If you’re one of the more than 53 million people doing freelance work in America today—or even just a dude savvy enough to get your boss to occasionally let you “telecommute”—you know as well as I do that it can be hard as hell to get things done in your own personal dojo.
There are good days, of course, when you savor being your own boss, enjoy your insane wealth of privacy, and manage to motor through tasks with a Jedi-like focus. But on the bad days, the distractions mount, procrastination rears its ugly head, and you inevitably get through little more than a solid Netflix binge session.
Believe me, I know. Ever since I left my tech-support job and went solo more than a decade ago, I’ve been working hard to build my own media company. It all began with small segments talking tech on the radio; I eventually worked my way up to the national stage, not only writing for Men’s Fitness but also appearing regularly on CNN as well as NBC’s Today and other daytime talk shows.
And somehow I’ve managed my whole new career from my home office.
If you’re thinking about joining the gig economy, you won’t be alone: Those 53 million freelancers I mentioned before are projected to make up 50% of the labor force in 2020. And because I’ve spent years honing what I consider the perfect system for working remotely, I promise that with these simple tips, you’ll stay on track, boost your productivity, and ultimately stay sane.