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7 Good Habits for Being Productive When You're Working From Home

insjoy/iStock via Getty Images
insjoy/iStock via Getty Images

There's now scientific proof to back up something you've always known: You’re probably more productive when you work from home. According to the Harvard Business Review, when Stanford University researchers enlisted 250 employees at a large travel agency in a nine-month study and sent half of them home to work, they found that remote workers boosted their performance . Those employees also took fewer breaks and sick days and were more productive per minute—something the employees attributed to a quieter work environment.

Of course, supercharging your productivity just because you ditched the office commute isn’t a guarantee. Anyone who’s tried to work with the TV on in the background “just for noise” can tell you that being left to your own lazy devices can also be a productivity killer. Here are seven methods to get more done—even when your boss isn't sitting a stone's throw from your desk.

1. Designate a dedicated workspace.

美女视频黄频大全视频Sure, you could technically work from the couch or even your bed. But when you have a desk or a home office that’s dedicated to working, just sitting in that space will shift your mind into work mode. “For me, walking into my office—which is a room in my home with a door and a desk—means I’m going to work,” Virginia Ginsburg, owner of the business consulting and coaching company , tells Mental Floss. “And when I use my laptop for activities like searching the web or online shopping, I tend to sit on the couch.”

2. Stick to a schedule.

Person fills out daily planner with other work tools sitting on a wooden desktop

美女视频黄频大全视频Waste an hour in the morning dawdling over coffee or dreading getting started, and you could wind up working on projects late into the evening, when you’re exhausted and less focused. So pick a start (and end!) time, and stick to it. That doesn’t have to mean a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though, if you work best at odd hours. “I work well in the period of time that most people are commuting,” Christa Reed, a marketing and development consultant and owner of Reed Productions in Chicago, tells Mental Floss. So to maximize her productivity, she starts her workday early, then takes a midday gym break to get energized again.

3. Dress the part.

In the same way that sitting at a desk shifts you into work mode, getting dressed for the day can improve your focus. But if you think that means you’ve got to put on a full suit and tie, relax. “It’s about the mindset, not the clothing,” says Ginsburg, who favors casual clothes unless she’s meeting with a client. Just nix the pajamas already.

4. Ignore the dirty dishes.

A sink filled with dirty dishes

美女视频黄频大全视频Procrastination at the office might mean chatting with a coworker while you take another loop through the break room. At home, it’s harder to procrastinate socially and the break room is your kitchen—where the morning dishes might still be piled up in the sink. No wonder more than one-third of people who work from home do household chores on the clock, according to by Wakefield Research. But, if you want to boost your productivity, resist the urge to sneak in chores between tasks. It’s still procrastination—just under a sudsy guise of housework.

5. Plan for breaks.

It seems counterintuitive, but when you take a (short!) break from working, you’ll be more productive when you’re back on the clock. You don’t have a water cooler to hang out by at home (well, unless that suits your home décor), but you can take a break away from your workspace. Try circling the block—both the movement and the fresh air can help boost your concentration—or, if you’d prefer to stay glued to your desk, check out the . Based on the popular productivity method, this tool alerts you when to start and stop a break, so it’s harder to fall down a random Wikipedia rabbit hole.

6. Block your social media accounts.

Group of hands holding up speech bubbles with social media concepts

At home, no one’s going to notice that you’ve just zoned out on Facebook for the last 45 minutes. But that doesn’t make social media any less of a productivity killer. Use visits to Twitter and the like as rewards for getting things done—power through this presentation for the next hour, say, and you can spend 15 minutes liking travel photos on Instagram. But if moderation isn’t your strength, apps like or will block any sites you choose—the ones you know will be most likely to distract you—for a certain period of time.

7. Hold yourself accountable.

If you end the day kind of fuzzy on how much you actually got done, consider tracking your hours. is a free, intuitive app that lets you track work time throughout the day and allocate that time to specific projects. So when you feel like you’re being pretty productive, and then see you’re only clocking five hours of work in a day, you can tweak your routine to figure out what’s sapping your productivity.

Wayfair Is Offering Up to 65 Percent Off Air Conditioners, Robot Vacuums, and Other Appliances for a Limited Time

KitchenAid/iRobot/GoWise/Wayfair
KitchenAid/iRobot/GoWise/Wayfair

is a one-stop online shop for just about anything you could ever need for your home, and this year, the company is getting a jump on Memorial Day sales by taking up to major appliances from now until May 28. Here, shoppers will find discounts on everything from to . These savings won't last forever, so to help you get started on your shopping, we pulled together some of our favorite deals, which you can check out below.

Small Kitchen Appliances

A KitchenAid blender.
KitchenAid/Wayfair

- KitchenAid Artisan Series 10-Speed 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with a Dough Hook & Other Accessories (Save $209)
- GoWISE USA 5.5-Liter Eight-in-One Electric Air Fryer ($122)
- Keurig K-Classic, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, 6 to 10oz Brew Sizes (Save $21)
- GoWISE USA Electric Pressure Cooker (Save $10)
- KitchenAid Ultra Power Five-Speed Hand Mixer (Save $36)

Air Conditioners

- Pioneer MiniSplit 12,000 BTU Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heater and Remote (Save $150)
- Black + Decker 6000 BTU Energy Star Window Air Conditioner with Remote (Save $67)
- Whynter 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote (Save $122)
- Della 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Heater and Remote (Save $45)

Mini Refrigerators

A mini fridge that's available on Wayfair.
Daewoo/Wayfair

- Daewoo 4.4-Cubic-Foot Freestanding Mini Fridge (Save $184)
- Galanz 3.1-Cubic-Foot Retro Freestanding Mini Fridge with Freezer (Save $66)
- NewAir 20-Bottle Wine and Beverage Refrigerator (Save $50)
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Fans and Air Purifiers

