I work both at home and away from home. Outside of my job as a publisher and writer, I have another job out in the real world where I am a Human Resources Manager. I put in my 8 hours at the office, then drive home and put in another 3-4 hours at my "other life." And on weekends I totally spend my time at my "other life."
I've had to learn to minimize distractions. I make a list of everything I hope to accomplish each evening, and I stay focused on it. I don't answer the phone or pay attention to most of my email. It's not easy-- some nights I don't get to bed until 2 or 3 o'clock AM and then I'm up again at 6:00 AM to go to my day job. But my evening job (Swimming Kangaroo) is my passion and I am committed to it!
I don't have a problem staying away from the TV because I don't watch much to begin with, but I have to make sure I don't get distracted by surfing on the web, getting onto one of my listservs or reading a good book.
Throughout my working life I've had periods where I have worked at home. When my girls were little, I took jobs that allowed me to work from home during the summers and school breaks so I could be with them. They slept in so I could get stuff done in the morning. Once they got up I'd take a break and spend some time with them. During the afternoon they would usually get into the swimming pool so I would go back to my computer and keep an eye on them through the window. Evenings, once again, I took a break to spend time with my husband and the kids and then finally, once the girls went to bed, I went back to work. Over the course of the day I would put in more than 8 hours at work.
I have found that I am actually more productive at home than I am at my office because I don't have so many distractions. While I'm at my day job, people stop by my office frequently to chat. I don't have that at home-- once I make up my mind that I'm not going to pay attention to the phone or to email, I don't have to worry about anybody dropping in. Our neighbors, fortunately, (or unfortunately depending on your point of view) pretty much keep to themselves, so I don't have to worry about them coming by. When the girls were little we usually had other parents, who worked outside the home, drop their kids off at our house to spend the day. I never minded because that gave the girls some entertainment and allowed me to get some more work done.
I love working at home for another reason-- I am a night person. My natural inclination, if left to myself, is to stay up all night working and to sleep during the day. When I am working from home, I have the freedom to do that. Unfortunately I haven't managed to convince my boss at my day job that my hours should be switched to midnight to 8!
Before I sign off, I have to mention that CJ, the lead character in the mystery novel I wrote with my husband, The Dead Detective (under the pseudonym of Lorene Robbins) has a unique distraction while working at home-- the ghost of a murdered pawnbroker won't leave her alone. CJ discovered the pawnbroker's body, and she is the only person who can hear him. It makes things just a little difficult when she is trying to attend to her freelance computer consulting business. The ghost, Budge, is a pest, to put it bluntly, and insists that CJ spend time solving the mystery of his murder instead of working at her freelance computer consulting business.
I am fortunate not to have that problem-- no ghosts disturb my work at home moments-- just the occasional husband popping in or the occasional daughter calling me to "Mom" duty. For me, working at home is a privilege, and I hope to get to a point where I can do it full time!