Working from home can be a pain in the ass when you haven’t set the right routine for yourself just yet. Working at home can also be perfect when you know how to handle the freedom you’ve been given. Sometimes it is nice to work without co-workers, without a boss who’s watching your every move and without set work hours. You just have to know how to deal with it.

Learning how to handle the freedom of working at home is something most of us have to get used to. But it’s not impossible – you just need a bit of motivation to make your hours of working from home as productive as a day at the office would be.

So how to create a work routine that works for you? Let me just give you a couple of tips to start with.

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Wake up early

It is so tempting to stay in bed for a little while longer when you don’t have to go somewhere. As obvious as this tip is, it’s still an important one. Set your alarm at an early hour so you can get to work at a reasonable hour. Just as you would at the office.

It might be hard at first, but trust me: your body and mind will get used to these early hours quick enough, as long as you make it a standard.

Need a bit of motivation? Set your alarm clock at the same time as your roommate or partner has to wake up. Having breakfast together and saying goodmorning works very motivating – as well as someone who can get you out of bed when you can’t do it yourself!

Make an office at home

Without an actual work space, it’s going to be hard to get focused enough to get to work or to even start working in the first place – I agree, the couch is comfy. However, laying in bed or on the couch all day with your laptop on your lap is no way to start an at-home office, and you know it all to well.

So for that, you will need an office at home, to make sure you have a nice and comfortable place where you can sit all day without craving for your bed. It doesn’t have to be big, you can use a part of your dining room table or even the desk in your bedroom. Whatever works for you is fine, as long as it isn’t your couch!

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Set goals and deadlines

Even when I’m working at the office I can’t get in the flow of working without having proper goals and deadlines. So make sure you set yourself enough of these two in order to start working towards something. Goals and deadlines will help you to stay focused and hardworking rather than procrastinating.

Don’t have any specific deadlines? Start with changing the sentence ‘as soon as possible’ into a time and date. Making a promise to someone else immediately means you’ve made a promise to yourself too!

Separate private and work

Your workday will start off a lot slower when you walk to the fridge for some breakfast and go: ‘Crap, I need to do groceries today.’ and head off to the supermarket. You’ve immediately lost an hour or two that you could have easily spent working.

Things like doing groceries, cleaning and tidying, having lunch with a friend or watch a new Netflix series that just have gone live can easily form a distraction for you that will keep you off from working. So make sure that you plan these activities outside of ‘working hours’ to create a boundary for yourself.

You’ll start to notice right away that it’s more obvious to plan ‘private things’ into your ‘private time’ so you won’t get distracted when working. You won’t feel the need anymore to start cleaning when sat behind your desk, and during the weekends you’ll feel more relaxed because you’ve done all your work during weekdays already!

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Cut yourself some slack

Be honest: when you work at the office all day, you talk to your colleagues as well. You start your day at the coffee machine, you might have a lunchbreak that takes a bit too long and just before your workday is over you are getting a bit more distracted and it’s harder to get to work again.

So, don’t expect yourself to be able to concentrate for eight hours straight when you work from out home.. You don’t at the office anyway. It’s unhealthy even, to stare at your computer for eight hours in a row. So it’s ok to take a break once in a while, to take a walk after lunch and to scroll through your social feed every now and then.

Home doesn’t have to mean home

When I was a student I sometimes went to the library or stayed at school a little while longer to do what I had to do. Being in a place where I couldn’t get distracted by a tv, a magazine or anything personal around me actually, was the perfect solution to get my concentration back!

So the same goes for you: home doesn’t have to mean home. You can easily enough walk to a café with wifi and work from out there, or go to the library as well!