So you decided to become your own boss – congratulations! But you’re not ready to invest in an office space and hate the inconsistency of finding a spot at the local coffee shop. Why not work from home? Enjoy a commute of 10 seconds and get work done in your pajamas if you so please. As great as it is to work from home, there can be some challenges. Here are some tips on how to be productive while working from home.

Office Space

First thing first, get dressed. This will help you fight the urge to get back in bed. Start your day by taking a shower and getting dressed like you would if you were going into the office. Speaking of which, invest in creating a comfortable office space. You need a space exclusively for work that is relatively free of distractions. Even just a comfortable chair in a corner would work. Not only will this keep you in a work-mode mindset but you’ll be able to deduct it from your taxes.

Office Hours

Create a daily work schedule  to keep you focused and on task. Once you have your hours, stick to it. Start work on time and end at a definitive time. During those hours you should avoid personal calls and emails – unless you’re on a lunch break. Also try to avoid making medical appointments during your work hours to prevent disruptions of your work. Make sure to post your hours of operation for all to see so they know not to disturb you during business hours.

Set Daily Goals

Identify what needs to get done and make a list of what you would like to complete each day. This helps save time as you know what tasks you need to complete the second you’re in your office chair. In addition, settings goals help keep you on track and validate your progress. Since you’re no longer getting feedback from a boss, checking off items from your list of goals gives you that feeling of accomplishment.

Avoid Distractions

When you work from home, your new-found freedom may be misconstrued by friends and family who may not understand that this freedom doesn’t mean free for family to stop by anytime or free to watch your friends’ kids when their sitter cancels. Try pretending you’re not home – technically you are at work. Don’t answer the door during business hours to avoid unannounced visits. Don’t look at your phone either. There’s an uncontrollable impulse that makes some people subconsciously scroll through Instagram and before you know it, you’ve lost thirty minutes looking through selfies and funny memes. Another thing to avoid is the kitchen. Working from home can turn into the “Freshman 15” with the constant snacking. It’s all about being disciplined.

Take A Break

Don’t forget to take a break. Many people assume that you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re home to be more productive when in actuality your focus may waver throughout the day. Go for a walk, a bike ride or even a swim to recharge yourself and boost your creative juices. Take a lunch break to meet up with your friends and family. If you decide to stay in, prepare your lunch the night before  to prevent spending time cooking an elaborate meal.  It is hard to do your best when you don’t feel your best so if necessary set an alarm to remind you to step away from your laptop

Working from home can be freeing in many ways: free from the crazy commute; and even free from wearing a suit. It can be the epitome of autonomy in terms of your career and time. It can’t get better than this! Until you find yourself distracted and unmotivated. Working from home you learn more organizational and time management skills. Hopefully with these tips you’re able to overcome some of the common challenges.

Featured image styled by Danielle Solomon, Hair & Makeup by Colleen van Rensburg