I recently began a job where I had the opportunity to work from home. I was hesitant at first, worried about how I was going to connect with my new colleagues, stay focused and engage in my new job. Well, I surprised myself in discovering that I loved working from home. I was focused, got a lot of work done, and even had time to walk my dog every day. We were both happy … until the new teammate came along.

Suddenly, I found myself having to work in an office every day. I was wasting two hours a day commuting, dealing with office politics and yes … the dog was missing her daily walks.

Why the change? It turned out that another co-worker, who also worked remotely, was not successful in that environment. He wasn’t achieving his work goals and needed others around to keep him focused and accountable—so suddenly we were both back in the office.

It takes some important strategies to stay motivated and successfully work at home. Promotional Consultant Today shares these tips from author Alison Buckholtz’s Harvard Business Review article, “How to Work Remotely Without Losing Motivation.”

Use the time you save on commuting to read a good book. Choose a time of day that you would normally be commuting to work to read. Maybe you read the first half-hour before you start your work, or you take a short break mid-afternoon. Pick a book that inspires you. It will give you something to look forward to as well as a short escape from the day’s routine. Plus, it might clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on your job.

Get out of the house at least once a day. This is a very important rule. You need to step outside at least once a day. When I worked from home, I would leave my house every morning at 7:30 am to grab a coffee. When I came back inside, it signaled the start of my work day.

Whatever you choose—a walk around the block, an errand, exercise—spend the same amount of time on it every day or based on what your schedule dictates. For example, if you have a busy day filled with calls, give yourself at least 10 minutes of non-work related activity.

Don’t make a work-together “date” just because someone else also works remotely. This is the rule that I wish I knew about when I worked remotely. Just because your two neighbors also work from home doesn’t mean you should “keep each other company.” Everyone has different work demands and a different pace at which they achieve their work. Your friendship might be better off if you don’t work together.

Make someone else happy. We all hit a rut in our daily routine. For me, it’s usually at 3 pm. It never fails. If I’m working and don’t have meetings scheduled at that time, I feel the boredom and lack of focus kicking in. I could easily waste an hour just trying to get myself “back in the game.” Buckholtz suggests not to fight it, just re-direct. When you are at the point where you are tempted to start trolling Facebook, instead do something to make someone happy. She said she uses this point in the day to call her grandmother because it makes her grandma happy and it’s productive. So step away for 15 minutes and do something to make someone else in your life happy. Then get back to work.

Repeat “That’s what the money is for!” When you get in a slump, remember that your goal is to get a paycheck. The disadvantage of working from home sometimes is that others don’t see the depths of how hard you are working. You don’t get a chance to toot your own horn. As Buckholz says, “No one will appreciate you, but someone sure will be glad to get your finished work in hand. And you’ll get a paycheck delivered to the same home where you’re still unshowered and wearing pajamas.”

Exercise. Working from home makes it easier to have a regular exercise schedule. Exercise clears your mind and allows you to be more productive. Those endorphins go a long way to solving work problems in a fresh way and create a sense of positivity to get you through the rest of your solitary work day.

When all else fails, remember Maverick. Buckholtz refers to the story of Maverick, a Navy pilot who preferred the terrifying experience of landing his plane on an aircraft carrier at night over having to face his power-hungry boss every day.

While this might be an extreme example, remember you’re the lucky one. You have the freedom, the independence and the trust to work from home. In your sweats. At your pace. Don’t do anything to derail this opportunity. Instead, use the time to achieve work goals and strive for a work-balance that others wish they had.

Source: Alison Buckholtz is a writer and editor living in the Washington, DC area. She is the author of the memoir Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War.