I think it's a pretty safe assumption that artists are more likely than other professional groups to take more of a free-spirit approach to their work and business. While there are benefits to embracing your free-spirit, if you plan to be a successful artist you will also need to have some goals and expectations for yourself.
One of the first places you might want to look into adding a bit of strategy is to your schedule. When working as an artist it can be far too easy to get distracted from your work. If you work from home, you may find yourself doing chores and taking care of household tasks over working on your art or business. You may also get easily distracted with every fun or interesting opportunity that comes along, and hey, your "schedule is flexible so might as well take advantage of it, right?"
Having a schedule helps keep you on track. You should treat your studio and business time with the same level of respect you would treat a "regular 9-5." That means no getting up and leaving your work unless it is an emergency. That means meeting deadlines and taking your work seriously. That means doing the fun work and the not-so-fun work. It means respecting your time and talent and approaching your work with dedication.
All of that being said it is still important to make sure that the systems you set up work for you. Your schedule should take into account your personality, strengths, weaknesses, situation, and resources. If you know that you will never be able to get up at 5 AM to paint, don't waste your time and energy on that schedule. Not only will you have wasted time and energy, but it will also leave you feeling unsuccessful. Take your personal situation into account when creating a schedule. If you know the kids are gone from 8AM - 3 PM make sure to take full advantage of that time. How can you utilize that time to create art, and promote/ run your business? If you know that you need a break every two hours, schedule that in too.
Being a working artist does (potentially) give you a lot more flexibility. You don't have someone else dictating to you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. The upside to this is that you can create a schedule that works for your and your particular situation. The downside is that you might fall into the trap of having no schedule at all and making little to no progress. If you have been scratching your head, wondering why you haven't grown much take a look at how you have been spending your time. Do you have dedicated time to work. Are you making sure to schedule time for promoting your art and running your business? Are you honoring those times or are you getting distracted with last minute coffee dates and household chores?
What do you think? Do you have a schedule, and do you honor it? Do you think a schedule could work for you?