Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day. That said, you don’t need more time you need more structure. Time management is a skill that even the most seasoned business people struggle with. It’s also one of the most important ones in business. If you can optimize the 24 hours given to you each day you’ll excel in both business and life.

Here are six tips to use your calendar for effective time management every day:

1. Always prioritize

This may sound like an obvious one. Truth is, very few people actually know how to prioritize their days. On a very basic level you should prioritize tasks based on urgency. One way to do that is by using the quadrant system that was made popular by Stephen Covey.

This simple matrix allows you to clearly define which tasks should be completed before others. Since we live very dynamic lives the tasks will often change daily. That said, it’s best to plan for tomorrow at the end of your workday today.

2.  Try Your Best to Finish What You Start

It’s very common for tasks to get interrupted or delayed throughout your day. Often times it’s best to finish the task at hand before starting new ones. However other things may take priority. For example, if a customer needs immediate assistance it’s probably best to service them right away. In this case, you need to make a point to return and finish your unfinished duties.

Again, this sounds simple enough but it’s common for individuals to get distracted and leave loose ends.

3. Schedule Breaks and Be Disciplined

Everyone needs to take breaks throughout the workday. In fact, they are vital for your productivity. Try your best to schedule yourself a few breaks in your calendar, and take that time to temporarily disconnect and recharge.

I try my best to get outside and take a few walks throughout the day to clear my head. When I get back to my desk I’m rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next job. Something to remember though is to stay disciplined. Try to schedule your breaks around your daily schedule and don’t take more than you need.

4. Identify What Times You’re Most Productive

Very few people have the same level of productivity for the whole day. Some are more effective in the morning, others are most effective towards the afternoon. Try your best to find your “prime-time” and schedule your most demanding tasks for that time.

I’m personally not very effective in the mornings. Regardless of when I rise I need some time to get into the flow of things. I try to schedule client facing meetings towards the afternoon so I can put my best foot forward.

5. Don’t Take Every Meeting

In business and in life it’s more than okay to simply say ‘No’. In fact, it’s a very important skill to develop. You’re the one who knows where you’re most effective. Those who schedule the meetings are typically making the assumption. If you feel like you won’t add anything to the meeting don’t take it.

6. Use a Scheduling Tool

With so many tools and software solutions at your disposal, it’s always a good idea take advantage of them. The more you can automate the more time you’ll have to focus on your day. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner odds are you’ll need to handle your own schedule.

Platforms like Calendar allow you to fully automate your scheduling. Calendar allows you to set available times for others to reserve. Additionally, it will automate any reschedules and give you valuable insights on how you’re spending time. Regardless of the size of your operation, these tools are always the smart choice.

Final Thoughts

Time is our most valuable asset. If you’re able to organize your days and maximize your effectiveness you’ll be successful. If you struggle with time management use these six tips to effectively manage your time.