Working from home is not something that every business owner or contractor can do – in fact, most people struggle with the mere concept of it. When someone asks me what I do for work, I explain that I own and operate a digital marketing business from home. 90% of the time I get the same reaction: “Oh, I couldn’t do that!”

You know what – I didn’t think I could either. But I worked at it… hard. Working from home takes drive, motivation and… well, more motivation. Without it, it’s likely you’ll end up spending your work days getting out of bed at 11am, binging on Netflix and not getting anywhere near as much work done as you’d planned to at the start of the week.

If you’re considering building a business or contracting out work from home, it’s important to get into the right mind-set beforehand. Here are my top 3 suggestions for keeping your sanity while working from home:

1. Routine, routine, routine

If you’re not the type of person to follow a set routine during your work week, now is the time to start. Without any sort of routine, I guarantee you’ll be sleeping in most days, taking 2 hour long lunch breaks and losing many, many hours of productive work time.

I’ve found that the best way to get stuck into a structured routine is to set an alarm on your phone. Here’s what mine looks like (keep in mind I only work part time):

8:00am – Wake up and get ready (breakfast, get dressed etc)
9:00am – Work day begins
12:00pm – Lunch break
1:00pm – Back into work
3:30pm – Work day finishes

Before I had my set routine, I found myself taking several long breaks during the day.  When I didn’t have an allocated break for lunch, I found my “quick food breaks” were just a perfect opportunity to distract myself from working. And speaking of distractions…

2. Get rid of those distractions

For you it may be the television, Snapchat or Xbox – for me, it was Facebook. We all have that one thing that is bound to distract us, mainly because we don’t have a boss looking over our shoulder making sure we are productive throughout the day.

You can ensure that your work week is as productive as possible by taking away the temptation to be distracted.

Previously, I had my personal Facebook page permanently pinned to the top of my browser – it’s like I was asking to be distracted! It was too easy to flick between the work I was doing and aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, meaning I was losing (possibly) hours of productive weekly work time.

The solution? I made my laptop a “personal FB free zone”. As I manage a number of business Facebook accounts, I set up a separate profile that was dedicated solely to managing business pages. The only way I can access my personal page is on my phone – which I now only use during my lunch break and before/after work.

You can also use this distraction as a “reward” of sorts. For example; for every 2 hours of work you do, reward yourself with ten minutes of television.

3. Get out of the house!

Living and working from home can easily transform you into a bit of a hermit crab. Unless you have reason to leave the house, you may wake up one day to realize you haven’t left your home in 4 days and the only person you’ve come into contact with was the local pizza delivery guy.

Ideally, it’s important to try and get out of the house at least once a day. Personally, this wasn’t hard for me to do – as I dog owner, I know my furry friend needs to be exercised at least once a day, so I use this as my opportunity to get out of the house.

For you, it could be a visit to the gym, going for a walk on the beach or visiting a friend on your lunch break. Whatever it is, make sure you stick with it and ensure you’re doing it regularly. Setting a reminder on your phone is a great way to get stuck into the habit.