The freedom that comes with working from home is a double-edged sword. All of your friends think you're living the dream because you don't have a boss to report to, and you can set your own hours, but you know there's a lot more to do it than that. There are days when you procrastinate for too long and then end up working until the middle of the night. There are also days where you don't know where to start, and you have nobody to turn to for advice. Working from home can be liberating, but it can also be frightening and stressful.

Whether you work from home full time or part-time, it's something we're all going to have to get used to. It's thought that almost three-quarters of the entire world's professional workforce work from home at least once a week, and that number is likely to increase in the future. The advent of working via the internet and video conference calls has meant that we don't need to be in the office to work anymore so long as we're disciplined and we have a reliable connection at home, so keeping the workforce at home means lower overheads for employers and a more flexible schedule for employees. It's the way of the future.

Regardless of whether you work from home as a self-employed freelancer, or you’re paid to stay at home by your employer, we could all use some motivational tips to keep us focused from time to time - so here are a few reliable ways of getting on top of your working groove!

Dress for the Office

This is the very first trap that people who work from home regularly fall into. You don’t have to dress to impress anybody, so why get dressed properly at all? If nobody’s going to see you all day, there’s a temptation just to sit in your dressing gown in front of the computer and go about your work in an extreme dressed-down state. It might feel comfortable, but it’s a mistake. Psychologically speaking, the clothes you wear have a major impact on the way you think and act. If you dress like you're half asleep, you'll also work like you'll half asleep. The reverse is also true - if you dress like you have to go into the office, you're likely to work more diligently. You don't have to go as far as wearing your best suit or dress, but at least wear clothes that would be acceptable to leave the house in.

Stay Out Of the Bedroom

We can't stress this enough. This is another tip that has roots in psychology, and yet it's a pitfall many of us fall into. If you can prop yourself up comfortably in bed with your laptop of your knees, you could easily stay there and work spreadsheets and respond to emails all day. Just because you can doesn't mean that you should. Your bedroom is not an office. It's a place that your brain associates with sleep, and to try to turn it into a workspace will confuse your brain. Not only will you not get enough work done, but you'll also find it harder to sleep at night because the association with sleep has been damaged. Ideally, turn a spare room into your home into an office. If that isn't possible, get out of the bedroom and work in your front room, or the kitchen if you must. Anywhere but the bedroom!

Have A Reward System

We may not be conscious of it, but all of us have a mini 'reward system' when we're working in an office. It might be a five-minute stroll to talk to a colleague after completing a particularly difficult piece of work or the conversation we have with our co-workers during a lunch break. These are small pleasures that you have no access to when you're working from home, and so you need a small reward system to keep you motivated and happy when you're working hard. Your brain is conditioned to work a little like an online slots game when it comes to staying happy. If you keep playing games on UK slots site for long enough, you'll eventually win something. That's what keeps you happy, and keeps you playing. Similarly, if your brain repeats an activity for long enough, it expects a hit of dopamine or pleasure at some point as a reward for its labor. Whether it's a five-minute coffee break, a stroll outside, or a telephone conversation with a real person, build a mini reward into your day. Just avoid visiting actual online slots websites - you'll find them too distracting! While we're on the topic of distracting websites…

Block Your Own Internet Access

If you spent half of your working day in an office logged into Facebook, Twitter, or even a news website, you'd probably find yourself hauled into your employer's office for a disciplinary conversation in very short order. Nobody's there to discipline you at home, and so you have to be your own mean boss. Distracting websites will drain your time and motivation away faster than anything else. Various programs exist that allow you to block websites from your browser, meaning you couldn't log on to them even if you wanted to. It's advisable that you do this to ensure that you don't find yourself idly browsing somewhere, and then ending up stuck there for half an hour before you catch yourself and refocus on your work. You can even time-lock the websites so you can regain access to them at lunchtime, for example, or after your working day is over. If you can't trust yourself to keep away from them, deny yourself the option completely.

Stop When the Day Is Over

People who work in offices have a defined start and stop time. They either have a shift pattern assigned to them, or they arrive when the office opens and leave when it closes. Unfortunately for you, your home office neither opens nor closes - it's there all day, every day, and you can get trapped in it if you're not careful. It's frustrating not to complete everything you wanted to get done in a working day, but you probably wouldn't have the option of staying there for hours and finishing it if you were at your employer's office. When the working day is over, it's over, and you have to walk away. Anything that isn't done by that point has to wait until the following morning. If you consistently push yourself to work later and later, you'll be increasingly tired and resentful the following day, and the cycle will repeat itself. Be kind to yourself. Know when it's time to stop and shut the laptop down. You'll feel fresher and more energized the next day.

Author's Bio: 

Alex is a professional writer and digital marketing expert.