As remote practices become more and more common, employees are working in their guest rooms, dens, basement offices or even their kitchen islands.

It’s almost impossible to separate work from home when you’re eating in the same spaces that you’re working in.

Especially while your kids are home.

When I became a mama I needed a transition ritual.

It’s what I call the intentional time you spend when you’re ‘finished working’, but before you’re ‘at home’.

Over the last few years, my rituals have changed, and I’ve tried new tactics.

Some worked and some haven’t.

I’ll admit I’m more diligent some weeks than others.

Here are seven that I’ve tried and two that have been problematic for me.

#1 walking outside

If you have a workspace that connects outside in some degree, this will work.

It’s simple– just come in and out of the separate entrance.

It’ll give a mental break or commute of sorts to break up the time between work and home.

My cousin works in IT and has been working from home for some time.

His office is in his basement and fairly private.

When his son was about three, he would see his dad go downstairs to work and become obsessed with going down to see daddy.

My cousin decided he would walk out the front door each morning and enter through the sliding door of their basement, packed lunch and all.

It helped his little one transition and it gave him some fresh air between work and home.

#2 stretch and breathe

I’ll admit this is a recent favorite of mine.

I feel like I’m in overdrive most of the day.

And since my youngest has been about 5 months, I’ve really started hitting the coffee hard.

That leaves me with borderline heart palpitations by about 3 pm when I swear I won’t drink any more coffee.

Before I shut down my computer and walk upstairs, I put on some instrumental music, set a timer, and stretch for 5 minutes. Sometimes a few over if I really get into a vibe.

I write my task list for the next day and then up I go.

Often when I walk out of my office without doing this routine, something jumps into my mind. Maybe an email I forgot to send or something I wanted to remind myself about for tomorrow.

I use the stretching and breathing time to transition and also just take a mental download of the day and highlight what’s important for tomorrow.

Compartmentalizing things this way has recently helped me be more present with my family directly after work.

#3 tea and me time

I’m not really a tea person…

But I know so many people who are.

Having a cup of tea post-work wasn’t exactly my cup and it ends up being the first recommendation that most work-from-home moms give me when I discuss this subject.

I’d imagine that the calming, soothing teas (without caffeine) would work well to poise the brain toward relaxing.

I’d also imagine this practice would be easier for moms with older children at home.

Stepping upstairs for me is like an energy war zone… I need strength and my wits.

#4 working out

This is a controversial one.

I’ve tried positioning my workout post-work and have had mixed results.

Some folks LOVE working out in the afternoon.

I recently have stood by the mantra: get your most important work done first thing in the morning.

The most important work to me at the moment is my health and fitness.

Sometimes, just like everyone, I don’t want to make the trip out in the cold to our home gym.

It takes me a while to warm up and often I feel like I’m eating into productive work time.

But more often than not, when I don’t work out in the morning and plan to in the afternoon, it ends up getting pushed until I am forced to axe it from the schedule.

If you’re like me and you have a ton of business ideas and momentum in the morning, I have a special hack for you.

Get a whiteboard or take a notebook to the gym.

We have one hanging in our gym that I write notes on, quotes, and things I’m inspired by.

It’s amazing. And makes me feel like I’m not ‘wasting’ time in the gym in the morning when I am fueled creatively.

#5 walk the dog

Break it up and get some fresh air.

This was one of my favorite activities before we fenced in our yard.

I loved walking our dog to begin and end the day because it was such a great way to fold time and let your thoughts empty.

I would put on a podcast or call my mom to catch up.

Now, my girl is a little older and has a lovely yard to play in.

But I should absolutely consider bringing this back.

#6 clean your office

OK, I know this sounds like more work… but hear me out.

Studies show that a clean workspace makes for more productive people.
So, if you are a particularly messy worker, perhaps a cleanup is in order.

I personally believe that we should have daily and weekly routines in our work and home life.

This cleaning transition is a great example.

Each Thursday when I shut down for the day, I do my breathing and stretching, then I clean up a bit.

I’ll take up any old coffee cups that are sitting on my brainstorming table.


And I’ll toss any pieces of scratch paper I’ve been using.

Combine any to-do lists that have been scribbled and toss notes to follow up with anything into my project management tool.

It’s so nice to come down to my office and see it tidy and ready to be utilized.

It’s another great way to empty my brain and think through the things I may need to shore up before the weekend.

Here are a few that I tried that did not work for me:

#1 having a drink

Listen, a mom has to do what a mom has to do.

I LOVE a nice glass of wine to unwind and you will get absolutely zero judgment here if that’s how you transition.

For me, it was problematic because I get hangry after work.

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘hangry’ it’s a combination of hungry and angry. And it’s not fun.

So, my stomach is empty and I’m drinking. Not a pretty picture.

#2 showering

I did this one forever with my first son. I’d get dressed for work and then hop in the shower to end the day, get into my PJ’s and relax. Problem was, I didn’t feel like doing ANYTHING else.

I would get super lazy and wouldn’t go on a walk, clean up or check off any more tasks.

Once those PJ pants were on, it was time to relax: I was basically making dinner and it was lights out.

The most important thing to remember when choosing a transition routine is to make sure it works for you. Be critical about how you’re performing at home, how present you are with your family and whether or not you can actually separate your brain from work.

The best routines are ones that can change with your needs.

You got this.

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