Working from home can be awesome. You avoid traffic, Monday morning meetings and most importantly you can go sans pants all day long if that's your thing.  

5 habits of efficient remote workers

But how do you stay focused and on task when your dog would rather take you to the beach? How do you stay inspired without the bubbling undercurrent of smart and sassy co-workers?

Efficient remote workers follow 5 key habits to maintain productivity and stay focused:

1. Embrace the chaos

Dog chewed up your shoe? Or your toddler helped out by making a blueberry smoothie, blender lid optional? Not a problem.

The trick to being productive while working from home is going with the flow, and embracing the chaos. Your office, no matter how separate from your home is still situated amongst those things and people that make your life complete. Learning to accept that there will be distractions is part and parcel of the situation.

It’s not the distractions that will eat up your time, it’s how you deal with them.

Remember to stop and assess whether this is a right now situation or something for later. The blender? Probably something that requires immediate attention. That pile of washing staring at you? Not so much. Make your space work for you, go with the flow and enjoy being a part of all the things that make you whole, just not all at once.

2. Make space

It’s tough to make the shift mentally from your flannel jammies to your laptop but creating mental and even better, physical space between your personal life and your work life is a sure-fire way to ensure you remain engaged and productive in your work day, no matter where you work from.

Create a plan every morning that enables you to “move” into your work space. This may be something as simple as going to the same table each day, or even simply shutting down your personal email tab on your laptop and opening your work one. This shift tells your brain and your body that you are in work mode. 

Having a dedicated space, whether mental or physical then allows you to “leave” work for the day once you have finished, ensuring that you can switch off and move into your next role, whether it’s mum, partner, dog-walker or marathon runner.

3. Train your brain

Having the flexibility to work from home allows us to create an awesome work/life blend and hopefully maintain a balance in our lives. To make the most of this get into a routine and stick to it. Incorporating simple rituals or routines into your schedule will also help to move your head out of one role and into another. Get to your desk at the same time each morning and clock out each night at roughly the same time.

Making a schedule – and sticking to it – will train your brain to know what’s next.

It’s important to make sure you have processes and plans set in place to reach your goals and meet your targets and if you are managing a remote team it’s even more important to make sure expectations and objectives are clearly communicated and tracked.

4. Relax!

Self-care is a major consideration when working from home, especially if you have other family members to think about in your daily routine.

Set yourself up with mini goals and make sure you take micro breaks after you reach each one. Set a timer, or even use tools like the Pomodora technique to make sure you stay on track. Create a list of small and manageable activities that you can choose from to complete during your micro breaks. This can be anything from enjoying a pot of herbal tea to running the dog at the beach. Write this list out and keep it somewhere you can see it!

5. Keep it interesting

Working from home doesn’t have to mean you stay in one place at all times. Highly productive remote workers switch up their surroundings.

You have been gifted the freedom and flexibility of not having to be present at an office from 9-5. Use it! Choose a cafe, library or co-working space that inspires you.

It’s amazing what a good latte and some company will do for your spirits and productivity.

If it’s not possible to physically change locations then try playing music or even tuning in your TV to a documentary-style channel. The hum of background noise is often enough to create an ambience that will improve your mood and shift your gears.

Maintaining efficiency as a remote worker requires some effort and forethought, but by using these simple hacks remote workers can be even more productive than their office-bound friends.

An abbreviated version of this article was originally posted in reply to a question on keeping productive while working remotely, on Stuff.