Time to do what you want - when you want - is one of the top benefits of owning a home business. Unfortunately, failure to manage that time can be one of the biggest negatives.

Working from home brings a sense of relaxation, a contrast to working in an off-site setting - no matter how casual it may be. And rarely would you be able to come and go as you please to the extreme that working at home allows. That can cause a loss of attention and a lack of time management.

Working from home allows you to:

- schedule doctor appointments any time of the day
- do grocery shopping when everyone else is at work
- go to all the kids’ programs and sporting events
- take a day off whenever you want
- chat with friends and family when they call
- take a long lunch or late breakfast to catch up with friends
- sleep late if you choose
- work the hours that best fit your life style.

All of this is great. But sometimes too much freedom from structure can cause issues.

I’ve asked entrepreneurs who could work from home but choose not to, why they made that decision. There are a wide variety of answers, but the majority provided insight that often would not be considered. These business owners have rented a small office space just to have a place to go because when at home:

- they can’t concentrate because they have pre-school children at home
- people assume that since you are at home, you aren’t working
- other parents expect you to be the car pool every day
- they get distracted with laundry, dishes, yard work, etc., and don’t seem to get enough work done.

These home events can create havoc with your time management intentions. Consider how easy this scenario could happen: You are in the office and have made a couple follow-up phone calls to prospects. You’re feeling great – it’s going to be a fantastic day! Then you get a call around 10:00 from a friend you haven’t seen in a while. You agree to meet for brunch. The conversation lasts for a couple hours before heading back home. You notice the laundry has piled up, so you decide to throw a load in the washing machine. That leads to the ironing that is still sitting there from last laundry day. Once that ironing is done, you move the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer and finally head to the office. It’s 1:00!

Your day is ½ over and you’ve gotten just a few phone calls completed. I believe it’s more difficult to manage time when you work from home because of the additional distractions and freedoms this work style provides. Without a good handle on time management, this could be your normal work day rather than the exception.

This type of work pattern will, unfortunately, produce unfavorable results. No more freedom and no more working from home. Without a concentrated effort to control your schedule, you could end up without a business.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Hartman is President of Hartman Inventory, a woman-owned business that provides business and home inventory services. She and her husband Mike also own Hartman Inventory Systems, a complete turnkey home inventory business package for those who want to establish their own inventory company. She is also an owner of Business Continuity Planning Specialists, which was created with the small business owners' needs and budgets in mind. Cindy writes a blog and is also a freelance writer on topics of disaster preparedness and recovery, small business, product reviews, marketing and networking.