We've heard this advice over and over again--from Richard Branson, from a Stanford professor, from--well, everyone: If you want to be more successful and happier, work from home.

With that in mind, I asked people who work from home now to give me their best tips. How do you overcome the loneliness factor? How do you stay close with colleagues when you work remotely? How do you set up your space?

I got hundreds of good replies. Here are 17 of the best of them. (We'll revisit this with more tips in future columns. If you have ideas to suggest, let us know.)

1. Track your time.

"Track all of your time (I like the free version of Toggl). This not only keeps you on task, but you can easily see where your time is going... and if that's where you want it to go!"

--Jacqueline Fisch, writer and writing coach

2. Get fresh air.

"Take walks outside in the middle of the day. That vitamin D can really help give you a midday boost. ... [E]ndorphins are released, altering your perception of pain. Long story short, this helps you stay happier for longer."

--Katrina Dene, communications manager at HackerOne

3. Vary your location.

"Pack up your laptop and head to your local coffee or tea shop. One of my favorite places to go is a beautiful hotel lobby. Plus you have to get dressed to go out!"

--Meredith Liepelt, PR and marketing coach, Rich Life Marketing

4. Broaden your horizons.

"Spend 30 to 60 minutes per day reading things unrelated to your work. Whether it is a blog aggregator or a good book, you need to get away from your usual grind. ... It frees up the mind and allows you to come up with fresh ideas."

--Dan Salganik, co-founder of VisualFizz

5. Establish structure.

"Separate work and home, even when working from home. Have a designated area where you set up your laptop, get dressed as if you were headed into the office (minus the high heels), and work set hours."

--Michelle Renee, CEO of VERB Media Group

6. Establish boundaries.

"I put a 'Do not ring or knock' sign on my front door. I've had too many video conferences interrupted by solicitors. This works like a charm!"

--Tori Tait, director of content and community at The Grommet

7. Get out of your pajamas.

"The way you dress influences your performance. If you stay in your pajamas the whole day, you'll become sloppy and lazy, and this will reflect directly on your work."

--Gregory Golinski, digital marketing executive at YourParkingSpace

8. Keep yourself accountable.

"I use Asana to manage all of my client projects and communications. Every morning at 5 a.m., I receive an email that reminds what the projects are of the day. (I use Asana, love it, and am not paid to say any of this!)"

--Reena Goodwin, director of Facteur PR

9. Sync up your team's collaboration tools.

"Make sure that all of your team members use the same collaboration tools. ... [For example], Slack's integration with Google Drive means I get a message within Slack when a colleague leaves a comment in one of our shared Google Docs. This streamlines our work and bridges the distance gap."

--Lauren Maffeo, senior content analyst at GetApp, a Gartner company 

10. Adapt your environment, not yourself.

"The best part of working from home is that you can adapt your working environment to the task at hand. For example, for activities requiring multiple open documents and efficiency, you can stay at your workstation and work with two screens. However, for a task requiring creativity you can sit in your garden or in a more comfortable place within your home."

--Claire Robinson, travel guide author at ZigZag on Earth

11. Have interests outside the job.

"Get involved with something outside of the house. Going from a 9 to 5 in an office setting to being 100 percent responsible for your own time can very easily suck you in and consume you. Your business is your baby, and you want to be with it 24/7, but before you know it, you've gained 20 pounds and walking to the mailbox is your exercise for the day. I am involved with my daughter's Girl Scout troop, and it helps to keep me sane and socialized."

--Jason Panek, owner of Pampered Teacher

12. Stay active.

"If I begin to feel overwhelmed during the day I take a tip from my dad, a PGA teaching pro, and shake it off. I literally step away from the computer or phone and shake my hands, arms and shoulders. This provides a reset for your body, offering a quick way to get back on track."

--Tami Belt, chief storytelling officer, Blue Cube Marketing Solutions

13. Work when you're most productive.

"The trick is to proactively share times when you'll be on or offline with your team (and clients, if you have them). For example, if you work with a team on another continent that is six hours ahead of your own time zone, consider scheduling your meetings with them for the morning your time."

--Lauren Maffeo, senior content analyst at GetApp, a Gartner company

14. Automate your scheduling.

"I use Calendly--links to my Microsoft 365 calendar. I manage the system by listing days & times that I will allow clients to book calls with me. The system only offers times if my calendar is free. Some of my clients have even adopted the tool for their firms!"

--Kristen Schmidt, founder and president of RIA Oasis

15. Try blocking out your entire week.

"Many people like to time block their days, but it can also help to time block your entire week. ... One week is mostly dedicated to client work, and the next week is mostly dedicated to working on your own business (blog posts, marketing, finances, etc.). This can help you stay focused, so you're not having to switch from 'client mode' to 'admin mode' every day."

--Jess Freeman, owner of Jess Creatives

16. Set achievable weekly goals.

"Write down weekly goals on a dry-erase board that are achievable. Checking them off and then erasing them is very satisfying, and less stressful than staring at a huge goal."

--Meredith Jaeger, author, HarperCollins

17.  Keep networking.

"When you work from home, you can easily feel isolated ... Use free networking app Shapr to meet like-minded professionals who share your interests (disclosure: I am part of the team), or reach out to an old colleague to grab a drink."

--Ludovic Huraux, CEO of Shapr

Published on: Jan 15, 2018