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Setting a Work Routine: Productivity vs. Slavery

I'm a bit of a slave to my routines, so perhaps I'm not the best one to discuss this topic. However, this is something that all writers--and all freelancers, to be honest--need to be a bit more serious about. Working a regular job at an office is VERY different than working at home. At an office, you go in, you sit down, and you do the work that you are told to do. Things are pretty cut and dry, and your work is sort of laid out in front of you. Sure, you've got to deal with bosses and coworkers and policies and all that stuff, but there's a certain comfort in knowing that someone else calls the shots. Then there are us freelancers who work from home. We're the only ones that tell us what to do, but we're also the only ones to blame when our income streams dry up and the bills start to pile up. In an attempt to keep from freaking out, I've set a simple routine for myself: - Sit down at desk and start working -- 7 AM - Puzzle break -- 8:30 AM - Back to work -- 9ish AM - Hopefully be done with work -- 11 to 12 AM If I can start my work at 7, I'm usually pretty much done with the writing portion of the work by noon. Then, of course, comes the uploading, the editing, and all the other work that has to be done in order to take my words and publish them "on the line". But I've heard in recent months that I have become a slave to my routine. I know that if I don't sit down at my desk and start working at 7 AM, I feel like my day is just out of whack. My location doesn't matter, but the time I start working is ABSOLUTELY essential. I can be sitting at an airport, in someone's living room, or in my car, but 7 AM is something that cannot be changed. However, this routine means I've missed out on quite a few mornings of extra sleep. Last Friday, my kids had a day off from school thanks to a holiday. They all snoozed blissfully through the morning, while I spent the day clacking away on my computer. Have I become a slave to my routines? I don't think so, but it's tough to think about it! As a freelancer, you kind of HAVE to become a bit more a*** retentive about your work schedule. The fact that no one is breathing down your neck makes it even harder to kick your own butt on those days when you don't feel like working. Whether it's writing, drawing, or crafting jewelry, there are always days when you just don't want to work. And that, IMO, is where those work routines come in handy. You may be a bit of a slave to those routines, but it's the only way to be as productive as you MUST be in order to truly be a professional freelancer. For us writers, it's kind of what helps you to push yourself through Writer's Block and keep writing even when you feel like you have nothing to say.