Working from home is the next best thing to an early retirement. However, much like Pinnochio’s Pleasure Island, working from home can be where people excitedly escape from the real world only to quickly find it’s not what they expected. The novelty and enjoyment can quickly lead you to be confused, unhappy and braying like a donkey.

Anxiety, depression, even diminished physical health can result from poorly-transitioning from a more traditional office-based lifestyle to the alternative. In fact, many find they struggle not only with their work performance. Their personal lives become adversely affected, as well. If you’re wide-eyed, over-weight, worn-out and lost behind two weeks of stubble (ladies and gentlemen both), you may need some help escaping Pleasure Island and reaching the paradise you hoped for. Here are a few ways to increase your productivity while working at home, improve your mental acuity and even get in shape. (“Best article ever?” you ask. Yes, but don’t stop reading now.)

Get Moving ASAP

Waking up late and starting the morning in bed seems like one of the perks of working from home. Rather than beginning your day on social media, it’s best to get up and get in a quick jog around the block. This may sound more like advice for a healthy body rather than a healthy mind. However the light exertion allows the body to wake up more than if you just lay in bed waiting to feel ready. The sudden increase in circulation will allow your body to begin performing optimally, not just your heart and your lungs but your brain.

Exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels in the brain. This is not only essential for neurological repair and preservation; it combats depression, a common physiological product of an inactive lifestyle. One Princeton study showed that mice forced into a sedentary state were also more likely to show signs of anxiety whereas their active counterparts demonstrated a much greater ability to deal with stress. What’s more, the boost in BDNF was especially apparent in the hippocampus, which leads us to believe exercise not only allows for improvements to neural structure, it improves learning and memory. Exercise not only helps you lose weight, it allows you to meet the intellectual demands of each day fresh and ready.

While a brisk walk is good for your circulation, an essential aspect of getting the most out of your brain, and a jog is a good opportunity to strengthen your heart, running sprints may be the best alternative. Now, keep in mind, all three are good. However, a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routine may prove your best option to help you settle in to a productive workday at home. Step outside, run at your top speed for twelve seconds, walk eight seconds and repeat for two minutes. Your metabolism lights up at this time and continues to soar for hours afterwards. The huge plus-side to this is how it continues to burn restless energy that can lead to distraction and free-floating anxiety.

Eat but Eat Wisely

Eating in your home workstation is an even more precarious balance than were you at the office. The reason for this is people often snack out of boredom. At the office, the awareness that others are watching can lead to more conscientious snacking. At home, rice crispy treats seem like an acceptable breakfast. Conversely, a more restrictive eater may not enjoy the social cues that come with watching other people get up and go get lunch. Consequently, a restrictive eater may stop eating entirely. On top of the fact that you’re sitting and your metabolism is at a near-standstill, each misstep is more greatly pronounced.

Meals, even snacks, can hardly be an impulsive choice and should be planned as anything else. If you snack on the wrong thing throughout the day, you may find yourself short-tempered by the afternoon, unaware of a sugar-crash. Or as soon as you walk away from your desk and start your evening, your metabolism may find it doesn’t have enough to run on. Suddenly you’re light-headed and unpleasant. You may not even have realized your productivity had been circling the drain the last hour or two.

Many people find that it helps to use a weight-loss supplement, usually a fiber-based alternative as they don’t cause anxiety or nervous energy. Fiber supplements allow people to experience less hunger, which is beneficial especially for those who may not be actively burning off calories in the near future. This allows a sense of control and responsibility in a situation where people may otherwise allow themselves to lose touch with their weight.

Learn to Love Small Goals

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “The man who moves a mountain starts with small stones.” General Creighton Abrahams once said, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” Many people from throughout the world and across the ages have celebrated small tasks for one reason. They are what makes every great accomplishment.

For someone working in the office, their supervisor or manager often sets these goals. The fact that the employee gets to go home without being pulled into the office for a 15-minute talk at the end of the day is the indicator that they are doing well. These talks may seem monotonous, sometimes even like micromanaging, however these are vital steps toward productivity and satisfaction. Setting and achieving small goals boost morale and as extension productivity. If making your list of goals for the day is your first practice your workday at home will start with a sense of accomplishment. It is not cheating to put “WRITE TODAY’S GOALS” at the top of the list and then cross it out. In fact, some might even say its bad luck to have a to-do list with nothing crossed out at all. Put little things on there to get your list moving, like sorting the mail or checking your weight loss improvements on the scale. Without someone looking over your shoulder it’s hard to know if you’re quitting for the day because you’ve really accomplished something or because you’re feeling a bit lazy. However with clearly defined goals, your sense of accomplishment will be undeniable.

Succeeding at Home

Working from your home office is not without its own hurdles. It’s certainly not a seamless transition. However a handful of adjustments can help you get the most out of it. The most important thing is knowing how to remove the mind’s obstacles like anxiety and distraction while having a clear path to success. Imagine if Pinnochio had known what to expect before going to Pleasure Island. He could have gone in, had the time of his life and avoided turning into an animal before being swallowed by a whale. That could be you!