As much as we are all wishing warm thoughts (summer, where are you?!) right now, one of the pros for living on the East Coast is having a snow day. When we were kids, we couldn't wait to stay home from school to build a snowman, but in the adult world, we are more concerned about that messy commute to work.

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Thanks to the #blizzard2015, we didn't have to physically go into the office, but that doesn't mean we get a free pass to be unproductive. In fact, according to the Telework Research Network, there were about 30 million Americans who worked from home at least once a week in 2013, and that number is expected to increase by 63 percent over five years.

Thanks to technology many people can telecommute during snow days, but working from the convenience of your home may be difficult. You may feel the need to turn on Netlfix since you still are in your pajamas, or just spend the day browsing the Internet since there is no threat that your boss will look over your shoulder.

But there are ways you can still be productive and complete all your work tasks from home. This guide will help you stay focused and get the job done.

Pretend To Commute

The good news is you don't have to brave it out post-blizzard, in hopes that public transit has your back. The bad news is you can't spend the day doing nothing. Now that you don't have to commute, use the time it would take you to get into the office as the time to wake up and get some distractions out of the way so you can keep your focus. Use this time to eat a nice breakfast while browsing through your social networks and going through emails. Start making lists of your priorities for the day. Seeing them written out will help motivate you and keep you on track, while giving you the feeling of accomplishment when you cross things off the list. Now that you updated your Facebook status, it's time to sign off and get to work.

Set Up Your Space

It's really easy to just stay in bed, turn the TV on and "work" from your laptop. But even though you're at home, you still have work to do. Get out of bed, brew yourself a hot cup of coffee and get down to business. If you have a home office, set yourself up there where you are separated from distractions at home. Create a work space separate from your family space. If you don't have a home office, choose a quiet room with a door that shuts, so you have peace and quiet. This is important if you live with other people or have kids.


Schedule Your Day

Even though you are at home still think of yourself at work. Working from home can provide lots of distractions which can make you less productive. Create a list of tasks to complete by lunchtime and stick to that list. Only take a break when they are completed, just as you would at the office. Use your lunch break to socialize with your roommate, help your kids build a snowman or take your dog outside for a walk. Then come back to work. Schedule tasks for the rest of day on a spreadsheet which can help you stay focused. If you work a 9 to 5, then stick with those hours. Reward yourself with a Netflix binge only after your work is complete.

Communicate With Colleagues

One of the downsides about working from home is not feeling like a member of the team. Because you work on your own, there is less interaction with your boss and co-workers. To make sure you feel connected to your team, create a group chat where you can bounce ideas off each other, while staying in the loop. Email your boss with any questions you have before starting new tasks, and let them know once a project is complete.

Get Dressed For Work

The best part of working from home is the convenience and comfort. However, studies show that getting dressed for work at home has a psychological advantage. Staying in pajamas suggest a day to slack off. However, you don't need to wear a suit and tie. Instead, just get out of your sleepwear so you feel like your workday has started.

Take Breaks

You will also want to keep a neat and organized working area, just like you have at the office to minimize distractions. It's also important to take regular breaks, which increases productivity, when necessary. Staring at screens all day can make us exhausted. Grab some water from the kitchen, taking a minute to stretch your legs before buckling down again. If you can't beat the urge to veg out on the couch, then head over to a coffee shop as long as the roads permit.

[Photo Credit: Alessandro Valli/Flickr]

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