This is a video from a Udemy course I created a few years ago to help people maximize their efficiency while working from remotely or from home. Instead of selling it as a paid course, I’m sharing the content here, for free. I hope you find it helpful. -Ron Stauffer

Try to develop relationships and cultivate them outside of your house and outside of your work or your employer.

There’s an idea in business that I didn’t invent, but I think it’s a great idea. Some people call it “having a third place.” It’s not your home; it’s not your office; it’s a third place where you can do both. You can have your own personal time, or you can have business time. That could be a Starbucks or an Einstein’s Brothers Bagels, in my case, or a public library, or, again, some sort of coworking space.

Finding a third place that is not your home but it’s not necessarily your office is a really good habit to get into. And again, part of the problem is when you work from home, your home is your home, AND it is your office. So it’s even more important to find that third place, wherever it is. Because, using the example I gave before, when my kids come home from school at 3:45 PM every day on weekdays, I need to go somewhere because it is absolute chaos in my house for at least a half-hour. There are lunchboxes being thrown on the kitchen counter and dropping backpacks and kids eating snacks, and movies being turned on. And I cannot think, so if I’m not going to the gym, I need to find somewhere else to go.

So find that third place, whatever it is. It may be somewhere where you buy something like a coffee, or it may be somewhere like a library where you just read quietly. There are public spaces, there are parks, there are libraries, and there are all kinds of opportunities, but whatever your idea of a “third place” is, try to make it the same, so you know when it opens and when it closes, and eventually you’ll start to get to meet the people who own it or who worked there. And that’s a nice benefit too. Because, again, you feel like you’re welcome somewhere—you feel like you’re known. Somebody else besides just your family knows your name.

Another trick is to volunteer somewhere. Especially if you have a passion that’s outside of your industry — it can be inside your industry as well — but if you have a passion that’s unrelated to what you do on a regular basis for work, a great opportunity is to find an organization that cares about that thing that you care about and volunteer for them.

If it’s the humane society, for example. Maybe you like animals, and maybe you work on a computer all day for a company that does technology. Well, feeding dogs and, you know, brushing cat hair has nothing to do with what you do for a living, but it could be very stimulating and soothing.

And it can be relaxing, and you can find other people with that same passion, which is just another way that you can connect outside of your home office with people who will get to know you and like you and expect you and check in with you and see how you’re doing.

Finally, make friends. Make friends in and out of your industry, make friends with your spouse’s coworkers, with your kids’ school teachers, or with the people that you go to the gym with. However you meet the people in your life, find time to meet with your friends.

One of the most important things that I’ve done over the past couple of years is I’ve gone to happy hours with some people that I know through various business contexts. But we’ll just go out for a beer or a hard cider or something like that. And whether we talk about business or not, because we’re out, going somewhere and doing something, it gives us something to look forward to, and it makes us feel refreshed and happy. And it’s outside of your house, which is really important.

Also, in the daytime, if you know people locally, take a lunch break. I’ve already mentioned you should take a lunch break and take a full lunch break, but also you could go out to lunch with a friend. That’s a really helpful thing too. There are a couple of guys that I meet with on a regular basis, and we don’t have any business in common at all, but we have lunch together one day per week. I don’t make it every time, and they don’t make it every time. But every week, on the same day at noon, we know it’s lunchtime: how many of us are going to get together, and where are we going? This offers incalculable benefits to your frame of mind because it gives you something exciting, something different, it involves other people who aren’t just coworkers, and you could talk about things that don’t have anything to do with your project that’s due today at 4:30 or whatever.

Try to develop relationships and cultivate them outside of your house and outside of your work or your employer.