Here’s the conundrum: You can do anything you want, you just can’t do EVERYTHING you want. Which means you need to make choices about what is most important to you.

We’re making these choices all the time, often without thinking consciously about it.

When I’m in my unconscious mode, I sit down at my desk thinking "I really need to make some calls", then I realize that the dryer just stopped and I want to get out the clothes before they’re wrinkled. When I come back to my desk to make those same calls, I get distracted by checking my email and visiting a couple web sites. Then it’s time for lunch. Nothing valuable was accomplished work-wise, but I did get to stay in my comfort zone.

How about a new way of handling time? Where we consciously decide what to do? Where we are able to start AND finish our high-priority tasks? Where our energy level stays up and we don’t get bogged down with avoiding or procrastinating? Where we have a reasonable to-do list that actually gets done?

Time management is about developing great habits; habits that help you do the necessary work, so you can live your passion and lead a satisfying, fulfilling life.

Here are the first four steps to help you develop useful habits AND feel energized about how great your life is!

Step 1. Get in touch with your WHY. Why are you in this particular business? What do you love about it? What is it helping you attain?

Some common answers include: a flexible schedule that allows time with my family, financial security for my family, recognition and rewards, educating people about something that relates to my company’s products, and empowering other women with a business opportunity.

Whatever your answer is, it should give you a jolt right in your heart and represent one of your key innermost values. Staying in touch with that energy and feeling is critical for meaningful time management. It helps you prioritize what needs to be done and it gives you energy to do the work, particularly when it comes to that part of the work you don’t enjoy.

Step 2. Make a conscious choice about what level you want your business to be at, in order to unleash your WHY to the maximum extent. The exciting part is that you get to choose what level your business will be at, and the more successful your business is, the more of your WHY you’ll achieve. It becomes a continuous loop, where the effort you put into your business rewards you and gives you more of your WHY, so you want to put more effort into it.

What level of business do you want? How will you know when you achieve it? What are the numbers or milestones you’re going to track along the way?

Start with your yearly goals; these are probably linked to rewards that your company offers for certain volume, sales, or recruiting achievements. Then break those down into quarterly goals, then into monthly goals.

Step 3. Get out your calendar. I love my calendar; it is one of my two most important work tools (the other being my laptop). I love writing things down and scheduling tasks. Even if you hate it, I still encourage you to use one (paper or electronic – it’s all fine).

The key benefits of using one calendar are:
1. everything is in one place (no more scraps of paper floating around that you can’t find when you need them)
2. everything important is written down (so you can use your brain cells for something else)
3. when you have a system where you know that all the important things have a time and place to get done, you can stop worrying about them at other times.
Write your monthly goals on your calendar. Next, figure out what weekly actions you need to take, in order to meet your monthly goals. And finally, what are the daily actions you need to do on Monday, Tuesday, etc.?

Notice the switch from goals to actions. That’s where good habits will make the difference, as you keep doing the work, which leads to the results, over time.

What activities do you know need to be on your calendar? Map out your regular work schedule. Carve out vacations. Add in your commitments: your own parties, your trip to conference, networking events, school events for the kids, and so on.

Step 4. Is there balance? At this point, you should have a clear idea of what your monthly and weekly schedules look like, in terms of time available for work and play. Are these in the right balance? Is the amount of available work time consistent with your monthly goals and weekly/daily actions? If not, now is the time to readjust your schedule, before the crunch happens.

It really IS all about time. We can only do the most important things, not all things, so following this system is one way to make sure that your highest goals will translate into, and be completely aligned with, your daily actions.

Author's Bio: 

Marcy Stahl’s passion is helping women direct sellers and solopreneurs achieve the successful lifestyle they want. She knows that the top entrepreneurs have the top mindsets. Her mission is to help every entrepreneur develop a profitable and abundant mindset.

Marcy is a serial entrepreneur. Previously, she co-founded and managed a government contracting firm that earned over $1M in annual revenues. She holds a B.S. with honors and M.S. in Computer Science from George Mason University. Prior to coaching, she spent 21 years in the corporate world in technology.

She is the co-author of Direct Selling Power. Marcy is an Area Chapter Coordinator with the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance (DSWA) and a member of the Direct Selling Women’s Speaker Bureau. She’s currently in coaching school for direct sellers.