Working from home is impossible. Well, it’s not, but it is if you’re a normal human being with average wants, needs, and desires. Take the refrigerator, for example. How is anybody on this planet supposed to ignore a box filled with tasty goodies that’s never more than about a 15-20 second march away from any point in your home or garden. Ignoring the fridge alone takes grit and determination. Then there’s the TV. All those streaming services you pay for aren’t going to watch themselves. And the internet. And the chat group. And all that house work like the washing and ironing and cleaning. But no. We’re going to ignore all of that and get some work done, we tell ourselves. 10 minutes later, you’ve got a sandwich in each hand while the coffee machine purrs away and you browse 12 apps at a time and your favourite movie flickers to life on the TV. We’re all weak. We need help.

Get set up for success

You’re a mess. You know how I know you’re a mess? Because we all are. Given half a chance we become instantly distracted and find ANYTHING else to do other than the task at hand. That’s why getting things done hinges on your home office space being set up and stocked for a distraction-less parade of productivity. Does it get cold in there? Buy a heater. Do you find yourself getting distracted by the window behind you? Face the window and glance up then carry on. Print a lot of work? Stock up on ink – you don’t want to be slowed down by a low ink light (see for ideas). If your chair is too small and your desk is too high and you need double screens but you only have one, sort it out. Getting set up for success is all about removing distractions.

Timed rewards

Your home office is going to be awfully dull if you’ve removed all distractions, as suggested above. That’s why this tip is all about admitting you need to take little breaks (but try to avoid online blackholes that will waste time). Keep your phone to hand and time yourself between picking it up. Checking social media only once every half an hour is a great way to pace your day, giving yourself 30-minute slots of productivity between rewarding yourself with two minutes of mindless gossip and memes. Sticking to this rule is actually easier than you think, and boosts your work rate.