Having been working from home for nearly 5 years, I’ve certainly found what does and does not work when it comes to working in such an environment. Of course, everyone is different and chooses to work in a way that suits them.

Get planning!

Here are my favourite 8 tips for increased productivity and a happy, healthy working life.

1. Schedule. Each Friday, I plan out my following week, ensuring my work routine fits around doing my horse, Ollie. I look at the weather in advance to try and plan times to ride (obviously you have to be flexible, a 7 day weather forecast is never as true as it thinks!) I set time slots for particular clients and particular tasks, ensuring I am vigilant and stick to them. It’s important to always allow time at the start and end of the day for emails, to catch up on social media and anything that may need seeing to as a matter of urgency.

2. Biscuits. Biscuits are an essential part of a productive day in the home office. As I’m sure we’ve all discovered, it’s far too easy to have ‘accidentally’ and rather suddenly, eaten a whole pack. Allow yourself a treat (or 3, in the case of biscuits) a day, to keep yourself sane and as a reward for sticking to your schedule.

3. Fresh air. When running your own business from home, it’s all too easy to get carried away and realise you’ve spent 12 hours at your desk without stepping away for a breath of fresh air. I’m fortunate in that having a horse means I get to go and do him twice a day and having a dog ensures lunchtime walkies; giving myself time outdoors, exercise and fresh air. If you don’t have a horse or dog to walk, ensure you go out for a half an hour walk at lunchtime. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon.

4. Drink lots of water. Sounds simple, but again, it’s something that can easily be forgotten in the whirlwind that is your business life. While Tea and Coffee does contain water (!) caffeine actually dehydrates you, so for every tea or coffee you have, ensure you also have a glass of water. I often have a jug of water with slices of lemon and lime to help me track how much I’m drinking.

5. Organisation. Your work space should be a sanctuary – your mind will not be able to focus and be as productive as it could be if your working space is messy and disorganised. File paperwork, sort your to do list and keep your notepad stack perfectly aligned.

6. Have a break. Even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes to check your phone and get a drink.

7. Talking of phones – put it out of sight! Put your phone out of sight, on silent and work in 60 minute slots. Then at the end of each timed section, check your phone, make a coffee, have a biscuit. It’s a great routine.

8. Reward yourself. Working at home can be tricky – you have to be severely disciplined and really proactive if you wish to succeed. Which we all do. But is shouldn’t be all work and no play. Reward yourself – whether you’ve had a super successful day, worked slightly longer than usual or just completed your never ending to do list.