More and more people are working from home thanks to the proliferation of collaboration tools and mobile computing. Having the flexibility to work remote is a nice perk -- as long as it doesn't prove too distracting to get your work done.
These six entrepreneurs share the first thing they do to minimize distractions and set themselves up for success outside of the familiar office environment.
Follow your routine.
Even if working from home isn't part of your normal routine, it doesn't have to disrupt every other aspect of your workday. Scott Baxter, founder and CEO of golf lesson directory PlayYourCourse, maintains positive momentum by getting ready as if he were heading into the office.
"When working from home, the key to success is the same routine that makes you successful every other day. Set an alarm, shower and eat breakfast. Don't sleep in and don't work in your pajamas," he says. "When it's time to 'head to the office,' make sure you set up shop in a room with minimal distractions and behave the same way you would at the office."
Turn on airplane mode.
Sweta Patel, founder of startup agency Silicon Valley Startup Marketing, recognizes that technology distractions are hard to avoid -- especially with your smartphone right at your fingertips. She uses airplane mode as a clever hack to block incoming calls and texts during productive sessions.
"Technology is our biggest distraction, but we still need it to communicate. I minimize distractions and stay on target by putting my phone on airplane mode," says Patel. "This helps me get my work done and take action. If I decide to take a five-minute break, I can turn airplane mode off."
Organize your workspace.
"Nothing is more distracting than a cluttered or dirty work environment," says Bryce Welker, founder and CEO of CPA review site CPA Exam Guy. Decluttering your home office clears your mind so that you can focus on the tasks on hand -- not the dishes in the sink.
"When I'm working from home, the last thing I want on my mind is what chores I need to get done. In order to combat that, I make sure that my work environment is spotless and well organized," he says. "This has the added benefit of engaging me physically, which provides an energy boost to keep me motivated."
Get off the couch.
You sit on your couch to watch television and unwind, not to have a productive eight-hour workday. That's why Luke Liu, CEO of digital curriculum provider Albert, makes an effort to work from a desk at home to prevent his mind from slipping into relaxation mode.
"Every time I try to be productive from my couch, I end up distracting myself. I find myself much more productive if I work at a desk instead," he says. "I think it's subconscious. Sitting back on a couch with a computer in your lap mimics relaxing personal time, and your actions will follow this mental state even if you had good intentions."
Schedule in 'watercooler' time.
Dalia MacPhee, CEO of clothing brand DALIA MACPHEE, knows that working from the quiet of your own home is a good opportunity to tackle a heavy workload -- but the sustained solitude can also lead to burnout. She recommends taking regular breaks to keep the fatigue at bay.
"One of the reasons a lot of people struggle with productively when working from home is that they find it difficult to sustain long hours of intense work alone. On the days I work from home, I make a point to allow for five to 20 minutes of 'watercooler' time per hour," she says. "This may mean calling a friend, checking personal social media, taking a walk or any sort of mental break to recharge."
Get out of the house.
"Believe it or not, my working from home is actually not at home," says Jon Clark, founder and CEO of full-service internet marketing agency Fuze SEO, LLC. Heading to a local coffee shop is a great alternative that helps you resist the temptation of staying in your pajamas.
"I prefer to work out of coffee shops and coworking spaces," he says. "By getting out of the house, I minimize distractions, establish working hours for myself and maintain the daily routine of showering and dressing as if I'm going to the office."