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5 tips and tricks for working at home

Whether you're starting your own business or filling out paid surveys, there are a few things you should keep in mind to both help you work more effectively at home and relax when you're off the clock. 

1. Get out of bed
While you may find comfort working in the cozy confines of your warm bed, it isn't always the best option. For one, it can be much easier to fall asleep if you're working with your head on a soft pillow. This can be made even more risky if the work you're doing is particularly uninteresting. 

Moreover, using a lot of technology - a TV, smartphone, tablet or laptop - in the bedroom can actually be bad for your sleeping habits, according to NPR. The bright lights from these devices have a way of interrupting circadian rhythms and making it more difficult to sleep when you want to, especially if you're working right before bedtime.

2. Get up and get dressed
All right, so you shouldn't work in bed. Does that mean you can roll out from under the covers and earn money at home while you're still in your pajamas? Well, while this may seem like a luxury, too, it isn't a great habit either. The New York Times reported that Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management completed a test that showed subjects may actually perform better or worse depending on what types of clothes they wear. In the experiment, subjects were told to either wear a white lab coat - which they were told was a physician's coat - or wear their street clothes. In testing, subjects with the physician's coat outperformed subjects in street clothes, suggesting that what you wear may affect your productivity.

3. Define your office hours
While you don't have to settle for the typical 9-to-5 work schedule, it's often beneficial to schedule a specific time to work. That's because designating this window of time will prevent you from partaking in distractions. Tell friends that you work during particular times to keep them from occupying your productive time and stop taking personal calls while you work. This will ensure your time is being used as efficiently as possible.

4. Work from home isn't always a home activity
When you're telecommuting, you can work from virtually anywhere you choose. Use this to find the most beneficial workplace. Some workers swear by home offices that shut out distractions and embody the feeling of a productive office space. Others like working from cafes to both take advantage of the steady supply of coffee and ensure that they won't be bothered by people at home. Find your most effective work location and stick to it.

5. Make the most of breaks
First and foremost, if you're taking frequent breaks, they won't seem as rewarding because you're not putting in enough work to warrant some relaxation. That said, limit yourself to only a one or two breaks throughout the work day. When you've decided on the times, pick something fun and flexible you can do. A walk outside or a trip to a local food place can be just as energizing as it is rewarding.

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