Get Dressed - and Other Tips for Working From Home

Much of what I write about here involves travel, but when I'm not catching up on work on airplanes, doing TV segments or trying to work in hotels and airports, I work from home.

This set-up gives me a lot of flexibility, but it also requires some structure so I don't get distracted by the possibility of a mid-afternoon Netflix binge.  On the flip side, it also allows me to work 24/7, so finding a way to hit "stop" at the end of the work day can require some planning.

Whether you work for yourself, or have a job that lets you work from home at least part of the time, here are a few ways I have found that I am most productive.  While I admit to having a less-than-perfect record on some of these, I definitely get more done when hitting these goals.

Photo from Getty Images.

Photo from Getty Images.

#1 - Set the Alarm

It's tempting to sleep in when you don't have to go to an office, but getting up and going to bed at the same times every day helps maintain a routine.

#2 - Get Dressed

This should be obvious, right?  Let's put to rest the myth that you can work in your pajamas.  You will not feel as professional or get nearly as much done as if you get up and get ready like you're going to the office.  Which you are.

#3 - Have a Dedicated Work Space

We turned our apartment's tiny second bedroom into an office, but all you need is a table or desk exclusively for work.  Pay attention to the direction your computer camera faces, since those bookshelves, walls or other objects will be in the background when you're on video calls (which are yet another reason to get dressed).

#4 - Set Meal Times

When the kitchen is just a few steps away, it's easy to graze instead of break for meals.  This can be a challenge for me, but I am much more motivated to plan lunch on days my husband is also working from home.  The upside is that the coffeemaker and a sizable stash of K-Cups are always nearby - no expensive Starbucks run required!

#5 - Get Outside

When I started Shop with Style, I was so focused that hours at a time went by without me even looking up from my computer or phone.  So, I got into a routine of going for a walk at lunch - even if it was just a quick walk around the block.  Since this was before I was married, to force myself to stop working at night, if I wasn't meeting up with friends, I would go for a walk or walk a few blocks to browse at a nearby book store.  Now, Scott and I try to take walks before or after dinner, whether we go to a restaurant or make dinner at home - to put a "stop" on the end of the work day.

If you work from home, either full-time or part-time, what do you do to stay productive?