Have you heard about the kids who live across the street from the school and are always running in as the bell rings? Or about the employee who lives just around the corner and is always the last to arrive each morning?

Strangely enough, the same can be true for an entrepreneur who has chosen to be a home-based business owner. Discipline often has more to do with being late (or not arriving at all) than anything else.

Procrastination, focus or discipline -- it doesn’t matter what you call it. The fact is that some people just can’t seem to do what they need to do, when they need to do it. When deciding whether to be a home-based business or have an office at another location, the key determinating factor is whether you have the discipline to be home-based. It doesn’t matter why you aren’t in your office when you should be; it matters only that you aren’t there! The bottom line is, the business will not be handled, and before long there won’t be a business. Setting goals and to-do lists helps, but if you’re not in the office, you aren’t working on those lists.

One would think that needing to earn a living would create the discipline to get in the office, but those who procrastinate explain it this way: On my way into the office, I stop to make myself a cup of coffee. That creates an opportunity to wash the dishes. While the coffee is still brewing, I get dressed and see the pile of clothes that need washed. While the clothes are washing, I do go in to the office and check emails (notice I said ‘check’, not handle). The coffee is done, so back out to the kitchen to pour a cup and fix breakfast. It’s a bright sunny morning, so I choose to have my breakfast on the deck. Looking around, I see there are weeds to pull. A half-hour later, back into the house to put the clothes in the dryer. Now I can get to work. But, Oh! It’s lunch time. After lunch there is every intention to go into the office, but the dryer buzzes and the clothes need folded.

You get the picture. Before you know it, the day is gone. Papers are piling up on the desk, phone calls and emails remain unanswered and bills haven’t been paid. But you do have a sparkling clean house and an immaculate garden!

This is a bit of an exaggeration, but too many people offered a similar routine to discount how easy it is for people without discipline to put off starting the work day. Replace the gardening and laundry with mowing, dusting, scrubbing floors, cooking, working on a hobby, watching TV, etc., and you can see how easy a week can go by without getting any work done.

The distractions of daily home tasks can overwhelm some home-based business owners. However, there are a few easy-to-establish habits you can adopt fairly quickly. First, write down everything you want accomplished to keep your home in the condition that will allow you to “go to work”. Maybe choose a couple days a week that you do laundry, one for yard work, etc. Always allow at least one hour a day for a quick run-through of the house first thing in the morning to do the little things that aren’t scheduled (pick up magazines, empty waste baskets, etc.).

Once you have a routine, you’ll discover many hours each day you can devote to your company. Also set a schedule and to-do list for your work tasks. Have specific days for chosen tasks (pay bills, write an article, out-of-office appointments, etc.) and that will help create concentrated blocks of time.

One time saver for the office is to check and ANSWER emails and phone messages only twice a day. Don’t leave the email account open. The little envelope appearing on your computer screen, or the ‘ding’ indicating you have mail, is a big distraction. Eliminate it. The amount of time you’ll save with this technique is amazing!

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Hartman is President of Hartman Inventory, LLC, a personal property inventory service provider. She and her husband, Mike, are also owners of Hartman Inventory Systems, LLC, a complete turnkey business package that can help you start your own asset documentation business. http://www.HartmanInventorysystems.com