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6 Ways to Stay Focused When You're Working from Home

6 Ways to Stay Focused When You're Working from Home
Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Working from home is a dream come true for some people. You can skip the rush-hour commute, work in pajamas and avoid annoying co-workers.

However, between the unfolded laundry on your floor and your favorite daytime TV show, working from your house can also be incredibly distracting.  

"Working from home can open up a lot of opportunities to do anything but work," said Gerald D. Vinci, owner of Vinci Digital Marketing. "A pile of dishes in the sink or laundry in the hamper might be calling your name, but too often, these distractions wind up greatly impacting productivity."

Here are six strategies to avoid distractions and stay on track when you're working from home. [Ready to Work From Home? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions]

A dedicated space, whether a home office or a corner of the bedroom, is the key to staying successful and productive. Even though you're at home, it's important to feel as if you've gone to work.

"I think the best thing you can do when you're working from home is replicate an office-like station that can help you get in the zone," said Stephanie Sharlow, chief editor of DesignRush. "Compartmentalizing your home life from your work life is key."

Make sure to use technology to check in with co-workers and managers. To avoid being forgotten, consistently communicate about progress, ideas and insights.

Sharlow suggested working out with your company exactly how you will provide updates on projects, chat with people throughout the day and join meetings. She also recommended connecting with co-workers through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These sites help you connect with co-workers on a more personal level.  

Before your workday begins, make sure you're prepared by having the tools and technology you'll need to be productive. It's also important to have a tentative schedule in place before you clock in.

"Whether it's creating a daily task list or taking stock of the additional tools and programs you'll need, think about each day before it happens," Sharlow said. "Getting sick of your apartment walls? Find a quiet coffee shop for a change of scenery. Have a call-heavy job? Invest in a solid headset."

For some people, staying focused on their job while working remotely can be difficult, especially at first. When you're on the clock, ignore the laundry, yardwork, dishwashing and cleaning.

"It's OK to make exceptions here and there, but overall, try to stick to normal work hours," Sharlow said. "Avoid chatting on the phone with anyone, watching TV or other obvious non-work-related activities."

It's easy to stay glued to your desk or couch all day as a remote worker, and that's not good for your health or your mental acuity. Remember, working remotely doesn't need to literally mean from home. Getting face time with clients at a coffee shop, working in a Wi-Fi-capable location or just changing scenery are ways to remain productive while also moving around.

"I find myself running out to meet with clients or attending networking events on a weekly basis," Vinci said. "By establishing a routine to dress and look the part, I can easily come and go throughout the day without stressing about getting ready for a last-minute meeting."

"Make it a priority every day to ensure you're not sedentary for days on end, holed up in an apartment," added Sharlow. "If you hit a creative block, try to go for a walk or even do an at-home quick exercise to clear your head."

Drawing a line of when work begins and ends is crucial. If you don't adhere to scheduled work hours, it's easy to log back in and continue working well past your 40 hours.

"Working from home could very well become a 24-hour-a-day job if you let it," Vinci said. "Set office hours, and stick to them."

Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Saige Driver

Saige received her bachelor's degree in journalism and telecommunications from Ball State University. She is the social media coordinator for Aptera and also writes for business.com and Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie.