I'm really (really) fortunate to have a job where I work from home. Aside from having no commute and never having to set an alarm clock (since the kid wakes up at 6am daily), working from home is a luxury that can't be overlooked. However, many people have asked me how I'm able to be productive throughout the day without being distracted by my environment and my answer is that it's much easier than what people think. It's a matter of knowing yourself, scheduling accordingly, and creating a routine that will drive you to be productive.
Start your day with something that gets you outside of the house: If you'll be in your home the entire day, create some separation and re-charge yourself every morning by working out or grabbing coffee at your local shop. While it's easy to roll out of bed and jump on your computer, don't make work the first and last thing you think about daily. Take yourself outside and spend time away before you jump start your work day.
Shower, get dressed and do your makeup (even if you're not going anywhere): It's so easy to throw on your lazy gear, especially if you don't have meetings, and get straight to work. However, there's a lot to be said about how productive you feel once you're showered and dressed - even when you're not going anywhere. Make everyday feel like you're going outside of your home office, even if you have no intention to.
Designate a work space or office: Create a work space that is different from the place you spend the most time in at home. Designating a different space will make you feel like you're not spending every single hour of your day at home.
Carve out time for a lunch break: At an office, we try to use our lunch hour to remove ourselves from work and getting burnt out. It's not any different if you work from home. Create a lunch hour and challenge yourself to step away from your computer for 20 minutes. Use that time to eat in peace or run a quick errand - whatever you need to break up your day.
Meet friends for coffee or lunch on the weekly: I'm fortunate that I have friends who also work from home and have the flexibility to meet for lunch. Not having co-workers around makes you more productive, but less connected. Try to schedule one lunch or coffee date every week to ensure you're not isolating yourself from society.
Find an alternate location to work from outside of home: Work days with no meetings or conference calls make for perfect days to work at a local restaurant, coffee shop or tea house. Remember, working from home removes you from daily interaction with people. Take the time to be surrounded by others on days where you have a load of emails or presentations to work on.
Do laundry, dishes and dinner prep over the weekend: One of the biggest distractions is cleaning. Just because you work from home, doesn't mean you should put off your weekend chores for time during the week. Do all your normal housework on the weekend or at night to ensure you don't take time away from your work week.
Have a distinct start and end time to your work day: While I have an automatic daily alarm clock, be sure to set up a schedule as if you do go to an office everyday. Have a time that you start your day and target an end time daily. This will help you create a distinct difference between the work day and your (much needed) personal time.
Clean up your work space at the end of the day. Clutter is much more noticeable when you work from home and a messy home can be a distraction from your work. At the end of your work day, put away all paperwork, shut down your computer and clean up around your work space to make sure you start your next day the right way.
End your day the same way you started: Even if it's a 5 minute walk or drive to the market, remove yourself from your home to remind yourself that your work is done. It's easy to work until you go to bed, but the last thing I want to do is stress about work before I try to sleep. Take some time to relax and calm your mind from the stresses of your day!