Everyone dreams and fantasizes about being able to work from their home, even if only as a part-time escape from the office. Sleeping in every day, living in your sweatpants, taking three-hour lunches… Ah, the life! Well friend, slam on the brakes! Because while that is how your friends who ‘work for the man’ may envision your life as a part-time-stay-at-home-er, that is a quick recipe for FAILURE. Let’s take it back to the basics for now. While there are many useful tips to work remotely AND be productive, I’ll save those for a future post. Instead, I’d like to hammer home three points, all of which are absolutely necessary for you to successfully work from home (and make all your friends jealous).

ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS

This extends beyond having a labeled filing system. While that’s a great start, you need to learn to be organized in all aspects of your life. Creating schedules, juggling multiple deadlines, knowing where things are in your home office so you are prepared, the list goes on. Having a dedicated space is great and will really help you create good systems that are easy to navigate. But we aren’t all so lucky, some of us have to use the dining table as our home office. And for those of us who aren’t so lucky (and in actuality, all of us regardless!) should pick up and religiously read a copy of David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’.

PEACE AND QUIET

There’s a reason most offices don’t let you bring your dogs and babies to work. Barking and crying do not a productive day make! (Unless you are a Mommy blogger, which in that case you may just have fodder for a future post.) You must create a space free of distractions and noise, you know, a place of peace! Try to avoid the kitchen counter or table, although the dishwasher humming and whirring can arguably be white noise.

Choose a place where you can figuratively and literally block out the noise and find some peace in order to get through your daily tasks.

WORK ETHIC

Here’s another biggie, because without it all the peace and quiet in the world won’t get you anywhere! One of the biggest traps people who work from home fall into is pushing things off because they aren’t supervised. They are in a place they are very comfortable, and it’s easy to get lazy. Practice discipline, and if you lack it, it’s time to start listening to motivational talks!

Some practical tips that have helped me are to, create a daily schedule, leave the tv and Netflix off during working hours, stop considering obsessively checking emails ‘productive time’, and don’t let friends bribe you into playing hooky because you’re the boss’. But I won’t tell if every great once and awhile you take the afternoon off to go catch a movie with a friend, after all, there have to be some perks to working from home!

There you have it, homework! Find a way to get a hang of these three things and you will be well on your way. And now and again if you want to take a morning conference call in your pajamas, I won’t tell.