When you go online, you’re constantly bombarded by people sharing articles about how to manage your time and how to be more productive and how to find a better work-life balance. While we may get tired of these endless tips, there is obviously a need for them. So many people find it hard to truly manage their time well and get everything done they need to. Even if you’re usually on top of your game, there must be times when you aren’t as productive as you’d like. Since I’m responsible for running two companies, along with spending time with my family and traveling, I’d like to share some of my most effective tips for managing time.

Buy a planner and create a schedule

The first step you should take is getting a physical planner to carry around with you so you can write down your schedule. Maybe you use your phone, which is great, since it sets alarms and often syncs with information from your emails. However, I believe that you should also take time to physically write down your schedule, which helps you remember and easily access it (without the added distraction of checking your phone). Take time to also write down your to-do lists each day. If you do this in a planner, it makes it easier to see how much you accomplish and whether or not you’ve been sticking to your goals.

Take time to plan out your week

Related to the tip above, once you get your planner and create your schedule, take time at the beginning of each week to plan it out. Sit down for a bit and go through all the events you have for the upcoming week and think about the tasks you’ll need to do. Start making to-do lists and set goals for when you’ll have everything done by. When you’re planning out your week, it’s also the perfect time to begin prioritizing your tasks. There are likely plenty of goals you’d like to eventually get around to, but if it doesn’t have a set due date, do not do it before something that has to be done by the end of the week.

Cut out time-wasting activities

All of us spend too much time looking at our phones or wasting time on useless internet sites or watching mindless television. I’m not saying you should cut all of these activities from your life, but it’s time to be more mindful of how you spend your time and cut out time-wasting activities during times when you should be getting serious work done. At the end of the day, if you want to reward yourself with an episode of television or time scrolling through Facebook, go ahead, but limit the time you spend on these activities when you’re trying to finish something else.

Learn when you’re most productive

Generally, people are more productive in the morning when they first wake up, though this statistic isn’t true for everyone. Learn when you’re the most productive and take advantage of that. When you’re working through your to-do list and know it’s the time you’re most productive, focus on the tasks that require more effort first and then move onto something easier when it becomes harder to focus. Tackling harder tasks helps motivate you to finish everything else.