One of the attractions of working at home is the vision of freedom it invokes — no time clock, no time sheets, and no one to account to for how you spend your time. Yes, it is an attractive proposition, but like so many attractive propositions there is a heavy downside — you are likely wasting a lot of time.
I used to loathe making a daily schedule for my work and have always dismissed it as a waste of time — that is until my home business really took off and I realized there simply wasn’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all my goals if I didn’t have a solid daily plan.
I now have my own spreadsheet and agenda for the day and I have improved my productivity and reduced my stress immeasurably. If you don’t think you need a schedule for your home business then think again — and read on.
After a spate of relatively unproductive days when my “To Do” list seemed to grow exponentially every time I looked at it I knew something had to change.
Granted I was going through a rough patch. My home business was experiencing growing pains and taking up more than the usual time, my home life was putting a lot of extra demands on me, and my extended family was experiencing a number of crises that required my input as well. But I’m also old enough to know there is never a perfect time in life — you just live the one you’ve got. These are simply the problems I’m dealing with this year… Next year these problems will be traded in for new fresh ones.
After studying my time and chatting with some other work-at-home folks, I discovered five reasons to embrace a schedule:
1. It’s too easy to waste time doing non-priority tasks
2. It’s too easy to get sidetracked or distracted from your current task
3. Unscheduled work time can often overlap into your free time costing you freedom
4. Your free time can cross into your work time so you fall behind with important projects
5. Concentrating your time and effort on highest priority projects means more gets done
I’m not the only work at home business person using a daily schedule. I recently participated in an online forum discussion where men and women had moved to embrace a schedule in their own business — and found it more freeing than restrictive. After all, you are still the one setting the schedule so you are free to schedule yourself off for a 3-hour lunch, an afternoon, or a whole day whenever you choose.
If you find it difficult setting up your schedule and priorities for the day and week then perhaps your significant other or a friend can help you set your schedule. The important thing is to set one, and hold yourself accountable to it. As you do, your productivity will improve, and your business will grow faster.
Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean you can afford to be loose with your schedule. In fact, you probably need to be even more disciplined with your schedule than if you worked outside the home, because there will be many more distractions at home trying to pull you into non-work activity.