Here’s the scenario; it’s Friday. You have a presentation in two hours to make to an audience you don’t know. The boss calls for the latest projections for the quarter just as you begin to write your speech. Oh, you forgot. You have just volunteered to train a new business colleague on Monday. That’s when you look at your schedule only to realize you made a commitment to your daughter’s Girls Scout camp out this weekend. Ok, you can move some things around…it will all work out. The phone rings. It’s your dermatologist. He would like to see you as soon as possible. It’s about a mole on your skin that looks suspicious. You have a lot on your plate! Maybe be too much?

Along with the internet and a 24/7 work day, we all wrestle with time management. It may seem like whatever is on your schedule changes every 30 minutes. How do you get organized? How do you schedule time between my day planner and my CRM without being overwhelmed? Maybe it’s time to schedule your priorities?

Here are four suggestions to gain some control:

Step #1: Have a System to Plan and set priorities:

Build a system that works for you not the other way round. Set aside an hour one day a week to plan for the whole week. Ever hear of Pareto’s Law? It’s the 80/20 rule. What if you realized 20% of your activities produces the greatest impact? What would happen if you stopped working on the 80% and concentrated on the 20%? Planning your day to accomplish the greatest impact will make you feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list. Start with the most important tasks first. Block out time for your daily priorities. Once blocked it never moves until completed. Add in some flexibility around your priorities for those distractions or curve balls life so often throws at you.

Step #2: Incorporate a system to Track and Measure:

Are you amazed how some people perform at a higher level of efficiency while others barely meet the minimums? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How do they do it? Many highly successful professionals identify, track and manage all their tasks. What is your process for setting and achieving your priorities? Which ones have the greatest ROI? So once you have blocked out time to work on your priorities, set a focus limit on that specific priority for 20-40 minutes. One priority at a time. Don’t answer your phone, e-mail or entertain other distractions. Evaluate how you’re spending your time during work and off hours. Some of the biggest time wasters are often viewed as doing legitimate work. Keep track of everything you do for a week. Where are you spending your time? Delegate whenever you can for non-essential tasks.

Step #3: How Do You Feel About “You?”   

Your motivation is directly related to how you feel about yourself, your market and your company. Is it bliss or are you living a nightmare? Are you running to your interests or running away from your obligations? This best time management tip is to listen to you and “What’s between your ears”. The “You” depends on three pivot points: 1) Your Attitude, 2) Your Behavior and 3) Your Overall Technique. A low self-esteem may point to some beliefs in yourself you need to address. Do you know what they are? Are they holding you back? Your behaviors are your plans, activities and your goals. Do you have goals? Are they written down? You can have the best business techniques but if your head and your heart are not in the game it will feel like you are always in a constant struggle.

Step #4: Invest in Yourself: Go Back To Class, or Find A Mentor:

Invest in yourself to do better. Too much stress in your life will affect your health. Are you they type of person who views a vacation as interference to your work? Do you live to work or work to live? Why? What effect does that have on you and the people you love? Take periodic breaks over lunch and over the weekend. Find an accountability partner for work AND for non-work fun. Schedule some walks and talks. As an alternative, take a time management course. Look for and use a mentor or a coach.

Whenever you invest in yourself, the personal success you aspire to is just around the corner.