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When working from home

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Avoid these pitfalls

Working from home is the dream of many hard-working people. Who wouldn't want to work from the comfort of their own home without having to battle traffic, annoying co-workers or demanding bosses? While this scenario may seem ideal, it's important to keep a few things in mind in order to make the most of your time, talents and energy.

Work from home mom

1Keep to a schedule

It's easy to let the day slip away without getting anything done, but if you set certain hours for yourself -- just like you would at a corporate office -- you will be more productive. 

2Get outside

While keeping set hours is a good idea, you can go stir-crazy sitting in your house all day. In order to remain sane and keep in touch with the outside world, take time to go out to lunch, take a walk, meet a friend or run errands. Some people swear that by working a couple hours at a coffeeshop (and taking advantage of their free wi-fi) they get more done because of the constant buzz around them.

3Take the weekend off

Working from home can make you feel like you never get away from your work, but it's important that you do. Your computer and files may call to you, but don't feel guilty about taking the weekend off or stopping at 5:00pm like most other working stiffs.

4Get dressed

It's tempting to lounge in your pajamas all day, but taking a shower and getting dressed will help put you in the mindset of working, instead of lounging on the couch watching television. It has the added benefit of helping others believe that you're working and not just hanging out.

5Create a separate space

Setting aside a specific area in your house will definitely set a business tone. If you're able to use a room in your home for an office, you'll be less distracted by other things going on in your household. If a whole room isn't feasible, find a specific space you can utilize just for your business needs.

6Set up new accounts

Get a separate phone line and email account specifically for your home business. This will help keep you focused on the work at hand and limit distractions from personal calls or emails. Until you're ready for a distraction, that is -- and then you can check your personal email without fear of the boss catching you!

7Network

While it's nice to not have to work with certain people, you might miss the camaraderie of having co-workers. Try and find other people who are in your situation or are in the same line of work in order to increase your opportunities to socialize.

8Get a laptop

If you don't already have one, buying a laptop will enable you to take your work to the park or a coffee shop when you're tired of being couped up in the house. You can also then use it as a tax write off!

Ease into your new lifestyle

Working at home can be a great setup, as long as you know what you are getting yourself into and are able to effectively balance your home life with your work life. It will take a little time to get used to the different rhythm, but once you get into the swing of things, you'll never want to go back to everyday office life!

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