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While many Canadians see remote careers as a luxury that means working in your pyjamas, it’s not always as you might have envisioned it. All the perks you think about can actually become distractions when push comes to shove. Here’s how to make this option work for you.

Get dressed. While the pyjama life might be one of the reasons you sought out remote work in the first place, you’ve probably realized that it’s not all it’s cut out to be. When you’re used to browsing Facebook and playing with your dog in your PJs, being productive just isn’t going to come as easily. Something as simple as getting dressed will make you feel the change from personal time to work time, and that shift can make the difference between a day of distractions and a day of productivity.

Have a dedicated workspace. Again, like your wardrobe, if you stick to working from bed, you’re not likely to be as motivated to get the work done. Set up a home office if you can, and if you can’t, consider looking into a co-working space or use your local coffee shop as a dedicated workspace a few days a week. Getting out of the house will also help when you start missing the comradery of having coworkers.

Schedule your work hours and stick to them. This is a hard one to stick with, but the best one to ensure you are as productive as possible. Yes, setting your own hours might be one of the perks, but that doesn’t mean you should take the day off just because a friend hit you up for lunch and assumed you’d be free to hang out now that you work for yourself. Remind yourself that this is a real job—you are running your own business and you have to respect the working hours you choose. It doesn’t have to be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, but if you say you will work from noon until 6 p.m. each day, schedule it into your calendar and stick to it.

Consider the Pomodoro Technique. Breaks are vital for productivity. No one can sit and work for eight hours a day— that’s not how our brains thrive. We need a mental break in order to stay creative and productive. The Pomodoro Technique is a strategy where you work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break, then work for another 25 minutes and take another 5-minute break. After four cycles, you take a longer break. Having these breaks on the back of your mind allows you to focus completely on the task at hand, upping your productivity without making you feel overwhelmed.

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