- Holmes Harmony Room HEPA Air Purifier (Save $121)
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- Winix HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter (Save $120)

Refrigerators

- GE Appliances 36-Inch Energy Star French Door Refrigerator (Save $210)
- Samsung 36-Inch French Door Smart Refrigerator with FlexZone Drawer (Save $501)
- GE Appliances 28-Inch Energy Star Refrigerator with Sliding Deli Drawer (Save $69)
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Washing Machines and Dryers

- Samsung 4.5-Cubic-Foot Top-Load Washer with Self Clean (Save $171)
- GE Appliances 7.2-Cubic-Foot Electric Dryer with Aluminized Alloy Drum (Save $60)
- Samsung 5-Cubic-Foot Top-Load Washer and 7.4-Cubic-Foot Electric Dryer (Save $92)
- GE Appliances 4.8-Cubic-Foot Energy Star High Efficiency Top-Load Washer with Tide Pods Dispenser (Save $86)

Ovens

- GE Appliances 30-Inch Freestanding Electric Range (Save $48)
- GE Appliances 30-Inch Slide-in Gas Range with Griddle (Save $150)

Vacuums

A bObsweep vacuum that's available ay Wayfair.
bObsweep/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Wi-Fi-Connected Robot Vacuum (Save $30)
- bObsweep PetHair Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Mop Attachment (Save $426)
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At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

11 Cooking Hacks From Real Chefs to Elevate Your Pasta Dishes

Ridofranz/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Ridofranz/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It’s one of the easiest and most popular dishes to make at home. Just boil noodles, heat a jar of sauce, and voila! What many don’t realize, however, is that with some attention to detail and just a few extra steps, you can take your spaghetti with marinara sauce from serviceable to restaurant-quality. Here are a few tips from the pros.

1. Make your own sauce.

This may not sound like a “hack,” but it’s way easier to do than most people think. All you need are four ingredients, according to celebrity chef : garlic, olive oil, basil, and a large can of whole plum tomatoes—he and others recommend the variety of tomatoes, which derive from the volcanic soil around Naples. (If you’re so inclined, use a salad spinner to rid the tomatoes of their seeds before you get cooking.) Heat six smashed garlic cloves with some olive oil, add in the tomatoes, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, adding the basil at the very end.

2. Use a potato masher.

To break down those sauce tomatoes, you could smash them by hand, or use the same wooden spoon you use to stir. (You could also puree them, but most chefs say that’s a no-no.) Or, you could do like Scott Conant of Scarpetta does and use a , which allows for an even consistency while still keeping the sauce thick and flavorful.

3. Use the right amount of water.

Using too little water can cause noodles to clump while they’re cooking, according to , son of legendary Italian chef Marcella Hazan. He recommends using six quarts of water for each pound of pasta. When in doubt, use more than you think you’ll need—but not so much that the pot overflows while boiling.

4. Don’t add olive oil.

美女视频黄频大全视频Many believe that adding olive oil to the pasta water will keep the noodles from sticking together. Not true, says renowned chef and cookbook author , who points out that well-cooked pasta should be naturally stick-free. Adding olive oil can also keep the sauce from adhering to the pasta, according to , which keeps ingredients separate that should meld together.

5. Salt liberally—and at the right time.

Just a pinch won’t do it, according to Del Posto chef . To truly bring out the flavor of the pasta, add one tablespoon of salt per quart of water. As far as timing goes, wait until the water is boiling, but before you’ve put in the pasta. This allows the salt to infuse the water without affecting the boiling time—because, contrary to what you might have heard, adding salt right when you put the pot on the burner actually increases the time美女视频黄频大全视频 it takes for water to start boiling.

6. Turn off the heat and cover the pot.

Rather than boiling the water until the pasta is ready, do what famed chef and cookbook author Mary Ann Esposito : Let the water return to a boil, then shut off the heat, cover the pot and wait for seven minutes. “Works beautifully for cuts like spaghetti, ziti, rigatoni and other short cuts of pasta,” Esposito writes. “Saves energy too.”

7. Cook the sauce in a skillet.

Forget using a small pot, or even a saucepan, to heat your sauce. As , a skillet is the way to go, mainly because it cooks evenly, allowing the sauce to thicken quickly. With its flared sides and lighter weight, also lets you toss the pasta and the sauce together.

8. Add a pinch of sugar to your sauce.

A touch of sweetness can help balance out the flavor of your sauce. Brooklyn chef Jen DePalma she always adds a pinch of sugar to her sauce, which tones down the acidity and keeps it from tasting too bitter.

9. Cook the pasta with the sauce.

This might be the most crucial hack of all. As numerous chefs point out, pasta and sauce should be cooked together so that the sauce coats the noodles. Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello recommends taking the pasta out of the water four minutes before the cook time listed on the package, transferring it to the sauce skillet and cooking the two until the pasta is al dente. You should only bring your sauce to a boil , then simmer the two until finished.

10. Use the pasta water.

Don’t pour out that water after you’ve transferred the pasta. As Jason Pfeiffer, chef-de-cuisine at Maialino Epicurious, a splash of starchy pasta water on the noodles and sauce will help bind the two together. (You can also use it to make a cocktail, if you’re so inclined.)

11. Don’t forget to add the finishing touches.

Chef Ken Arnone adding fresh sliced basil to your sauce five minutes before it’s done cooking. If you’re going more indulgent, do as does and add a tablespoon of butter. After plating, you could go the traditional route with Parmesan cheese. Or, you could follow chef ’s recommendation and add shaved pecorino cheese along with a hint of parsley.