Working from home is a privilege as much as it is a responsibility. Whether you’re at home once-a-week or call “the den” your permanent office, you’re responsible for producing excellent work in an environment that is inherently distracting. Not only are you unsupervised, but your TV, phone, bed and fridge are calling you at all hours of the day. So how do we ignore these temptations?

Here are six things I do to keep myself motivated and my work on-track while working at home:

Stretch

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When I say stretch, I mean wake up your body. You don’t need to dive into full athlete-mode and whip out the splits (but go for it with precaution, if you’d like). You’ll spend less time thinking about that kink in your neck if spent 5-10 minutes a day stretching in the morning. Throw on your headphones, crank up the volume and get the wheels spinning.

There are alternatives to the gym

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I make exercise as much of a priority as eating and sleeping. My productivity and overall happiness plummet when my routine goes off the rails, even for a few days. But you already know this. You’ve read the studies that back this up (ie. lack of exercise is also a massive financial loss; a whopping $67.5B worldwide annually). So why do we push it to the back burner? Working from home is an excellent opportunity to build exercise into your day. But just like work doesn’t have to be executed in an office, exercise doesn’t have to be done in a gym. I never guilted myself into a membership I wasn’t going to use. Instead, I run and or do P90X3; it’s 30 minutes a day. There’s no excuse, folks.

Schedule interactions

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To avoid hermit status, it’s not just a matter of going outside. It’s about going out to talk with people. Whether it’s a brief trip to the bank or grocery store, I consciously use my breaks to interact with others when I can’t do it at home. Otherwise, I would be mute for most of the day, start talking to myself, and you know where that could end…

Add ambiance

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I typically work best when there is a low buzz. The office is great for that. But home? Not so much. I sometimes turn on a fan, open the window or leave the TV on low volume. Turns out this dull and often unintelligible sound can boost your creativity and more. Who woulda thunk it?

“When it comes to sound, a little bit of noise, but not too much, can have a big effect on your productivity at work.” – Nora Young, CBC Spark

Take a shower

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For me, stepping into a shower is like stepping into a thinking booth. I don’t know if it’s the heat, the water or the unplugged nature of the experience, but there’s some mighty fine ideas that often come out of this mind-clearing session; something you can definitely leverage at home but not the office.

The guilt trip

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Guilt isn’t just something your parents make you feel. I also find it can be a powerful motivational tool. Think of it this way: someone out there is working 12 hours at a hot humid fairground or a freezing arena or cleaning up the aftermath of a club while I sit in my air conditioned house typing. Sounds like a pretty good bargain, right? Now don’t forget it. 

Affirmations

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It’s one thing to read a quote. It’s another thing to see it in front of you and be reminded of its’ message throughout the entire day. When you have no one there to encourage you, why not encourage yourself? Throw up a sticky note on your desktop/laptop and remember why you’re busting your chops.

The Splash crew also threw in their tactics for effective at-home work:

Mady Krapez-Fewster

– Block off specific time frames throughout the day to dedicate to specific projects. It’ll help keep you focused and give you a self-imposed deadline that’ll prevent procrastination.

– Comfort is key, but make sure you still “get ready for the day.” Yes, that means no pyjamas.

Hamza Khan

– Try to avoid working in your bedroom.

– Don’t feel like you have to check e-mail/instant messaging incessantly to make up for the fact that you’re not in the office. If someone needs to reach you urgently, they’ll call (just keep your phone nearby)

Saurabh Munjal

– Communication is important. Keep communicating with your team members/manager about your work.

– Try to start your work at the same time while working from home.

Sam Porter

– Create a space that’s dedicated for work and keep it clean and clear of clutter.

– Set up a secondary space where you can still work but can sit in a different position. Your back and hips will thank you later.

– Need a change of scenery? Try working from a cafe. If it’s a good cafe, the environment can be motivating and not at all distracting. Plus, they have better coffee/tea/matcha than you have at home. Win-win.

– Working remotely in a different time zone? Stay organized by using a planner or make Google Calendar your best friend. Also, don’t wait to start your work day until it starts wherever your team is based. Start first thing, get loads done when there are no emails to distract you, and then get caught up when your offices overlap. Finish at a normal hour and live yo life!

– Take lunch breaks. It’s easy to not break during the day when you’re at home and there’s no one to talk to. Stop, watch a show or something and then come back to it. You deserve it.