If you are one of the lucky ones who have been able to quit their day jobs and work out of their home, you might find you are spending too much time spinning your wheels. Does this sound familiar? :-)

It’s great that you are moving forward and getting out of the grind. It’s really good that you work from home, since you’ll find the doors are open to more income and being more in control of your time.

But that’s the point here. Are you really in control of your time? Or is it in control of you still?

Does the broken garage door call out to be fixed? Is the movie on television more interesting that the AutoResponder sequence that you’d promised yourself to set up by last night? Do you prefer to spend a couple hours on Facebook to connect with friends over writing up & publishing a few Web pages? Is watching other people’s YouTube videos more attractive than creating and sharing your own (and have others watch yours)?

You have to be careful not to heed those destructive calls.

Now that you don’t have to commute to that nine-to-five work place, and you don’t have to listen to your former top dog anymore, well… you might think that sleeping in is a true luxury now.

You might think you can take a break whenever you want, get outside and maybe go for a run. But then, when the end of the day comes, do you have everything done that needs to be done?

Those hours go by really fast. The next thing you know… it’s time for bed! And you have to finish some work obligation by early tomorrow. Can you do it in the morning? Maybe. But maybe not. What have you gotten yourself into?

Of course, you are no stranger to hard work. You’ve been doing it for years. But you had a shotgun to your head, so to speak, and had to be there at a certain time and get certain things done in certain time frames.

The point?

Discipline and Deadlines.

Yours has to be of the highest quality if you want to maintain your home based business. You can’t let those hours slip away.

The best thing to do in these circumstances is to make yourself a schedule. What will you get done in the morning? What will you get done in the afternoon? Do you have time in the evening to work on a project if you don’t get it done earlier? You have to figure these things out.

But it isn’t just making a schedule, it’s KEEPING one. You have to stick with what you laid out to get things done in time.

And if you allow for some personal time in there (like a reward for finishing everything), you will find yourself really sticking to it. You’ll fly through your work and feel like a success when you achieve what you planned to for the day.

Watch those distractions. Sure, the plants need watering, the refrigerator needs to be cleaned out, and then all those time consuming researches on the Net… But these minor, unproductive tasks are going to have to wait until you make your targeted actions for the day.

You have a unique opportunity to get more done, work smart and achieve great things when you are self-employed. Don’t blow it by wasting your time doing non-income related, unproductive actions.

Work smart. Stick to a schedule. Prosper.

—Marcus Hochstadt

6 Responses to Discipline For The Work-At-Home Business Person

  1. Hi Marcus;   I haven’t been over here in a little while but glad  that I’ve reconnected with your blog.  I loved this post that you have written about being disciplined when working out of the home. Many of us I’m  sure have confronted  this problem,  I know I have since purchasing  MCB. It was very difficult for a good year to recognize that I had to use my time in a manner that let me get something DONE! I would end the day without achieving much at all, it was to easy when searching for something on Google to get carried away into a whole other subject. Or I was reading websites that had nothing to do with what I had on my plate. After the first year I realized that  I had to set a schedule, I made a chart and purchased a kitchen timer. I would use the timer  at  hour intervals to keep  myself on track.  Thanks for a great post & a reminder to all of us that we have to be disciplined.      jj

    • Yes, JJ, we can get carried away so easily, can’t we?

      Using a timer is a good strategy for staying on track. One hour intervals are great. Some people report success with daily intervals, others with 30 or 15 minute intervals, depending on the task at hand.

      What I personally like to do is to map out a plan (ex., using mindmap software) with all individual tasks involved, and then outline how much time I think I’ll need to finish those tasks (like the employee Marcus gives ETAs to the boss Marcus ;-). What happens then is something magical…

      Besides the fact that those time frames I gave myself are pretty slick, monstrous tasks become small and doable, and time frames are so small in such a way that I can easily focus on just ONE tiny task and getting it done in, say, 20 minutes (instead of trying to finish 5 tasks in 20 hours), or 2.5 hours (instead of 2 – 3 days).

      In other words, when you create tasks so tiny that you might think they’re actually no tasks at all, you get things done more easily and more effectively, all the while being highly motivated to do more (since you get things done).

      Having said that, I think it all boils down to sticking to and executing your own plan (i.e., that it is not someone else’s plan ;-), and that you feel great about your plan(s) in the first place.

  2. Time Management says:

    Yes, it is very easy to be tempted away from your work duties. Procrastination is also one of the work at home person’s deadliest enemies.

  3. Frances says:

    I have to agree. I am someone who does have issues with working at home. I have recently returned to Australia to live after working as a Freelancer in Malaysia so obviously I’m living at home with my parents (I’m in my 20’s btw). I find most of my distractions are parent-related (as in my mum doesn’t understand that I need to work without distractions) though, even though my step-father has told her not to bother me while I’m working but she can’t help it – I guess probably because I’ve been gone for 3 years! But while I was working overseas, the key is to switch off your instant messengers (unless you need it to talk to clients), keep a daily schedule, organise your tasks, and stick to it. :)

    • Besides instant messengers, I’d switch off e-mail and cell phone too.

      E-mail can be one of the worst productivity killers when it’s constantly running in the background and “alarming” you whenever a new message arrived (as if a response to that message couldn’t wait at least a few hours).

      Great point, Frances, and interesting story of yours! :-)

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