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13 Ways to Stay Focused When Working From Home 

13 Ways to Stay Focused When Working From Home 

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Working from home has a lot of benefits, including a remarkably short commute and easy access to your favorite snacks. But a comfortable environment can also be distracting, which can hurt your productivity. So how do you stay focused?

We asked 13 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council this question:

Q. What’s your top productivity tip for entrepreneurs who run businesses from home?

1. Establish a Dedicated Work Space

You have to be very disciplined to work from home. If you don’t maintain a very strict schedule, you can find yourself becoming easily distracted, completely ruining your productivity. It helps to have a dedicated workspace, rather than sitting in front of the TV with your laptop. Create a home office that mimics a real office and have set hours that you follow daily. —Jonathan LongSexy Smile Kit

2. Get in the Zone

We’re all human, and we all have specific things that can help put us in the zone. For me, I have to be in a cool room with great sunlight and a black Starbucks coffee. Then I put on some great instrumentals from YouTube, make sure there are no distractions, set a timed goal for each task, and I’m ready to go. —Russell KommereSoftware Associates Inc.

3. Have Set Working Hours

While working a set number of hours is not a sign of productivity, it is a structure that helps many entrepreneurs balance work and home life. I spend two months every summer working from home. Being clear about my working hours keeps me focused and helps my kids know when I’m not available to play with them, which minimizes interruptions. —Mamie Kanfer StewartMeeteor

4. Leverage Your Mental Prime Time

Identify when you are the most productive, and focus on the tasks that are the highest priority to complete during that time. To do so, eliminate distractions—such as calls and emails—and instead use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most important tasks. —Doug BendBend Law Group, PC

5. Create Clear Separation

The trick to productivity is to get focused. In my home, this meant creating a clear cognitive gap between where I live, hang out, eat and play from the space I tackle to-do lists from. At first, it was hard to avoid taking meals to my desk or watching an episode of VICE as a break, but after taking responsibility for this separation of work and home, my results started to accelerate. —Jasnik ParmarLawn Guru

6. Use a Time Tracking Tool

When I first started working from home, time just seemed to melt away, which had never happened when I worked in an office. I just lost track somehow of where my time went. That’s when I got a time tracking tool that works in the background on my computer and accounts for what I’m doing. It’s been helpful to see where I am and what I need to change to improve productivity. —Zach BinderIpseity, Inc

7. Make Time to Get Out

I can attest that getting outside will happen a lot less when you’re in the comfort of your own home rather than in an office, but I’ve found that my best ideas and inspirations come when I’m experiencing new environments. Studies have found that even taking an outdoor walk can fire up new synapses to boost your creativity and inspiration. You need to make this a concerted effort. —Elle KaplanLexION Capital

8. Dress for Success

Even if you work from home, it is incredibly important to make sure you still dress up as if you were going into the office. Wearing the right clothes will have a surprising effect on your motivation and will keep you in a professional mindset. —Christopher SwenorEast Coast Product

9. Know the Value of Time

You have to figure out what eats up your time, and cut out all unnecessary activities. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand the value of time, spending it on tasks that only you can do. Delegate the things that you’re not really good at, so you can focus on more important tasks. —Daisy JingBanish

10. Keep the Phone on a Leash

I’ve recently started to control my phone a lot more strictly to great productive effect. It stays face down and silent when I’ve scheduled work from home, and I only turn it up during designated times. It’s a lot harder for me to get distracted at home with this system in place. —Adam SteeleLoganix

11. Practice the Pomodoro Technique

Work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. This time management philosophy is called The Pomodoro Technique and can help you be more productive in your work day, especially if you’re working from home and are surrounded by potential distractions. Using the five-minute break to take a walk outside or get up and move around has really helped me and my team make the most of our days. —Matt HuncklerPowderkeg

12. Create a Shutdown Ritual

For many work-from-home entrepreneurs, work bleeds into all hours of the day (and night). Rather than leaving an office and leaving work behind, it’s always with you. Counterintuitively, this leads to less productivity because you’re often half working. Creating a shutdown ritual for the end of the day allows you to focus deeply during work hours and recharge effectively the rest of the time. —Zach ObrontBook in a Box

13. ‘Game On, Game Off’—Just Like in Wayne’s World

The principle works like this: When you’re working, work; when you’re not, don’t. You’ll need to set ground rules for what you will or will not do while working at home. This could include social media, email, or chores. For home stuff, designate a time for it—whether it’s laundry, lunch or taking the kids to and from school—then put it in your schedule and follow it fanatically. —Dan GoldenBFO (Be Found Online)

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