We’re all familiar with the common refrain of, “I’m just so busy!” or “I wish I had more time in a day”? Probably five minutes ago, right?

In an era that seems to be filled with more tasks and distractions than ever before, women must master the art of time management in order to succeed. As Elle Kaplan, CEO and Founding Partner of LexION Capital Management, explains, “Your time is the most valuable resource you have at your disposal. It should be working for you: structured to maximize efficiency and yield the greatest possible return.”

We understand that running a business optimally and making the most out of every moment is not an easy feat. Nevertheless, we’ve consulted with many female entrepreneurs and freelancers to obtain their top time management tips for you so that you can maximize your daily productivity!

1. Plan for tomorrow

“Plan tomorrow’s work today. Knowing what I’m supposed to accomplish in the day to move my business forward focuses my mind right when I wake up and even helps get me out of bed. Jumping right into important items keeps me from getting caught up in little things in the morning that aren’t strategic, but could end up setting the tone and eating away my whole day.” – Michele Cheowtirakul Braxton, gwenyth

“What I find most important in regards to time management is actually getting enough sleep each night. When I’m well rested, I feel mentally sharp and am able to operate most efficiently during the day.” – Kim Ramirez, Sixty Vocab

2. Track Your Time

“Make a to-do list for the week. As you work your way through it, track the time it takes to complete each task as you check items off the list. Use this information to identify problem patterns. Once you find the patterns, you can create routines to patch those leaks of time.” – Elle Kaplan

“It sounds counter-intuitive since [tracking your time] requires a time investment in itself, but you’ll make up that time and still save some!” – Lana Richards, Content Marketing Writer, and Editor

“When I find myself slipping, I will often track my time and try to figure out where my hours are going. Over a period of a week, that can really show you whether you’re doing real work or things that only seem like work, but don’t actually help you move forward toward your goals.” – Mridu Khullar Relph, The International Freelancer

3. Tackle Tasks

“I set a timer in increments of 15 minutes to one hour for any job I have to tackle at any time of the day. I can’t get lost in a project or spend more time than is warranted. I like using my non-digital timer and I love having to get up and stretch my legs…to turn off that annoying ring. Helps me meet my exercise quotient for the day, too; an added bonus.” – Marion Claire, Speaker and Speaking Coach

“Minimize transitions. Group similar projects so you don’t jump from writing an email to making a call to entering a receipt. Every time you transition from one thing to another, you lose a level of focus, so things take longer.” – Susan Karyn Lasky, Productivity and ADHD Coach

“I keep a running list of things that I can do when I don’t feel like ‘eating the frog first,’ and whenever I feel like putting a task off I chip away at that list. This way, even when I’m not working on what I’m supposed to do, I’m still getting stuff done.” – Kari DePhillips, The Content Factory

4. Tame Your Emails

“Schedule time to check emails….A few things are so time-sensitive that it can’t wait that long for your reply. And you’ll reserve precious brain cells for the task at hand.” – Colleen Troy, Touchpoint Communications

“I often put aside non-urgent emails in a separate folder and reply to them at the end of the week all in one go. I’ve also learned to write shorter emails.” -Mridu Khullar Relph

5. Use Tools

“I use Wrike to manage all of our projects and different team members both in the office and away in one place. Pair that with a list of three (only three at the max) of ‘Must Do’ items for the day, and I’m now able to make progress on my business instead of constantly putting out fires or giving directions.” – Lea Richards, Pig of the Month

“We use Trello inside Indira, and now I have a personal Trello board as well. Everything that would normally go on a to-do list now lives in the Trello app. Not only is this much more visual than a list, but I can simply add anyone to the task when I need to collaborate on something (for example, planning a friend’s birthday dinner or choosing a gift for my mother-in-law).” – Carrie Mantha, Indira

6. Respect Your Natural Energy Levels

“I tackle my most challenging tasks when my energy level is highest during the day. Since I’m a morning person, I tend to work on my most demanding and difficult projects before lunchtime. I spend the afternoon catching up on emails and routine tasks that aren’t quite as intense. By working on my toughest projects when my energy levels are highest, I’m able to maximize my productivity and focus. “-Christina Park, J.D., Park Business Law

“Know your energy level, and tie it to your work. If it’s a time of day when you’re high energy, don’t waste it skimming emails. If you have a 3 p.m. energy slump, use that for low-effort tasks (and take a walk, stretch, hydrate, and snack!). “-Susan Karyn Lasky

“Get your workout done in the morning. It starts the day on your own terms rather than being reactionary. It’s so typical to get up and start ‘reacting’ rather than ‘acting intentionally.’ I like it because when I own the day from the start, it’s empowering and sets the tone for a successful and focused day.” – Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist

“Take some time to step away from your desk once in a while! Moments of your greatest creativity and clarity will often come when you give yourself the chance to relax, recharge, and refocus. Whether you like going for a walk, having a cup of coffee, or merely getting away from your computer for a little while, make sure you pencil some time into your day for you.” -Elle Kaplan

“Remember time is your friend; it’s not something to battle. I don’t have to get everything on my list done today. Sometimes, a better idea or solution shows up the next day. I try to be patient with myself and my to-do list.” – Kari Kenner, Grasshopper Marketing

Originally featured on GogirlFinance.com.

Photo: Thinkstock

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