How to Work from Home Without Losing Your Mind, Part I

When I tell people I work from home, I often hear about how lucky I am and how they wish they could figure out how to do the same. While I feel fortunate to be able to work from home and for myself, it took me a while to get to a really good place with it. After working out of the house in an office for my whole career until three-plus ago, working from home was definitely an adjustment. Now that I've been doing it for a while, I think I've finally got it down.

Today I'm going to share some of the things that helped me go from liking my work-from-home life to loving it. These concern the physical aspects of working from home and next time, I'll cover other tips and tricks that can improve it. And if you're a work-from-homer, please share your advice for doing it successfully in the comments!

Getting a separate office space. In our apartment, my workspace was also our guest bedroom, extra closet area, music and hobby room and in view of the living room. I didn't like being able to see my work space while at play and my play space while at work because it made me feel like I should always be working. In our house, I have a separate office upstairs, which has been a total game-changer. I still do other stuff in there, like use my sewing machine, but it's visually separate from the rest of the house and when I go up there every day, it's work time. I try to rarely visit it on the weekends to keep the distinction between work and home life as much as possible.

Making your office a place you want to be. Working from home means you probably have more say in what your office looks and feels like than if you spent your days in cubicle-land. I have a sitting and standing option at my desk, plants to bring in some greenery and lots of photos and special trinkets around to remind me of loved ones, vacations and things that inspire me while I work. Having an office you love will make you want to work in it and enjoy your time there a lot more, so spend time personalizing it. I also keep my office neat and clean so when I go to work there, I can focus on the task at hand without getting distracted by piles of papers or yesterday's water glass. Keeping your office well-stocked with printer paper, pens you like and other tools of the trade will help keep you on track too.

Leaving the house. Working from home can be great, but sometimes it can make you feel a little stir-crazy. I try to schedule at least one thing per day that gives me a reason to leave the house. This could be a meeting or event, errands or appointment, it doesn't really matter. The point is to get out, interact with other people and change up your environment. Some people like to take their work with them and post up in cafes, which can be a good way to keep working while getting out (I used to do this a lot before I had a designated home workspace). And if you're looking for a way to get a nice break from work and get outside, I highly recommend taking a walk to relax, refresh and get the creative juices flowing.

Work-from-homers, what are your top tips, tricks and advice for successfully working from home without losing your mind?