We’ve all been there. Collapsed on the couch at the end of a long day. Completely unable to relax thanks to the brick of regret weighing down your gut. Absolutely nothing to show for how you spent your time except for aggravated murmurs into the ceiling. There’s nothing quite as disappointing as waking up with the best intentions for your day, only to slip into a cycle of procrastination and wasted time. The bad news is that these types of moments are unavoidable in life. The good news on the other hands is that we all have the power to do something about it.

All it takes to gain control of how you spend your time is some planning. This might sound complicated but even a slight effort to add some structure and efficiency to the way we spend our time can end up reaping substantial benefits in the long run. A decision as small as using an alarm clock in order to wake up early can actually cascade into positive lifestyle changes, especially considering that one good decisions always begets another. Here are ten foolproof time-management strategies that are sure to help transform your daily routine for the better.

  • Evaluate your natural activities before creating a schedule:

Self-improvement can only be implemented successfully on a foundation of self-awareness. If you want to change how you spend time, create a journal of your activities then review your findings in order to isolate specific areas that need change.

  • Eliminate Time-Killers:

Keep an eye out for habits or activities that take up unusual amounts of time. It can help to eliminate distractions such as social media, TV, or perfectionism.

  • Use the right Tech:

We live in a digitized world but this doesn’t necessarily mean that all technology is helpful. Unwitting reliance on inefficient technology actually consumes time rather than saving it. Get rid of any technology that only offers style over substance.

  • Set prioritized goals:

Setting out to accomplish any ambitious task without defining clear objectives either results in wasted effort or meaningless exertion. Make sure to constantly keep your most important goals in mind as a way to stay focused on why it is you need to use time wisely.

  • Use a flexible schedule:

It’s easier to plan on doing something than it is to execute. This simple fact leads many people to draft schedules for themselves that are too taxing. Don’t stretch yourself too thin by arranging to do too many things at once.

  • Take breaks:

Just because you’re trying to save time doesn’t mean that all of it should be used on work. Rest is an integral component of stamina and follow-through. In the process of modifying your activities, remember to set time aside for some relaxation. This is essential for rejuvenation and morale.

  • Be realistic and learn to say no:

One of the most common reasons that people get saddled with busy schedules is because they simply don’t know how to say no. Don’t bend over backwards just to accommodate other people’s expectations. Concentrate on your own priorities.

  • Expect the unexpected:

Before committing to a structured way of functioning, remember to keep an open mind about how realistic it is to follow schedules without deviation. Keep an open mind about strict schedules and don’t punish yourself for having to deal with the unexpected.

  • Stay focused:

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by early celebration, fatigue or intimidation. Take things one task at a time, one day at time, until success is realized

  • Reward yourself:

When you accomplish something ambitious in good time, celebrate it. This is a good way to stay motivated about maintaining any new habits necessary to use time effectively.

Time management is more about productivity than effort. Rather than working hard, work smart to make the most out of available resources with the least exertion possible. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.