To an outsider, working from home sounds like a dream: you get to pad around in your pajamas, indulge in leisurely lunches, and answer emails from the comfort of your own couch instead of a windowless cubicle.
But having your home as an office can also be tricky business when the lines start to blur between your personal life and work life. If you sometimes feel like you're on the clock 24/7 as your own boss and your own housekeeper, here are a few strategies for making the most of a work day at home.
No motivation? Get dressed.
Yes, pajamas are a perk of working from home, but they can also be a downfall if you tend to equate PJs with lazy Sundays. If you find yourself feeling a little less enthused about starting your work day, start it like you're about to go out: put on clothes, do your hair, and turn on some music to pump yourself up.
Move toward the light.
Work in a space where you feel energized and inspired — typically, this is in a room with the most natural light and the nicest view. If you don't have a designated office in the home, it's perfectly acceptable to work in the kitchen or out on the patio if you feel most productive in those areas. And if you do have a home office but it leaves you feeling lackluster, make some changes to the space (even moving it entirely) to promote a more positive flow.
Stock your own supply closet.
A lot of office supplies are fair game for the whole family: pens, paper, staples, and chargers. But it's best to keep your own stash of supplies for your business so they're always at the ready. Designate a shelf or cabinet for storing your supplies so that the next time you need a USB cord, you won't have to run into the bedroom to disconnect it from the wall (nor will you be left hanging when you realize your husband used the last Post-It).
Schedule frequent breaks to stretch and move about.
It's all too easy to get sucked in to work when you're happily typing away at the dining table. To put yourself in a better frame of mind, schedule a short break every couple of hours to make a snack, take a walk, or stand in the sun. You could even change your current working location to get your blood (and your brain) flowing a bit — even if you're just moving to the next room.
Balance household chores with business tasks.
If you can't leave your chores for the weekend, get into a productive rhythm: work for an hour, then give yourself five minutes to water your plants or throw in a load of laundry. Repeat throughout the day, never allowing yourself to get too involved with any one chore. Answer personal calls and emails on your breaks, and schedule errands in one big block so that your day isn't disrupted with multiple trips out of the house.