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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.

My husband spends time every day filling out these large spreadsheets to account for his day. He works for a large engineering company and his day often encompasses work on a variety of projects for different clients. He loathes the activity and I have always dismissed it as a waste of time -- that is until my home business recently took off and I realized there simply wasn't enough hours in the day to accomplish all my goals.

I now have my own spread sheet 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 four-year-old was only in preschool part-time, my husband wasn't pulling his weight on the home front, and my extended family was experiencing a number of crises. 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 the schedule:

1. It's too easy to waste time doing nonpriority 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 until you don't have any free time at all
4. Your free time can overlap into your work time until 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 encompassing the schedule. I recently took part in an online forum where men and womenhad moved to embrace it -- 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.

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