Working from home might seem like a dream come true, but there are pitfalls to this major perk. When you’re at home, there are distractions that aren’t normally in a standard workplace. Family, pets and other personal responsibilities may take precedent over your career at times. It takes willpower and commitment to balance your home and career so that there’s money in the bank and happy, family members in the household. Discover a few professional tips that can keep you focused and happy for a long-term career.

Create a Solid Schedule

Your career cannot soar if you don’t have a scheduled week. Each worker will have a different schedule that’s based on your industry’s needs. You might have a busy morning with a relaxed afternoon. In many cases, your clients may work with you near the end of the day. Compare your daily work regimen to the personal responsibilities at home. Try to concentrate work into one part of the day while helping the kids with homework immediately after school, for instance.

Discuss Routines With Family

Once you’ve figured out a workable schedule, sit down with your family. They need to know how this schedule works. Constant interruptions cannot be tolerated, such as kids running in and out of your office. Ideally, set up a room that’s strictly for work. When everyone knows your schedule, they can steer clear of your office. Your career remains productive when you can wholly concentrate on the work at hand.

Reduce Environmental Distractions

Loud music, TV programs and other distractions are commonplace in any home. However, you have real work to be completed. Keep your office door shut. Ask your family to put their devices on a low volume. If you have a home phone, allow the family members to pick it up. Maintain a business line or cellphone so that your calls are always professional by nature. Your clients may not even know that you work out of a home because of the professional attitude that you exude.

Avoid Social Media

Although you may use some social-media accounts for career purposes, they’re largely time-wasting platforms otherwise. In general, avoid any check-ins with your social-media accounts. Concentrate on your work so that it can be done in the shortest amount of time possible. If you must check your social media for client purposes, dedicate one or two times a day to any correspondence. You can easily lose 20 or 30 minutes to social media by simply reading your feed.

Plan Out Email Times

Email is another distraction that takes up a lot of time. Check your email two to three times a day, but only for work-related correspondence. Some clients may take up time through email as well. Try to concisely answer the emails or politely hold them until a more appropriate time. Your main workload must take precedent during your daily schedule.

Take Real Breaks

You cannot work for three or four hours straight. The mind isn’t built to work at such intense levels. At some point, your mind will drift away from the work. Take periodic breaks every one to two hours. These breaks might be 10 or 15 minutes long. Be sure to make them true breaks where you aren’t checking email or other work-related items. Take a short walk, water the garden or perform another relaxing activity so that you can return to your work as fresh as possible.

Know When to Stop

It’s easy to work around the clock when the office is in your home. Your solid schedule must include strict starting and stopping times. When the workday is over, don’t return to your office. It’s time for your personal space. Enjoy family and friends so that you’re ready to go when work starts tomorrow.

There will be slow and busy periods in any career so try to fill in the gaps with chores. If you’re currently waiting on a client, wash the dishes or walk the dog. These tasks won’t be a burden later on when you need to take care of the client. By concentrating and prioritizing your work, you’ll be able to fit in almost everything as home and career become a simple, juggling act.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.

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