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Okay, I’m not really going crazy but I bet those who just made the switch from being corporate slaves to work-at-home professionals feel like it.

Working at home for the very first time can be weird.  People may complain about being tied to the office but when things change, they tend to miss office life. You miss the efficiency, how accessible things are, and the relationships with co-workers. So how do you stay sane and productive with your new environment?

1. Don’t lose the connection.

Working at home doesn’t mean cutting all your ties to the outside world. If anything, this is a time when you should cultivate more relationships. Check up on your clients regularly by emailing them or chatting with them online. Set a weekly date with your friends or former office mates to catch up on each others’ lives.

2. Have your own workspace.

It’s tempting to work while in bed but don’t or you’ll end sleeping the day away. Pick a nice spot in your house where there is a nice view and plenty of sunshine. Place a small table and set up your laptop.

Seasoned work-at-home professionals know that a work space can make or break you. A work space in the basement will make you lonely and irritated while working on your dining table would only distract you especially when the kids and the hubby come home. Your own work space allows you to stay focused and be more effective.

3. Maintain a work schedule.

Working at home gives you some leeway to sleep a little late but don’t overdo it. Keep a work schedule to make sure that you do your projects on time. Whether your calendar is on your Blackberry or on your laptop, you should always remember that there are projects to finish, deadlines to meet, and people to talk to.

Choose your own work schedule, whether it’s 7 to 4, 8 to 5, or 9 to 6. Stick to it and when the work day ends, you are free to tend to other things in your life.

4. Schedule a break.

I don’t want you to go insane so I always recommend that work-at-home professionals take a short break. A 15-minute break in the morning and another one in the afternoon will help you re-energize. You can take a nap, walk in your street, do some stretching exercises, or eat a healthy snack. Oh, and don’t forget to have lunch!

5. Don’t forget a ‘me-time.’

Working at home is never easy and you should learn to reward yourself with some quality time. Some mums I know have their weekly massage to de-stress while others hit the gym. It’s up to you if you want your ‘me-time’ on a daily or weekly basis. What’s important is that you allow yourself to relax.

There are other things to do to stay sane while working at home. Different strokes for different folks. Whatever you do, make sure you remain productive and effective with what you’re doing.

How about you? How do you stay sane? Care to add to the list?

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