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For many trudging through the corporate grind every day, the thought often crosses their mind about the option to work from home. On the surface, what better gig? Get up after a full night’s rest, even if that isn’t until 10am; get after the tasks at hand in your PJs. If you’ve had a productive start to the day, kick off in the afternoon and relax.

It all sounds good, but for anyone who has given the stay at home workload a try; they quickly realize that even though you may be working from home, you are still working. In many instances, you are actually working harder to stay on task at home given so many distractions, that the hours seem longer. Here are a few tips to remain productive and allow working at home to be everything you dreamed it would when you were stuck in the office.

Stick to a Routine

Once you determine a routine that allows you to maximize your productivity, stick to it. In an office, you have to be at work at a certain time. Working from home should be no different. Also, and this is especially important if you have children who also stay home, once they reach an age of understanding, they need to understand when it is your work time and when you are available. This will curb the interruptions that are not life threatening to a minimum and allow you to do your best work.

Set Up An Office

Sitting on your couch with a laptop maybe very comfortable, but if you sink too far into your comfort zone, your productivity will inevitably suffer as well. By having a home office, or a space in a room dedicated to work, you will know when you are there, it is time to get things done. This will allow you to mentally prepare for the work at hand and come prepared to do it every day.

Make Your Office Welcoming

This is not to say you should sit upright on uncomfortable furniture. Invest in a comfortable, ergonomically correct chair, and set up your office area in a manner that will foster good work techniques. Use warm colors to allow you to relax, and set up your desk in a manner where you have easy access to everything you may need at your fingertips. Do what works best for you to make it personal.

Set Break Times

Because you are working from home, you will be your own boss when it comes to taking breaks and lunches. This flexibility is great, so long as you remember not to take advantage of it, and do not let it take advantage of you. Make sure you take breaks as you need them, but just like within an office, do not take longer breaks than you normally would in that environment. A good rule to follow when striving for optimum productivity is to take a five-minute break every hour. When you do, get up from your office area and leave. This will allow you to solidify psychologically that you are indeed breaking from the work you are doing.

These are simply four things one can do to ensure both success and work/life balance are maintained when working from home. A quick search of the Internet will show you others as well. Remember, working from home can be as rewarding as it sounds so long as you maintain good discipline in your approach to it. By following some of the steps above and turning them into good habits, you will find instilling that discipline will become easier and easier.

Emma Martin is an avid garage sales fan, regularly scouring her city for unique finds and great deals. Weirdest thing she ever bought at a yard sale: a dinner plate with George W. Bush’s picture covering it. She is a content contributor for Yard Sale Search.