Working from your home is seen by many as heaven. The ability to choose your own hours, to work in your PJs, and other such benefits are, for many, very appealing reasons to work from home. However, the truth is that having this type of a choice may hinder your productivity if you do not efficiently manage these benefits and develop a structured work day. Thankfully, if you've discovered you have poor work habits, making some simplistic changes to your day-to-day routine may fully alter your mind-set and assist in turning your home office into a productive and healthy work place environment.

Rise and get dressed

While an oft-cited advantage of working from home is that you're able to work in your PJs or your sweats, the truth is, not getting ready for your day and skipping regular rising routines will make your body and mind retain that lazy, just-woke-up feeling that will hurt your professionalism, self-esteem, and productivity. Getting into the habit of dressing yourself for the day as if you were traveling away from home to work will force you into a routine that informs your body that it is time to rise and be in work mode.

Set your work hours

Being able to set your own work hours is a true benefit of working from home, yet at the same time the truth is that it'll become simple to forego a structure and then take an "I will do it when I get to it" approach to work that may cause wasted time, missed deadlines, and missed opportunities. Therefore, rather than taking this approach, you must implement a structure of work hours that is comfortable for you and that respects and is customized around the times when you're most productive. It's important, because if you schedule a 9-to-5 work day when you know you aren't at your most productive within that time, you're working against yourself, ultimately leading you to take longer to perform tasks and produce work that isn't your best. Therefore, whether you work better in the evening, at midday, or at dawn, find out your most productive work hours and stick with them, being sure to integrate leisure time and breaks within your work day, as well.

Work within a productive space

Working from your home means you will have control over where you work. Inside the living room, garage, in bed, on the sofa, or at a coffee shop in your area all are possible workspaces. While these all might sound good, the best advice to becoming productive includes creating a routine work space that is organized and arranged in a way which supports your productivity. Find an area away from distractions like the television and comfy furniture, and opt instead for an area that has great lighting and maybe a window seat with a view of the outside. Keeping your work space de-cluttered and organized also will go a long way in assisting your productivity, because, if you know where all things are, you won't waste time attempting to locate the things you have to have.

Make to-do lists

Getting a visual list of the activities you need to take care of for that day may assist in boosting your productivity. One important reason for keeping a checklist of to-do's includes the organization, as having tasks within a list will make everything more manageable. Viewing a concise outline of your uncompleted and completed activities instead of having them whizzing around in your mind helps you feel organized, remain mentally focused, and have the ability to take every task in turn. When progressing through the to-do list you also will feel a sense of accomplishment and progress that may be missed while rushing from one activity to another one. The positivity you'll feel from seeing that you're making progress also will assist in motivating you to keep moving forward instead of feeling overwhelmed.

Take consistent breaks

Getting out of the house at consistent intervals is critical. By leaving the desk for a short time every 60 to 90 minutes, it'll give you a change of scenery that allows your mind to relax and become refreshed, and prepared for when you come back. Even a simple walk to a shop or getting a cup of coffee and sitting in a garden will be enough to recharge.

Published on: Dec 24, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.