Being able to work at home for some can actually be a dream come true, something that really can make a person feel independent and successful. However; as much as the work at home job can give you freedoms not experienced on a job away from home, it can also come with a few pitfalls that can turn into distractions that can really mess around with your ability to be productive. Some things can even cause you to go a little bit crazy if you don't learn how to focus on the job at hand.
Once you know you are going to be working at home one of the best things you can do for yourself it to sit down and make out a routine for yourself. Once you have a routine down you need to make sure you follow it or that was just a waste of your time figuring out the routine. You need to be able to treat the job you have working from home no different than if you were doing the job elsewhere. You need to have a start time, and stick to it. You need to have a stop time and try to stick to that as well. You will need as much consistency as you possibly can get in order to not lose your mind in the process. All the distractions of home are not what you would be dealing with if you were working somewhere else. You need to be able to keep the kids, the spouse, your chores all at bay when you are trying to get your work done.
You need breaks. Just because you work from home does not mean you are excluded from taking breaks. You need breaks so that you can catch your breath and be able to focus again on the tasks at hand. Just like a job away from home, you should have scheduled breaks, so make sure that you include breaks in that routine you sat down and wrote. If you don't take breaks, your productivity is going to suffer as the day wears on. Take several 10 minute breaks during your work day schedule. You have no one to answer to when you take your breaks so it should be easier for you to do so.
Do your best to try and avoid the TV. Just like some infectious disease if you have the TV on while you are working, that boob tube of yours will suck the creative juices right out of your brain. If you must have something on in the background, make it some of your favorite music and not your favorite daytime soap. Record the thing and watch it later.
Make sure that all of your family members and friends know you are on a schedule. Even if you are single there is going to be someone you know that your work schedule is going to affect so make sure that you let them know you care but that just because you work at home does not give them free license to your time and attention. They need to take what you are doing seriously and that it is no different than if you were working away from home. Make them understand that they would not be bothering you at work with silly things if you were in a “real” office and that they need to respect your home office no differently than one away from home. Whatever you do, don't wait to explain this to them once it becomes a problem, it needs to be addressed prior to you even starting your new job. Remember when you are working at home, you are the boss so don't be afraid to set down the law and tell them you are working at the moment and you can't be bothered unless it's a true emergency.
If you already have all the equipment that you need to do your work effectively then you are pretty much set to start. You don't even really need a separate room, although it's better, but you can find some space in your house that will work as your office work area. Make sure to try different spots until you find the one that you feel most comfortable with. Whatever your needs are try to accommodate them, you need to have a space that truly feels like it is yours and only yours.
When taking a break, make sure to utilize one or two of those breaks to get yourself outside. This is necessary to stave off that “stir crazy” feeling you might start getting after working inside day after day. You don't even have to leave your home, step outside onto the patio or your backyard and just enjoy the sounds and smells of your garden. Take a short walk around the block if you want, anything to break up the day. Being behind four walls day after day, week after week could even end up causing you anxiety. So get outdoors at least once a day.
Make sure that the things you need to do around the house are all done each day before you start the next day's work. The last thing you want to be doing while you are working is worrying about all of the different chores you need to get done. This is one of the biggest things that will kill your focus on your job.
Most importantly enjoy the job you have and the opportunity to be able to work at home. Be sure to take advantage of all of the perks of working at home, play your favorite music, pet your dog or cat, take a break and call a friend or your spouse, make your work schedule fit you and your lifestyle. Have fun, it will be worth it.