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10 Tricks to Help Telecommuters Stay Productive

Advances in technology and a rise in entrepreneurship have made work-from-home situations much more common. Not only is it convenient (hello pajamas!), but it also saves a ton of time and gas commuting back and forth to an office each day. How can you stay productive in an environment that screams the opposite? Here are 10 simple ways to make working from home work for you:

1. Create a workspace. Some may already have a home office that designates where work is to be completed, but if you don’t, fear not! Your workspace doesn’t have to be behind a desk; it can be anywhere you feel you’ll be most productive. The key is to give yourself the same structure an office setting would, but keep it on your terms.

2. Dress the part. This doesn’t mean wear attire that makes you uncomfortable. Rather, strive to look presentable–the effort you put into your appearance will translate to more effort put into your work. The trick is to avoid clothes that promote lethargy and instead wear whatever energizes you.

3. “Commute” to work. Commuting may seem like a drag, but it’s actually valuable time spent preparing or reflecting. Fake a commute each day by taking time to transition to and from work. For example, check your emails while eating breakfast, or catch up on the news at the end of each day.

4. Make a list. Staying organized inevitably leads to better productivity. Keep all your ducks in a row by making a list of priorities. These can be daily or weekly, as long as your list keeps you on track and focused.

5. Stick to a routine (most days). Stay in control of your time by working specific hours every day. Along with your list, it’s important to have a routine that you can stick to. Following a schedule not only forces you to wrap up assignments on time, but also lessens distractions.

6. Take breaks. It’s easy to get caught up in your work, so be sure to set aside time each day to clear your head, eat lunch and relax. You’ll return to your work refreshed and ready to tackle new projects.

7. Switch up your routine (some days). One drawback from working at home is that you can get stuck in your routine, especially with limited social interactions. Meeting someone for coffee and a quick chat is a great way to curb any feelings of disconnect.

8. Connect online. If you can’t leave home, seek out connections with others online. Join a forum for your industry, discuss the latest water cooler topic on a message board or use social media to reach out for a few minutes every day.

9. Check in periodically. Telecommuters need to stay in contact with their supervisors and team members throughout the day. It’s crucial to keep the lines of communication open because it ensures that everyone’s on the same page.

10. Don’t make it personal. Try your best to reduce distractions by making personal calls in the evening (or whichever time you’re not working), and have conversations with your spouse or children after your specified work hours.