Whether you just got the OK to work remotely or have been forced into working remotely due to nasty weather conditions, working from home takes discipline and focus.  Here are 5 tips to keep you on track if you’re working remotely for a day, or for the long haul.

#1 Don’t Actually Work From “Home”

Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that you are confined to the walls of your apartment or home, it means that you are working remotely. If you don’t need to be home because of childcare issues or due to inclement weather, then you may find your focus better in a coffee shop or shared public space where others are on their computers, doing the same. In NYC, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center offers free WiFi and houses a small coffee shop. It’s a great place to feel like you’re part of a working community, but still operate as a remote worker. You’ll avoid the pitfalls and distractions at home that can derail you from your work, but you’ll still reap the benefits of a more flexible schedule. You might also make some interesting connections while you’re at it!

#2 Time Block Your Tasks

It’s so easy to get distracted…that closet needs to be organized, the laundry is long overdue and you’ve been meaning to pay your bills for a week. While it’s completely possible to throw in a load of laundry between client calls, time blocking is an effective way to make sure you are only focusing on one task at a time. Blocking two hours at a time to focus on your work, with 15 min breaks in between to throw in laundry or walk the dog, will lead to greater productivity and less stress.

#3 Hold All of Your Calls

It’s a FACT that email notification pop-ups and ringing phones take our focus away from whatever project we’re working on. Letting all your calls go to voicemail and turning off your email notifications will allow you to finish tasks without interruption. Block off dedicated time to return calls and emails in bulk or… prioritize them as part of what you do in the 15 minute breaks you give yourself every 2 hours. You’ll save a lot of time moving back and forth between screens and systems. *This tip works well when you’re in the office too!

#4 Claim Your Space

If you’re able to work from home on a regular basis, having a dedicated workspace is critical. Having a consistent workspace allows you to leave things in place so you can pick up right where you left off in the morning without scrambling to find your notes from the day before or wasting time getting set up and settled in.

#5 Get Dressed

The only time you should stay in your pjs on a normal work day is when you’re sick or taking a day off. You don’t need to dress UP but you do need to get dressed. It’s much harder to get back into bed with your laptop in jeans, than if you’re still wearing sweats. Don’t fool yourself, workout gear and yoga pants are a close second to pajamas too. Wear something you’d feel comfortable being seen in if you’re asked to get on a last minute video conference…hair and makeup included!