As working from home has become the norm, it’s even more important to actively focus on creating a balanced lifestyle along with incorporating healthy habits into your daily schedule. 

Daily practices like exercising, meditating and taking breaks can make a huge difference in your overall mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. All of this helps you to be more energized, focused and productive throughout the day.

We’ve asked more than 200 content marketing experts what they think the key to productivity is in today’s work environment. The overwhelming response has been taking care of your health and achieving a better work-life balance.

Now let’s look at 11 daily habits that help you prioritize your health and stay motivated at work. We hope they inspire you!

11 daily practices that prioritize your health and make you more productive

Here are the top daily practices that our guests on The Content Mix podcast have attributed to their success. 

1. Create a healthy schedule that works for you

According to a Microsoft Work Trend Report, the 9-to-5 workday is disappearing. The increase in remote work has allowed for more flexible hours—meaning that more employees can complete work on their own schedules.

The secret to making the most out of creating your own schedule is ensuring that it works for you. And that means finding the times that you work best. Some of us are more productive in the morning, while others can better focus later in the evenings.

“The whole point of working from home should be about greater flexibility. The most important thing is to develop your self-awareness and know what you need, whether that’s when you take breaks, when you eat, when you rest, what time you start, what time you do your deep-focused work. It’s more up to you to define your day.”

– Maya Middlemiss, Spain-based founder of Healthy Happy Homeworking

What does a healthy schedule look like? 

For Ricardo Pereira, Portugal-based head of marketing and communications for EMEA at FRICON, it’s as simple as waking up early and not going to bed too late: 

“In my opinion, it’s a healthy way of living that makes us more productive. That’s my advice, but you have to figure out what’s best for you.” 

2. Take breaks and end on time

When you’re working from home, it’s so easy to get swept up in the work zone and forget to take breaks. But that only takes you down the path to one destination: burnout.

“Especially during the current environment of working from home, taking a break during lunchtime and ending on time is key. It’s so easy to burn out. As the boundaries of work and personal life are becoming more and more blurred—when so many of us work from our living rooms or bedrooms—it’s quite difficult to forget about work and switch off at the end of the day. Setting the boundaries, creating a separate working space, and simply taking a break or looking up once in a while can help with that.”

Natalia Bochenska, UK-based senior strategic marketing manager at Somo Global

Avinash Srivastava, India-based product marketing team lead at HighRadius, suggests scheduling all of your breaks and downtime. Because, when it’s in your diary, you’re more likely to respect your windows for relaxation.

3. Establish a healthy morning routine

We’re creatures of habit, and routines are a great way to add more structure to your day. Many of our guests have mentioned that they incorporate morning routines into their day, often including some form of exercise or meditation.

“I meditate and exercise every morning. It just sets the tone for the day, and also gives me a bit of headspace before starting my day. My morning routine helps me get through the day much easier. It’s really good to do something for yourself in the morning. Otherwise, you wake up, have your breakfast, and then you sit in front of your computer.”

Livia Gonçalves, Amsterdam-based global marketing manager at Scotch & Soda

Top tip: One of the most recommended apps on the podcast is Calm, which provides guided meditations, background music, soothing audios, and more. 

The Five-Minute Journal is another great idea for a daily routine. It provides daily guided gratitude exercises and is the perfect tool to hone your ability to focus on the good in life. This journal is designed to get you to elevate yourself, be happier, improve relationships and shift your mind to a state of optimism.

“A lot of influencers were talking about it, so I decided to try it out. I started a month ago and now it’s part of my daily routine. I’m really noticing a positive shift in my mindset and in my productivity just being grateful for the big and small things of my everyday life.”

Gabriela Orellana, Spain-based senior marketing and communications manager at fonYou

Fun fact: Emma Watson has been doing The Five-Minute Journal for a few years now. Check out this In the Bag video with her where she mentions it!

Other examples of daily routines include making your bed in the morning, starting off your day with setting out your goals, reading the news for 30 minutes or going for a walk to a nearby café for a coffee. They can be simple, small activities that help give your day some structure.

4. Get regular exercise

Exercise is said to help improve our concentration—and being able to concentrate on what we’re doing makes us more productive.

Rob McGlanaghy, Ireland-based global marketing campaigns program manager at TIBCO, likes to treat exercise like a meeting:

“I started to treat exercise almost like a meeting that I can’t miss. So I’d have an hour in the day where I’d get outside for a walk or run or cycle, or just something to get me going. And that enables me to be more productive in the afternoon.”

Try setting aside an hour, or even 30 minutes, a day to do some exercise. Whether it’s going for a run, practicing yoga, joining an online HIIT class or going dancing—find a type of exercise that you love doing and make it a regular activity in your life.

“Practicing mindfulness sounds cliché, but it always makes me feel better. I try to exercise regularly—I’m a keen cyclist. It’s all about the basic principles of taking care of your mind and body and knowing what your limits are so you don’t run yourself down.”

