When you ask freelancers or small business owners what the greatest benefit of working at home is, they’ll likely answer with, “The freedom to control your own schedule.” While this is absolutely true, there are a lot of troubles facing those who wish to manage their own schedules. The freedom to choose also brings the freedom to neglect, leading many home-workers into an ineffective routine for managing their professional careers.

  1. Keep a to-do list.

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This is vital for keeping a balanced productivity-to-private-time ratio. You can choose the old fashioned method of pen and paper, or one of the many useful apps available to you through the internet. Apple’s Reminder app works excellently for this, because it allows you to categorize certain entries by importance and date, so you can keep consistent and organized. When something needs done, don’t forget to jot it down quickly in your notes in a “Professional” tab, and perhaps assign it a date so you know which work day needs to be address it. This will help you organize your days and accomplish much-needed tasks.

  1. Prioritize.

When completing workloads, it’s important to ration the responsibilities until you’re not overwhelmed. Working from home allows you to work at your leisure, but it’s also easy to overwork yourself – no one’s telling you, “Only forty hours a week!” anymore. To manage your time well and complete your deadlines, address your workload in the order of importance. Which deadline is soonest? Which will take the longest? Which will take the least time? Evaluate what must be done and address it in order, so you’re being the most productive with your time.

  1. Don’t procrastinate.

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Working from home means managing your own schedule, but it also means being harsher with yourself than your nine-to-five boss may have been. Yes, you have the option to chat on the phone a little longer, but it doesn’t mean you should take this opportunity. Set a time for working and make sure to have your butt in your work-chair at that time.

  1. Set hours.

Okay, your dog vomited all over your carpet and you couldn’t get to your desk at the designated time. No problem; that’s the fun of working at home. As an alternative and an addition, designate a certain amount of hours you’re to work. This can be five hours, two hours, or ten hours – you’re working from home, enjoy it! Simply make sure you’re accomplishing whatever needs done in this time. Maybe you don’t start until nine o’clock at night, but make sure you’ve put in your, say, six hours of work.

After applying all these techniques, make sure to take time and evaluate how your productivity has increased with this tactics. You may need to address the faster moving projects above the larger ones, or you may need to up your set hours. The work process is an evolving creature, so feel free to revise your tactics as you go, to optimize yourself as a small business owner.