I work at home, so I’m prone to all of the easiest temptations, all of the time. Here are a few things that I do to stay on task for at least 6-8 hours a day.
–chill, inobtrusive music sometimes paired with ambient noise, which I feel is really good for transporting yourself to a work zone and minimizing distractions, especially if you have over-ear headphones. Sounds like you already have some appropriate music.
–a task manager. Something like Asana where you can neatly sort and keep track of different types of work. I also have a post-it or txt file every day visible on my desktop that is a list of the things I absolutely HAVE to get done. Once that list is empty, I feel free, and I think I really do strive to make it empty. If I finish everything early, I even let myself off early.
–a cutoff for “work time”. Possibly the most vital thing in a freelance or work-at-home situation, that work-life balance. This might not be as relevant if you are having to do work around the edges of a day job. At that point you may be sacrificing “off” time to be on. My absolute cutoff is 11 PM–I telecommute to a company on the west coast and I’m on the east coast, so I at least stay ready to go until 8 PM their time. If I do work after 11 PM, it better be for fun personal stuff.
–an escape route. Like a coffee shop or library. I probably spend two three-hour blocks of time per week at a coffee shop. There’s something about being around peaceful strangers and just out of your comfortable zone that can be really good for focusing.
–knowing your limits. Take breaks, don’t be afraid to admit you can’t do something today or ever, instead of beating your head against it. Treat yourself when you can, especially if a day of work seems to be a total waste right from the start–just think of how you can turn it into a positive. It will make all your next days better. With creative work especially, you never know when inspiration will strike and you can’t just wait by the well for it; that’s no way to live.