to have daily activity of at least 15 min. Though it usually ends up being well over an hour!

I am so glad you shared your experience and how you go about it!

danilapetrova profile image
Danila Petrova

I know what you mean!

I am a full-time employee, as well as a full-time student with demanded attendance (under normal circumstances). On top of that, I try to remain as active as I can, since I get terrible headaches if I don't exercise at least four times a week.

I have had periods where my day would stretch out to 14-15 hours going from university to work to the gym, and then working on assignments.

Keep at it! It is challenging, but introducing exercise in your day will make all the difference!

sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

I also try to keep similar habits as before. When I wake up at 5:30 I read. Usually, I got to the office very early to avoid traffic jams, and spent some time on my personal project (nothing for profit, so it's ok from the office), reading technical books, writing my blog. I do the same these days, just earlier, before my family wakes up. Then pretty much the same office hours, the only difference is that my colleagues cannot pop up at my desk, only my kids :D I prefer them to an open office.

jschleigher profile image
James Schleigher

Yes! I 100% agree with work/leisure separation! I even schedule a short break time in my task management software. This reminds me that I need to rest my mind a bit. So far, I like Tick Tick and Quire. These tools really help to get things done and not overwhelmed.

danilapetrova profile image
Danila Petrova

Thanks to everyone who added to the discussion! I love seeing how different people went about the habits they are upkeeping!