I've just come upon my 6th month anniversary of working remotely. I wanted to reflect on what worked, what didn't, and what I'm doing now.
The first few weeks working remote were incredibly difficult. Coming from a decent sized office situtaion with cubicles and lots of handy co workers ready to talk and answer my questions. When you are used to that style of work, suddenly being thrown into a very independent and lonely work environment brings about some hardship. What I found to work for me through the first few weeks was to take breaks often to get away from the computer for a while to just keep my mind focused. I also want to note that I was completley alone at home. During the day my wife was working and my daughter was at daycare.
There are a few things I do now that have really increased both my happiness and my productivity as I work. My most effective tool that I use during the day is to simply take a walk. Here in Colorado we have great weather most days so getting out to take a walk is refreshing and clears my head. I walk about an hour or so in the mid morning and make sure to clear my mind of the days work and any thoughts I am having. In addition to walking I take ample time to visit my wife and daughter throughout the day to spend quick breaks of 5 minutes or less with them. It helps to break up my tasks and get some socializing in as well as making sure I am there for my daughter throughout the day. My last strategy is simply getting out of the house. Going out to a coffee shop helps to get me out of the house and get a new perspective on my daily tasks. I try to work away from my home office at least once a week for a few hours.
Maintaing discipline while working remote is key to success. If you are easily distracted by tv or the internet, working remote is not for you. Your employer will need to be shown results more often than you would if you were in an office and expectations can be a bit higher. For me, I've found that isolating myself in an office away from my family and other distractions continues to help me be more productive and focused. The main thing here is that you need to treat your home office the same as you would an office away from home. Quiet, plenty of desk space, and free of distraction.