One of the biggest lies that we believe about why we aren’t reaching the next level is that we don’t have time. The truth is, if it’s important to you, you’ll make time, if it’s not, you’ll make excuses.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day. So how do you maximize the 24 precious hours you are given each day and use them to launch you towards success? The two key components of mastering your schedule and becoming a pro at time management are priorities and protection.

Priorities

This sounds like a no-brainer. Of course, we have to be intentional about the activities in our lives that take up our time and categorize them in order of importance. But for busy professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, it can feel like it is all important. It’s not like you’re sitting around twiddling your thumbs and wasting time, right? Your day is packed with responsibilities that are critical to your health, happiness, and productivity. So how do you prioritize when you feel that everything on your plate is equally important?

  1. Work backward. List your To-Dos and then number them in order of what is due when. Take into consideration how long each project will take. What things can wait and what things have a time-sensitive due date?
  2. Just pick something. Sometimes we get so caught up in analysis paralysis and feel that we have so much do to, that we do nothing. Instead, choose a project you know you can get done quickly and start there. This will help you build momentum
  3. Ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. This could look like hiring someone to do a project for you that you don’t have time for or asking for an extension on a deadline.
  4. Be organized Invest in a trusted calendar to keep everything organized, and look into some apps and online resources you can use to keep yourself on track.

Protection

Part of mastering your schedule is protecting your time. If every time you talk to Sally from Accounting she tells you a 20-minute story about her cat, you have to find a way to protect that time. Learn how to respectfully remove yourself from conversations that aren’t productive, or find alternate ways to avoid the situation altogether.  Learning to say no politely and feeling confident in your right to decline is one of the most powerful ways to protect your time. Another way to protect your time is learning to work smarter, not harder.

Your time is precious and in order to feel accomplished each day you have to be aware of the time you have and protect it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, how are you prioritizing and protecting yours?