Alex Price, London-based founder and managing director at 93digital

5. Get fresh air

There’s nothing like stepping outside and taking in a big breath of fresh air. When working from home, it’s especially important to remember to get outside for at least a few minutes every day.

“Try to be outside and don’t get lost in the social digital life too much, especially these days when it’s easy to work from home and never disconnect. Even if it’s a five-minute break to do something completely different, like sitting on the grass, just do it.”

Hristos Fleturis, Austria-based digital marketing manager at Scott Sports SA

6. Separate your work and living space

Separating your work and living space is about separating your downtime from your work time. Having a dedicated workspace helps put you in a productive headspace. And then, once you leave, it’s easier to go back to feeling calm and relaxed.

“Make sure that you set working times and adhere to a certain setup. I sit in a home office, I have specific clothes that I wear when I’m working. I don’t work in the areas of my home that I use for relaxing and I set times to take breaks.”

Mark Duffy, UK-based digital marketing manager at Lumenis

7. Move around as much as you can

When your job involves sitting at a desk and working on your laptop all day, it’s important to be more mindful about moving your body. Get up, move around and get your blood circulating—at least once every hour. Even if it’s just standing up and doing a few stretches or jumping jacks next to your desk.

“Remembering to get up and walk around or eat lunch is important. So many days go by, and I realize, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve been sitting in this chair for four hours…’ and I haven’t had water or lunch. And I felt like if you keep yourself healthy, you’re going to be able to focus more. So I make it a priority to at least do one hour of exercise every day, get up and walk around every five minutes, or walk around for five minutes every hour.”

Jake Peterson, US-based content and SEO specialist at Atiba

Top tip: Daphne from VeraContent suggests setting up a standing desk (even a makeshift one with things around your house) and work standing up for a few hours each day. Standing desks are said to improve your mood and energy levels, reduce back pain and boost productivity!

8. Eat healthy food, in a healthy way

Set aside time to eat during the day and step away from your screen. It’s a great opportunity to get up, move and take a break.

Starting your day with a good breakfast gives you energy and helps you concentrate for longer periods. A few ideas for quick healthy breakfasts include oats, smoothies or scrambled eggs.

Eating a balanced lunch is also key to productivity. Anything too heavy can send you into an afternoon slump; sticking to healthier options is essential for maintaining your concentration and energy levels.

We recommend planning your meals in advance. This will save you time as you won’t have to whip up something last minute or order takeout and end up eating something that doesn’t make you feel good. What’s more, our guest David Pagliaro says that cooking is one of the best ways to relieve stress.

And, of course, don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day! 

9. Get better sleep

We all know this already, but sleep is essential for productivity. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your productivity is going to take a nosedive.

If you struggle to get consistent, high-quality sleep, try developing a bedtime routine. It helps send signals to your brain that it’s time to switch off for the day. An example of a bedtime routine could be turning off your phone a few hours before bed, dimming the lights, doing a sleep meditation and reading a few pages of your book.

Jeroen Corthout, Belgium-based co-founder at Salesflare, suggests reading “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker.   

“In the first chapter, it talks about the importance of sleep, along with eating well, exercising, staying balanced… and how these things influence your productivity, mood and stability. It all starts from there, and if you don’t respect this, and you go with a work-all-day-and-night kind of philosophy, it’s not going to be sustainable. And you might work really hard for a bit, but then everything will come crashing down.”

10. Get off social media

Social media is a major distraction and productivity killer. Many guests on the podcast suggested turning off social media notifications at certain times—whether it’s when you need to concentrate on a project or in the evenings when you need to switch off. 

Whenever I need deep concentration, I leave my phone in another room to remove all temptation!

Top tip: Treat yourself to a digital detox every once in a while.

“Social media never sleeps. It’s 24/7 and it’s not real life—it’s a bubble. Some people think they miss something when they aren’t online every day and it’s quite hard to take a step back. So treat yourself to a digital detox—even if to maintain marital bliss. LinkedIn will be there next week, and so will all the other social media channels.”

Oliver S. Bauer, Germany-based senior digital marketing manager EMEA at Allianz Global Investors

11. Create an opportunity for human connection

We’re humans, and we need human connection. Make sure to check in with other people throughout your day—whether it’s a Slack message to a colleague, a phone call with a friend or a social Zoom meeting.

At VeraContent, we’ve started doing weekly 20-minute “coffee breaks” on Google Meet for our team to take a break from work, do a fun activity and just have a chat.  

“Over this past year I’ve realized that the most important things are human connection, growth, warmth, and mental well being. What really matters is my health and who I am as an individual, and how I’m supporting and lifting others.”

–  Sorana Duca, London-based purposeful brand calibrator

See also: The value of human connection and empathy in marketing – according to industry experts

Our health really is the key to productivity 

When we prioritize our health, everything else falls into place—including our productivity levels. The trick is being intentional about how you spend your day and that includes building a schedule that works for you and making time for exercise, mindfulness, eating healthy and getting fresh air.

Prioritizing your health will not only make you more productive but also helps you avoid burnout—and be a happier person in general.

For more tips on how to stay productive when working from home: